The fact-checkers who flagged Paul Thacker's British Medical Journal article about a Pfizer subcontractor for Facebook admitted they police narrative, not fact
"Do you know where you find that kind of black-white thinking? In people who have major personality disorders. And psychopaths. Psychopaths and people with narcissistic personality disorder engage in black-white thinking. America right now is in this weird situation in which it’s a country that to the outside looks psychopathic or disordered."
This quote. Except that it looks that way from the inside too. I've lived in the deep south and in Brooklyn; never have I had such a difficult time talking about my views without the worry of wherever the "guilt by association" line is. There is no acceptable view of vaccines or covid protocols other than the approved one, and god help you if you've ever enjoyed an episode of JRE. What's interesting is this had started to happen when it came to nuanced views of gender and race a few years ago, after the Trump-Factor had dirtied these topics. Nothing compares to covid. It's as if every religious nutjob in the country converted to the church of Pfizer, led by the Fack-Checkers of Misinformation.
It went from "silence is violence" on racism, to, "if anything you say causes even one person to have a slightly less favorable view of the LIFE SAVING big pharma, you're a murderer". Fuck.
“You just reported a fucking press release as a news story”. Great line.
I saw Thacker speak some years ago at a meeting of a group focused on bad research. He's an impressive guy.
BMJ is a fantastic publication. They are fearless and promote clear eyed takes on controversial subjects.
What's going on with the "fact checkers" is a national disgrace.
The best money I spend these days is support for Taibbi and others like him.
Every time I try to "follow the money" with respect to who funds the various fact-checking groups, I always find that it's tied to the DNC and some heavyweight donor/financing network. For example, look into Media Matters and its ties to left-wing consulting company Arabella Advisors. (I actually just wrote an article about this:
Dark Money is all over the place financing all kinds of supposedly neutral sites.
Great article; what we need now is an expose blowing the lid off the entire "fact checking" industry.
Who funds it, directs it, sells it, uses it, and for each question, "WHY."
There is a lot of digging to be done here.
Disclaimer: I worked as a pharmacologist/ toxicologist in academia, goverment, Pharma and a startup for almost 50 years before retiring. Science seems destroyed in the US, our Covid death rate is #18 from the bottom of >200 countries. Hopefully it's due to incompetence, not intentional, but you have to wonder.
This whistleblower case is likely just the tip of the iceberg of such trangressions during the pandemic. At one time Pharma supervised and controlled their own clinical trials, although there was an obvious incentive to misbehave. They now outsource much of that work, as to this clinical trial vendor, to shield themselves from direct involvement and to scapegoat failures, if caught. For these fly-by-night clinical trial vendors, there is a different incentive: making the product look as good as possible to get ever more contracts (and it's also true about manufacturing. Less and less research and development is done by Pharma themselves, who look increasingly like venture capitalists or bankers). Pharma's merger (essentially) with government regulators means they are the only ones who have the money to run those gold standard double blinded clinical trials which will always be only on novel expensive drugs (no matter how good repurposed drugs might be). The FDA, the CDC, and NIH (particularly the NIAID) has failed spectacularly, yet somehow is still patting themselves on the back as successful.
Who would have ever thought that science would be politicized so remorselessly?
Great article, thank you.
Although it's nice to see credentialed people exposing specifics and tactics behind the partisan "fact checking" I don't believe an appeal to authority was ever really necessary.
Very early in the "fact checking" trend, I noticed that virtually every "check" I read was itself slanted, obfuscated, spun and at times, outright untruthful. And FAR too frequently, the only things "checked" were those uttered by Republicans (most notably Trump) and rarely those by Democrats.
It only took a modicum of critical thought to tell me that was piss on my leg, not rain.
I almost think that I am going to have to stop reading Matt's articles. Because there's nothing I can do about the issues he describes, and they depress me terribly. The world evidently has moved on from truth and the ability to face it honestly. What can we do about that? Nothing whatsoever. I'm not one to say that I despair of it, but people who have lives that will extend longer into what is being built are going to have to deal with it.
