The most important sentences for me in this article are “ By labeling whatever the current scientific consensus happened to be an immutable “fact,” media outlets made the normal evolution of scientific debates look dishonest, and pointlessly heightened mistrust of both scientists and media”.

This drives me absolutely crazy as someone who has done research for 3-4 decades. I wish to the heavens people would understand the scientific method and realize that science is about the constant state of learning and readjusting ones “consensus” about What to believe. If the media and our leaders had spent just a tiny bit of time in treating us as intelligent adults as the led us through this process instead of treating it like some gosh awful competitive game we would have saved so many more people and jobs.

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The media and "public health authorities" are a complete clown show.

The only time that quack Fauci has been right about anything is when he announced on 60 Minutes in March of 2020 that masks are useless, a fact all informed people have known since the Spanish Flu.

Regardless, we have the spectacle of Redfield, then director of the CDC, saying masks may be more effective than a vaccine.

Then we have the NYT, of all places, quoting a VT professor saying the "social distancing" nonsense was "almost like it was pulled out of thin air".

And, of course the tyrannical, impoverishing lockdowns which, like all the other "guidelines", show no statistical correlation with any Covid metric and therefore destroyed the financial lives of countless millions, for nothing.

And the latest clown-bureaucrat heading the CDC, Walensky, saying she has a sense of "impending doom".

And then we have ex-president Cheetoh's Experimental Emergency Warp Vax, which Kamala said she wouldn't take but then did, and which they now want to inject into children.

This despite the fact that, at last count, the CDC's own numbers show that 1086 people, in a nation of 320 milliion, under the age of 24 have succumbed to this plague. I'd like some "fact-checker" to explain how, exactly, that constitutes an "emergency".

My bullshit detector has run hot since Bush the Younger, but has now been pegged for over a year.

Something is up.

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I am a scientist with graduate degrees in high energy laser physics and medicine. I practiced medicine or a while in Germany where I had done med school, but left it when I had to return to the US. I did enough study of math to construct rough models. From the outset there have been three pandemics: One of lies, one of government over-reaction, and least importantly, one of a modified common cold virus.

On January 1, 2020, Taiwan had sufficient reliable intelligence from inside China to close its borders because a contagious infectious disease had been unleashed. The day in early January the genome was published we knew it was a coronavirus, one of four families of common cold viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. We know that respiratory illnesses spread through the air, propelled by coughs or sneezes, and that outdoors is safe because even slight breezes will dissipate the cloud. In addition, if it is a virus, it will be damaged by sunlight.

Respiratory infections are typically most dangerous to the elderly and the immune-compromised, which gave us all the information we needed to protect ourselves. Sequester - quarantine - the old folks and forget about the rest of us. PPE for indoor workers starting with healthcare, spread out the sick among all hospitals, keep sick folks out of old age homes, wash hands, and carry on.

I wrote all of that and was thrown out of multiple platforms. Now-former friends accused me of spreading dangerous misinformation. I published results of a rough model using data from previous widespread coronavirus infections which showed an order of magnitude lower danger than the official models. Banned from more platforms, more friends turning their backs on me. I tried to find the origin of the six-foot social distance and couldn't. Eventually I learned that it was developed as a guess in the late 1800s about another disease. I knew that Wuhan had been the center for biowarfare research in China, but publishing that drew more attacks. I read studies on cross-immunity within virus families and referred to those. More accusations that I know nothing about science.

I weep for the needless hardship, anguish and death. The damage to inner-city children of color is unforgivable. Melanin blocks sunlight, reducing the level of vitamin D in the body outside the tropics. Less access to quality health care has put them behind, lack of vitamin D makes them more vulnerable, and poor diet finishes the trifecta. On top of that many receive their only meals through schools, including weekend packs of food since they won't be in school. All of that goes away. If there are two parents, one has to stay home and can't even work part time; if there's only one parent, there are no school-based programs to support these children. It's difficult not to think about accusations of racism and genocide.

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Fauci is a very smooth political operator but there is a lot more there than meets the eye. He became the Democrats' favorite doctor when he artfully countered Trump's accusations against China last year and that criticism has given him a lot of cover for his real weakness in the Covid crisis, which is the fact that he is fatally compromised in his objectivity.

