Media, Big Tech, Big Pharma and Government are All About to Eat Crow
Remember earlier this year when the media and Big Tech quietly reversed themselves on the Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis, which they had previously censored on the basis that it was a groundless conspiracy theory? Do you remember again when Dr. Fauci’s complicity in gain-of-function research went from being a discredited right-wing conspiracy theory to an established fact?
Well, after events in the last three weeks, it looks like a similar process is about to repeat itself in the vaccine wars. Once again, the mainstream media is having to eat crow.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before surveying recent events, let’s take stock of where we’ve been this year.
Throughout 2021, tensions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated have been intensifying in what has largely been a manufactured and unnecessary conflict. As the media engages in public shaming rituals against vaccine-hesitant individuals, the hysteria has resulted in businesses suffering, churches splitting, and families divided.
I have avoided getting involved in these conflicts because I don’t agree with the polemical turn this debate has taken, let alone the libertarian ideas of freedom that have hijacked so much of the vaccine hesitancy movement. Yet if we take a step back from the craziness to examine what vaccine-hesitant doctors and academics are actually saying, it isn’t as outlandish as the media would have us believe.
These doctors and academics (some of them actual virologists and epidemiologists) are claiming that the inclusion and exclusion criteria for clinical trials has been too limited, thus warranting caution pending further research on possible long-term side-effects of mRNA vaccines. They have asked whether media outlets like YouTube and Facebook should be censoring scientific debate about the efficacy and safety of vaccines. They have asked why, if vaccinated individuals can still spread COVID, there is such a push to limit freedom of movement among the unvaccinated. They have asked if Big Pharma has financial incentives to suppress information on vaccine-induced illnesses. They have asked if the one-size-fits-all approach to COVID vaccines may ignore a patient’s actual medical profile and needs.
I am a case in point illustrating this last concern. Since I suffer from a genetic disorder that increases my tendency for blood clotting, I am at higher risk of vaccine adverse reaction; consequently, my doctor urged me not to get the jab. Yet various policies, mandates, and public statements all put pressure on me to get vaccinated, irrespecive of research my doctor has performed about my individualized health profile. How many millions of other citizens (including many who are pregnant) are in a similar position, having their actual needs ignored in favor of a one-size-fits-all vaccination policy?
Despite the fact that many respectable doctors and academics have been raising these types of questions, the mainstream media (news stations like CNN, NBC, as well as social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) have been relentless in censoring the debate and demonizing anyone who tries to raise these difficult questions. Meanwhile, these same outlets have been giving a platform to those who routinely shame “anti-vax activists,” as they are pejoratively termed.
CNN's Don Lemon offered a typical example of anti-vax shaming when he announced,
“The people who are not getting vaccines, who are believing the lies on the internet instead of science, it's time to start shaming them or leave them behind.”
MSNBC television host, Joy Reid, echoed Lemon by declaring,
“OK, we get it! Covid is the precious and you love it. You love Covid so much you want it to spread into schools, at the office, in the Walmart, on the cruise ships and in the club.”
But now it turns out, vaccine hesitant individuals may actually have been correct in many of their concerns. Events over the last three weeks have been unfolding at rapid speed, but here is just a smattering of what’s been going on.
Three weeks ago, on November 25th, British cardiologist, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, went on television to discuss research showing that risk of heart failure doubled after taking mRNA vaccines. Moreover, he shared that his colleagues in academic cardiology decided not to publish findings relevant to vaccine-induced heart failure for fear of losing money from the drug industry.
If you read what the mainstream news is saying about Dr. Aseem's appearance on GB news, they point out that there may be quality concerns about the research he discusses. But that is not really the salient point - the main concern should be that the pharmaceutical industry is using threat of withdrawn funding to suppress research on adverse vaccine reactions. And this is the very industry our government is trusting when they tell us that the COVID vaccines are safe!
Dr. Aseem is hardly an anti-vax extremist. From the Wikipedia page about him:
He has been listed as one of The Sunday Times 500 most influential people, identified as one of the top ten "Smart Set" in the London Evening Standard, and twice being recognized as one of the top 50 BME pioneers in the UK National Health Service.
In short, Dr. Aseem Malhotra is a smart dude! Whether we agree with him or not, his concerns should be taken seriously and followed up with further investigations. What Dr. Aseem has exposed is analogous to researchers not publishing findings on gambling addiction for fear of losing funding from a casino, or scientists withholding information about the harmful effects of tobacco for fear of losing grants from the tobacco industry.
Science, it turns out, is the handmaid of Big Pharma.
Dr. Aseem’s high-profile revelations were no surprise to those who paid close attention to the FDA’s Virtual Meeting on September 17th for the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. Beginning at the 4:17 mark, Dr. Joseph Fraiman offered a candid admission that the FDA does not have sufficient data to keep saying anti-vax activists are wrong in many of their central claims, especially about vaccine-induced heart attacks.
Fraiman, who practices emergency medicine at Slidell Memorial Hospital in New Orleans, actually has an agenda to reduce vaccine hesitancy, and he thus disapproves of the way mainstream medicine has played into the hands of the anti-vax movement by making claims about vaccine safety that cannot be supported by the data. For example, he pointed out that there is not enough information to show that vaccines actually reduce COVID hospitalizations more than they cause myocarditis in certain age groups. “The fact that we do not have the clinical evidence to say these activists are wrong should terrify us all,” declared Dr. Fraiman.
And now it turns out there was substantial clinical evidence demonstrating the vaccines may cause more harm than good, but such data was suppressed. Last week, a Freedom of Information court order unearthed data showing that Pfizer may have covered up research into adverse reactions to their vaccine. Reporting on this in New Zealand's Daily Telegraph, Guy Hatchard wrote that Pfizer internal documents reveal "a vast array of previously unknown vaccine adverse effects." Pfizer conceded that this information was being under reported but allegedly withheld this information on the grounds that it should be kept confidential.
As information increasingly comes to light implicating drug companies in these and other cover-ups, more high profile academics are coming out against vaccine mandates. One recent high-profile defector was writer and academic Paul Kingsnorth who went on the Freddie Sayers’s UnHeard podcast on November 30th to announce why he had “changed sides in the vaccine wars.” Among Kingsnorth’s concerns is how the vaccine debate has been politicized, thus preventing the full gamut of data from being properly analyzed and discussed.
Kingsnorth is a measured and articulate British intellectual, who is able sympathetically to understand both sides, as well as to explain the larger social currents in which the vaccine debate is properly situated. Yet in the simplistic narrative of the mainstream media and national governments—with their Manichean view of the world that can only ever acknowledge one right answer—Kingsnorth is no better than a whacky conspiracy theorist who loves COVID and wants to kill people.
If there is any take-away from what we’ve been seeing over the last three weeks, it should be that we all need a good dose of intellectual humility, especially when it comes to medicine and science. We need a greater tolerance to complexity, including an increased ability to genuinely listen to both sides of any debate. Not everything that seems obvious always is, and this is precisely why research communities constantly refine their understandings as new information comes to light. Yet as we’ve seen, this process of scientific debate can be prematurely foreclosed upon once the media, government, and corporate interests begin politicizing an issue, and caricaturing those who would ask the difficult questions.