Does the “Boom!” work? Too much?
Dr. Malone sent out a Substack alerting people to this paper. Here’s what he says about it:
In a stunning article published in the relatively obscure academic journal “Minerva”, the mainstream academic publisher Springer has allowed truth to be spoken.
There’s a lot in the paper if you have time, take a look at the whole thing. The Introduction provides a great overview of what has gone on the last 3 years. Here are some highlights:
Censorship and Suppression of Covid-19 Heterodoxy: Tactics and Counter-Tactics
- Website: SpringerLink
- Date: November 1, 2022
- View Source of Censorship and Suppression of Covid-19 Heterodoxy: Tactics and Counter-Tactics (Opens new window)
From the Abstract
The aim of the present study is to explore the experiences and responses of highly accomplished doctors and research scientists from different countries who have been targets of suppression and/or censorship following their publications and statements in relation to COVID-19 that challenge official views. Our findings point to the central role played by media organizations, and especially by information technology companies, in attempting to stifle debate over COVID-19 policy and measures. In the effort to silence alternative voices, widespread use was made not only of censorship, but of tactics of suppression that damaged the reputations and careers of dissenting doctors and scientists, regardless of their academic or medical status and regardless of their stature prior to expressing a contrary position. In place of open and fair discussion, censorship and suppression of scientific dissent has deleterious and far-reaching implications for medicine, science, and public health.
From the Introduction
I’m going to put the main points from this in a bullet point format (I find it easier to process the information this way). There’s a lot in here to unpack, as they say (in the paper there are all kinds of links to other papers, for most part I’ll just provide the information, see the paper for links):
The emergence of COVID-19 has led to a proliferation of disputes and disagreements over COVID-related knowledge and policy (Liester 2022(opens new window)), including
- including the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
- restrictive measures taken by most governments such as social-distancing, lockdowns, contact-tracing and mask requirements
- the use of certain treatments of the disease and the exclusion of others
- the safety and efficacy of vaccines against COVID-19
- the implementation of “vaccine passes” in many countries
Arguments from those dissenting the orthodox or mainstream views:
- many scientists and medical practitioners questioned the ethics and morality of such tactics [lockdowns]
- increasing numbers of scientists and doctors argued that the pandemic, as well as morbidity and mortality figures, were being inflated and exaggerated
- extreme policies and restrictions violated fundamental rights
- governments were using fear campaigns based on speculative assumptions and unreliable predictive models
- Some scholars, medical practitioners and lawyers have pointed to biases, concealment and distortions of vital information regarding COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates that misled policymakers and the public
On the politicization of the COVID-19
- science and scientists are being suppressed due to political and economic interests
- Criticism was made
- regarding the hastiness with which the mRNA vaccines were granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA even for children
- the quality of the clinical trials that led to the authorization of the vaccines
- the lack of transparency regarding the process and data that led to the authorization
- the inflation of efficacy estimates
- the minimization or ignoring of adverse events
The Goal of the Study
The present study explores the phenomenon of censorship of dissent from the point of view of well-known scientists and doctors who were censored for their heterodox views on COVID-19, in order to learn about the range of tactics that have been used to censor and silence them, as well as the counter-tactics they have used to resist these attempts.
I’m going to put a paragraph under “Censorship of COVID-19” into a bullet point format. Essentially this is orthodoxy verse heterodoxy.
Liester (2022(opens new window)) provides a list comparing what he refers to as the dominant versus dissenting views with respect to COVID-19
- origin of SARS CoV-2 (zoonotic vs. laboratory)
- mask mandates (will prevent spread vs. will not prevent spread)
- early treatment with drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (ineffective and dangerous vs. effective and safe)
- the usefulness of lockdown measures and other restrictions (effective and beneficial vs. ineffective and harmful)
- COVID-19 vaccines (safe and effective vs. unsafe and dangerous)
- COVID-19 vaccine mandates and passports (necessary and ethical vs. harmful and unethical)
Who they Censored
Many of the doctors and researchers being censored by the world’s biggest technology companies are not fringe figures. As in the examples above, these are mainstream scientists, many of them leading experts working in prestigious universities and/or hospitals, some of whom have authored books and published dozens or even hundreds of papers and whose studies have been widely cited. Some of them are editors of scientific/medical journals and some are heads of medical wards or clinics.
The Present Study
The present study is designed to explore the subjective perceptions of well-credentialed, highly accomplished mainstream doctors and scientists who have experienced censorship and/or suppression after expressing non-orthodox positions regarding the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they dealt with it.
Results of being censored
Tactics of censorship and suppression described by our respondents include exclusion, derogatory labelling, hostile comments and threatening statements by the media, both mainstream and social; dismissal by the respondents’ employers; official inquiries; revocation of medical licenses; lawsuits; and retraction of scientific papers after publication.
The paper progresses with lots of quotes from the 12 doctors in the study. It’s very interesting. Some of the issues they talk about are:
- media stopped interviewing them
- after an article, the doctor was vilified
- junior doctors publish defamatory articles on those far more experienced
- fact checkers
- job loss after 20 years
- online censorship
- Google docs restricted sharing documents
- effort to ruin reputation
- new contract with first amendment violations built in
- contract not renewed
- actions against with no due process or explanation
- official inquiries launched against doctors
- million dollar lawsuit against a doctor
- medical board shows up to search a doctor’s house
- papers retracted
- papers rejected without peer review
How they fought back
- continued to speak out
- writing articles
- social media, both traditional and alternative
- starting organizations for fight back
- talk of starting a journal
First, when it comes to COVID-related knowledge, the censorship tactics used against dissenters are extreme and unprecedented in their intensiveness and extensiveness, with scientific journals, and academic and medical institutions taking an active and involved part in censoring critical voices.
Second, while previous studies have also indicated isolated cases where researchers and doctors with flawless résumés and even senior academic or medical status were censored if they dared express dissenting opinions, the current study shows that in the case of COVID, censoring doctors and researchers of this stature has become a regular phenomenon.
The third prominent difference found in our study is the significant role played by media organizations during the COVID pandemic, and especially tech information companies, in censoring contrary positions.
Very good paper. I highly recommend, if nothing else, reading what the doctors said in their interviews.