Senator Rand's criticisms of him are essentially valid: he is, and has been, the beating heart of gain of function research in virology for many years. When domestic GOF research was shut down by Obama, he did an end run around these restrictions by funneling NIH money to Eco-Health (Peter Daszak's organization) which then channelled it to the Wuhan Lab. He is up to his eyeballs in creating this Frankenstein - as are, more widely, the majority of the virologists that work for, and with, the NIH - and he knows it. Virologists as a group realize that there would be overwhelming pushback against this kind of research, thereby jeopardizing their livelihood, if this catastrophe was pinned on them.

That someone with such conflicts of interest has been looked to as an objective source of information on the origins of this virus is just more evidence of the corrupt (or, to give them more credit than they deserve, childishly credulous) nature of today's MSM. Of course, the rot does not stop with the origin of the virus. More broadly, it goes to the role of Fauci in his drive for vaccinations when highly effective therapeutics are, and have been, available. Fauci's organization (NIH) hold patents on COVID vaccines and stand to benefit by their being promoted over other treatments. Now that people are starting to see the face behind the mask of this character, we should reassess his early dismissals of anti-viral therapeutics like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (the latter is now being used on a massive scale in India, the WHO's objections notwithstanding; surprise, surprise: it is working).

Remember that under US law the 'Emergency Use Authorization' for these vaccines cannot be granted if there is an effective therapeutic available. Like hydroxychloroquine. Like ivormectin. Interested readers may find this short clip from Bret Weinstein's excellent Dark Horse podcast very informative: youtu.be/zfqxCkJw0Rk?list=PLCXya1JzWcnSCHNSipO8fWFonSWyyDQq5

And finally, for those who read French, I highly recommend the following two books which chronicle the corruption (and, frankly, criminal behavior) that has characterized the 'management' of this crisis: "Big Pharma Démasqué' by Xavier Bazin and "Aux Origines Du Mal" by Brice Perrier.

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It's foolish to expect 30-year-old humanities graduates, whose only prior exposure to science was the natural history survey in their sophomore years, and who clearly regard "science" as simply another ideology like Marxism or critical race theory, to be our gatekeepers and interpreters of contemporary scientific understanding.

Meanwhile, though I suppose a case could be made that skeptical opinions on such ideas as the efficacy of masks or vaccines ought to be squelched in the name of public health, how could public health possibly be served by repressing discussions about the origin of the disease? After all, aren't these new cheerleaders for science at all interested in how COVID-19 appeared or how we can ensure it never happens again?

When the Nicholas Wade article appeared I was stunned, since if nothing else it is clear there's a preponderance of circumstantial evidence for the lab leak hypothesis, the notion that in fact this entire pandemic would never have happened if the US government hadn't funded deliberate attempts to make a more communicable and lethal virus. And isn't it at all newsworthy that the author of the original refutations of the lab leak hypothesis was actually one of the two people in the world most responsible if COVID-19 was in fact developed in a lab (and he's been frantically pushing that line ever since, as of course anyone of merely average integrity would if he had actually unleashed the current pandemic on the world)?

And yet I have heard (though cannot confirm) that links to a twenty page article on the lab leak hypothesis that appeared in New York Magazine in January were being auto-scrubbed from the YouTube comments section. What possible public health priority was served by that?

If the lab leak theory turns out to be true, the way to prevent another COVID-like disaster will be revealed as simple: prohibit gain-of-function research. That sounds like an easy fix to me, one we should be grateful for. And we can never know whether it's possible without fully investigating how this thing started.

Once again the media, through towering hubris, have stepped on their collective dicks; and for some crazy reason haven't yet twigged that people are beginning to notice these things.

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"The public used to appreciate the humility of that approach, but what they get from us more often now are sanctimonious speeches about how reporters are intrepid seekers of truth who sleep next to God and gobble amphetamines so they can stay awake all night defending democracy from 'misinformation.'"

Awesome sentence.