"I asked Duke if he believes who reads or retweets an article bears upon its factuality. “Who does or does not retweet or read something has no bearing on the factuality,” he conceded. “But it can reveal important clues about how it is received or understood.”"
Leaving aside the question of the extent to which we can reliably infer how information might be 'received' and/or 'understood' in craniums other than our own, how could this ever be a legitimate concern of fact-checkers? I have no input into a fact-checker's approach to cognizing data; why would he or she seek to have any control over mine?
The major, undeclared premise here seems to be that fact-checkers, or at least some of them, consider their responsibilities to include substituting their judgment for mine and that of other viewers and readers. Not only do they have no right to arrogate this responsibility to themselves on others' behalf, it would be unethical for anyone to accept such an invitation if it were explicitly offered. Each individual is responsible for forming his/her own 'understanding'... this isn't a task that can be delegated; yet, fact-checkers are apparently trying to usurp it. It's hard to think of an impulse simultaneously more authoritarian and more contemptuous of the most fundamental of human rights than this. How does one go about acquiring such incredible conceit, such grotesquely over-developed sense of self-entitlement? Please... just give us the facts, and allow us the same opportunity to determine their significance you take for granted your own right and competence to explore.
"Moreover, they deployed a rhetorical device that such 'checking' sites now use with regularity, repeatedly correcting assertions Thacker and the British Medical Journal never made."
Your old buddy Jimmy Dore was commenting on this recently when he was discussing a Lead Stories fact check on him. The fact check claimed Jimmy said things he never said, then refuted them. Score! Jimmy owned!
I've seen Robert Malone interviewed before. Right now he is in the news because he was on Rogan spreading "misinformation." That's always how it's characterized: Dr Malone was spreading "misinformation." I have yet to see a single article actual repeat what Dr Malone said, but instead they simply smear it as "misinformation." That's all anyone needs to know about that, right?
I haven't seen the Rogan interview and probably won't see it. But I'm pretty certain whatever Dr Malone was talking about, it wasn't remotely "misinformation."
Have you noticed the latest MSM trend in mind control? It's the "Here's What You Need to Know" formulation in "news" stories. Just a more aggressive form of "fact-checking." Not even trying to hide the wizard anymore, are they?
Scientific journalism has sucked for a long while now. I used to have to work to get through Scientific American until it morphed into a political rag that appeared to have been written by sophomore sociology majors.
The Cathedral has no credibility. I have to assume they’re all corrupt until proven otherwise now. Too many falsehoods, too many lies of omission for me to tolerate it. And the vicious manner in which they go after dissidents shows what they really are, totalitarians.
I keep waiting for published research on “the psychopathological mechanisms of dissent.” Then I’ll know we’re in the Soviet Union and it will all make sense.
Impressive to me is the good faith the Left wants me to have in Pfizer — at the same time Purdue/Sacklers deal with billions in lawsuits for unnecessary deaths and addictions. Really?
Wow. This must have been a good article. Everybody is quoting passages. Here’s mine.
“After the BMJ episode, a “Missing context” flag should be understood for what it is: an intellectual warning label for true but politically troublesome information.”
Fact checkers are a joke. I know that, most people with a brain know that. Keep the pressure on them Tabbi. Keep exposing them for what they are.
What kind of graduates are coming out of Columbia and other J schools? Who the hell teaches these punks? Integrity means not a god damn thing anymore and journalism is absolute dreck. I have this lib friend who loves to greet my introduction of actual facts about his precious lefty sacred cows with the "that's been debunked" smarm. Next time he says that I'm punching him right in the mouth. Sorry, not sorry.
I just watched an uncensored version of Senator Ron Johnson's hearings, all 5.5 hours, and it is just starting to hit the fan. They are speaking under oath and its serious. I Twitter followed emergency doctors that treated covid successfully and in the vaccine trials 14% caught covid and the NIH and the vaccine manufacturer let them die and claimed there was no treatment for covid.