Monday, July 17, 2023

The Fact-Check Racket Finally Unravels

By Jeffrey A. Tucker - July 17, 2023 at 08:21AM


Before the COVID lockdowns, social media companies had started contracting with new third-parties organizations called fact-checkers to assist in “content creation.” Getting a pass meant the post or story was amplified but getting dinged for inaccuracy meant that the post would be throttled or deleted.

For a while we believed it but certain revelations changed that. We came to realize that the posts labeled false were typically contrary to regime narratives. And a close look at the supposed refutation revealed that many points were very much in dispute. The companies developed a talent for seeming to reveal something false that was actually still debatable and interesting to consider. In most cases, what was declared false was still under consideration.

As time went on, the attempts to censor became more brazen and obvious. Then the Twitter files and other FOIAs generated proof of what many suspected all along. These entities were funded either directly or indirectly by government or by other dark-money sources as quid pro quos for other relationships they had cultivated with interested parties.

In other words, they were not some independent, science-based entities at all but rather hit squads with a hard political agenda. What was actually happening here was a form of censorship laundering. Government wants to censor but cannot so it turns to the social-media company to do the dirty work. To make this hand-in-glove racket less obvious, the companies would outsource to a fact-checking organization, making the lines of control even more blurry.

Sometime within the last several months, the whole racket seems to have unraveled. I rarely see the fact-checks cited at all. Or maybe they are cited ironically: what is declared false came to be seen as a badge of honor, a confirmation of core truth. That might seem crazy but these are the times in which we live. Nothing is as it seems.

At any one time, Brownstone and The Epoch Times deal with a range of ongoing fact-checks, some of which result in a hit piece but others just go away for no apparent reason. I’m coming to realize that the harassing emails themselves serve a purpose. They are designed to scare publishers and chill free speech. Risk-averse managers might be inclined not to run with a story rather than be put through the ringer and deal with possible reputation hits.

It’s all become ridiculously predictable.

Three days ago, a data maven who writes for Brownstone revealed a first look at some numbers he had been crunching over the CDC’s listing of COVID as cause of death. He initially sent the results to a private email list and I suggested we go with what he had discovered as an initial look.

He had death certificates from Missouri and Massachusetts and was able to cross-check them with the same once they got into the hands of the CDC. He found thousands of instances in which COVID was not listed as cause of death in the coroner’s report but it was added directly by the CDC. The scale of the problem is vast. The implications of this are rather ominous. We’ve been relying on CDC data for three-plus years to understand the scope of COVID’s mortality.

“The worst pandemic in 100 years,” they kept saying, and that might be true. But obviously the claim is highly contingent on correctly marking the cause-of-death codes. What Aaron Hertzberg found is that the CDC was changing the code to inflate the numbers. By how much it is hard to say but based on the data so far, this is a very serious problem with awesome implications for how we understand what happened to us.

The immediate question concerns the decision-making at the CDC. We know that Deborah Birx, coronavirus task force coordinator, said from the podium that they would mark every death with COVID as being from COVID. That was in the spring of 2020 and had already set off alarm bells. Changing the cause of death to COVID from something else is next-level crazy.

Under whose authority did the CDC act? Birx was not in charge of the CDC. Indeed, her power and status was always unclear. No question that she came to the White House by recommendation of Matthew Pottinger of the National Security Council. Also we know for certain that from March 13, 2020, onward, the NSC was the lead agency with the CDC reduced to operations. If the CDC had faced some formal order to mark COVID as cause of death regardless of what state certificates said, no one has ever seen such an order.

The implications of all of this are rather ominous. And keep in mind that this discovery was not made by a whistleblower or a specialist in this field but an obsessive data maven from the citizen world who has a passion to get to the truth. If he is right, the documentation here implies a level of treachery that even I had not considered.

I saw two reactions to the article once published. The most common reaction was that this is nothing new. Everyone knew this was happening the whole time. We saw the death numbers go up and up from COVID and equally down for every other cause. It was pretty clear that there was something fishy going on. So some people said that there is nothing surprising here. The CDC is capable of any degree of malfeasance.

The other reaction was flat-out denial and accusing Brownstone and the author of simply making things up. Indeed, many people were outraged that we could or would ever suggest that the CDC was anything other than truth-telling.

Watching all of this unfold, I began awaiting the arrival of the inevitable intimidating emails from fact-check organizations. Sure enough, they did arrive. They came to the author, to other scholars, to me personally, and everyone else. It was a true blitzkrieg. Maybe there was a time when I would have stopped my day and become defensive and answered them all, getting more data from the author and so on, and then worrying about the fallout. But this is not my first rodeo. At this point, it was easy to brush off all this drama as completely manufactured and fake. That’s exactly what I did.

To be sure, if the author made mistakes, they should be corrected. I’m sure the author would be the first to do so. This kind of research is lonely and he would welcome others to join in his efforts. That’s how science works: a community shares data and strives to get closer to the truth. But that’s not what fact-checks are about. They start with the presumption that they know the truth and you do not, and then schoolmarm you to the point that you admit them to be correct.

Here’s what I’ve concluded. Fact-check false really means: likely true but not what you are allowed to believe.

A final footnote here. A major claim of the fact-checkers for more than three years is that it is a conspiracy theory and false that the Wuhan lab conducted gain-of-function research and that the virus was a result of that research and a likely leak. Fauci dismissed this for a very long time, and fact-checkers frequently cited him and said the claim was false.

As a result of the Republican takeover of Congress, we’ve gained more access to the fullness of what was going on in those days. A committee has released an unredacted email dated Feb. 1, 2020, in which Fauci says that Wuhan was engaged in gain-of-function and that this virus might be the result.

At this point, it’s reasonable to assume that nearly every official source on the virus was wrong or lying for years now. You probably know this. In any case, my intuition here is that we are only at the beginning of discovery of the fullness of the duplicity. The stakes are very high: American liberty suffered a grave blow during the COVID response. If the reason wasn’t the virus, what was it then?

Reprinted with permission from Epoch Times.



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