Looking Back On The Sadism Of The COVID-19 Shaming Campaign
As Matt Orfalea’s new video shows, apologies are due for the media campaign against “the unvaccinated,” which unveiled open cruelty as public policy strategy
By Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea via Racket News
There’s a scene in videographer Matt Orfalea’s arresting new “Nobody is Safe!” compilation in which Jeff Van Gundy — one of the sharpest basketball announcers alive, and one of my favorites to watch — leans back and says, “I don’t even understand what means, ‘I’m doing my own research.’”
The whole quote, from a preseason Heat-Rockets game Van Gundy called in October of 2021:
What does that look like, you doing your own research? Are you doing studies yourself? Are you in a lab on a nightly basis? What are you doing? I don’t understand what that means, ‘I’m doing my own research.’
How about this: we’ve got really smart people… who’ve already done the research.
The subtext of Van Gundy’s quote was one of the many stages of the Covid-19 messaging campaign, a collective roar against “asking questions” or “doing your own research.” Just a few weeks earlier, Brian Stelter on CNN hosted a panel about “four little words that are hurting America’s pandemic response.” He showed evil always-villain Sean Hannity repeatedly uttering the “seemingly innocent” phrase, “Do your own research.” He then rolled tape of comic Trevor Noah saying, “Nobody who’s saying that is getting in a lab and doing tests.”
In hindsight, who knows, that might have been where Van Gundy got the idea. Make no mistake, however, there was and is an active campaign against people who do their “own research.” This was a mostly unexplored theme in the #TwitterFiles material, as we did repeatedly see anti-disinformation “experts” identifying people who didn’t quickly accept official messaging without question as already, in a way, spreaders of mis- or disinformation.
We touched on this a little in a report about the Stanford Virality Project, which advised that “just asking questions” was a tactic “commonly used by spreaders of misinformation.” We also saw it in an Aspen Institute report on misinformation, which recommended “strikes” against people they called “savvy spreaders,” i.e. those who used phrases like “just asking questions,” evading censors by “couching” misinformation as mere “uncertainty”:
I got the shot and never advised people not to get vaccinated. I couldn’t imagine an area where I was less qualified to give advice. But this is the point: the same people Orf shows picking up torches and railing with bloodcurdling certainty against “the unvaccinated” are nearly all people who knew as little as me, and whose beliefs about the vaccine were at best secondhand.
You’re disgusted at those who “do their own research”? What do you think journalism is? None of us do lab experiments. The job is always an imperfect effort to figure out which sources are most trustworthy, and because even the most credentialed often screw up, we always need to leave room for consensus proving wrong.
In this case one didn’t need a microbiology degree to recognize something about Covid-19 messaging was off. From flip-flops about masks (an “evolving situation,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said) to unwillingness to be frank in discussing natural immunity or risks to children, even casual news-readers saw confusion in the ranks of senior officials. Later, a series of reversals on key questions — first about whether the vaccine prevented contraction, then about whether it prevented transmission — left even people who wanted to follow official advice unsure of what to do.
I hope Matt’s video survives as a warning. There is still a lot of investigation to be done, in particular about the origins of the pandemic — certain segments of the national audience may still be in for a shock or two there —
…but as Matt shows, we already see a cautionary tale about faulty information being used to gin up real hatred.
(TLB) published this article By Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea via Racket News with our appreciation for this perspective
Header featured image (edited) credit: Biden/ORF
Emphasis added by (TLB) editors
Stay tuned to …
The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)
Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.
Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.