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I once had to deal with a Politifact fact checker who clearly wanted to claim a (Republican) Senator got the numbers wrong on a topic in a speech he gave. (I had produced a report on the topic.) The guy clearly had an agenda, the numbers were straightforward, and I had to keep telling him that no, you can't do what he wanted to do with the numbers so he could claim the speech was wrong, etc. He had a hard time understanding you can't divide by zero. It wasn't even a controversial topic. In the end, he still got a quote he could edit to use to claim the Senator's statements were partially false. I can just imagine the researchers Politifact cherry-picked/misrepresented to "fact check" something as controversial as the lab origin possibility.

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Thank you Matt -

I have been on the faculty of one of our leading medical schools for some time.

One of the very first things I drill into my students heads on their first day of rotating with me is THERE ARE NO FACTS IN MEDICINE. There is nothing in medicine that is so sacred that it is declared a fact.

To "fact-check" anything in medicine (and I would dare say science) in a political format is absolutely absurd.

I knew this whole COVID thing was going off the rails when I started seeing medical and scientific conjecture and hypotheses being "fact-checked". Then to have Twitter and Facebook censor anything that questions these "facts" added a whole other layer to the absurdity.

The only good thing about this whole affair is that our grandchildren are going to have quite a lot of laughs when they come to this part of the history book. "HOW COULD THOSE MORONS HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?" That is of course we survive. It is sometimes hard to imagine us surviving with the scum we have running medicine, the media, and our politics right now.

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Thanks Matt - love subscribing to you. Love the comments and people here, great range of voices. But … Trump was right about hydroxychloroquine and other treatments and the Wuhan lab. So the so-called fact checking done by anti-Trump MSM lead to countless deaths. It's not just being misleading, they killed people. Just because they hated Trump. When is the media going to be held accountable for this?

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>>The consensus was so strong that some well-known voices saw social media accounts suspended or closed for speculating about Covid-19 having a “lab origin.”

Great line, and it belies the light, humorous tone of the article. A consensus so strong you get cancelled for contradicting it. It's nothing new; we've been seeing it for years in the climate change arena.

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I’m getting the feeling that the Covid origin thing is about to unravel bigly and even the media, big tech and the fact checkers won’t be able to keep a lid on it. Fauci is close to getting his tit caught in the wringer.

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"A related problem had to do with news companies using the misguided notion that the news is an exact science to promote the worse misconception that science is an exact science."

True that. Even those who point to this correct statement to challenge the false certainty of another person often follow that up with an insistence on their own false certainty.

Politics has poisoned everything. Mr. Taibbi's talked about how sports has been infected by politics. I've had the same experience with science forums.

It was once considered rude to mention politics at a science convention with politicians and journalists universally pilloried for their appropriation of what they called "science" minus the scientific method. Sure scientists had political views, but you were expected to not share them.

The academy has been increasingly infected by the same partisanship that has ruined everything else. Science doesn't "prove" anything. The entire reason scientist meet is to vigorously disprove things through a rigorous, structured debate, then go have a beer. As the debate grows increasingly partisan fewer people are able or willing to go get a beer when the debate is over. It's a drag.

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How is it even conceivable that you have Brian Stelter celebrating with Poynter? Is there anyone who’s been more of a biased partisan activist over the last 4yrs?

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If you're going to get people to believe that "a desire to maintain an environment where everyone feels welcome and included" is a good reason to fire someone for having an unpopular viewpoint, you're going to have to get them thinking a different way about facts

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The “fact-checker” label has acquired the self-serving and ironically named function of the Ministry of Truth. Maybe it wasn’t always this way, but it is now.

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"I don't know." is the only thing that Ivy Leaguers don't know how to say. To admit a lack of knowledge puts you in a weak position relative to someone who really knows the answer. Everyone in the political-intelligence-corporate media complex suffers from this.

That all of them don't know much is effing obvious. Look at how clueless most of them are when operating the touch screen devices on election night. That there needs to be a "special" person on each network to operate the device (John King) while someone else reads the screen (Wolf Blitzer) is proof that these people are no more than Ron Burgundy with worse screenwriters.

Do you think that Rachel Maddow knows more about how to fix a toilet than her building superintendent? Does Leslie Stahl really know about the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the division of the Mandate of Palestine better than someone who lived in Jersusalem in 1945?

Paddy Chayefsky's Network was supposed to be satire, not a how-to manual.

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