I recall the newsroom conversations during the dark days of the pandemic only too well. They were upsetting at the time. Now, as we see a disturbing rise in excess deaths across the country, the thought of them fills me with horror and outrage.
‘You do realise these lockdowns and restrictions will end up killing people too, don’t you?’ I would say to senior editorial colleagues with something approaching desperation in my voice. ‘Sure, the virus is a serious threat to a small proportion of the population but the longer-term consequences of shutting the economy down and closing off the NHS will be deadly for huge numbers who were never at serious risk from the virus, people with years of life ahead of them. Shouldn’t we be reflecting that in our coverage? Shouldn’t we be considering the possibility that the government is going down the wrong path on this?’
The response of these colleagues would vary in tone, from patient but patronising good humour to open mockery. Many were influenced, I believe, by social media echo chambers (curated by pernicious algorithms). My colleagues had swallowed the myopic belief, adopted by people largely on the liberal left, that only lockdowns could ‘save lives’ and ‘protect the NHS’ from the devastation threatened by Covid-19. Anyone who demurred was, as far as they were concerned, clearly a right-wing lunatic.
Now we can all see how well that is working out. Provisional figures released this week reveal that more than 650,000 deaths were registered in the UK in 2022 – 9 per cent more than 2019. This is one of the largest excess death levels outside the pandemic in 50 years. But despite many of the causes of this being obvious, the BBC is pretending the development has come as something of a shock.
Presented as an independent voice for “unbiased” scientific advice, iSAGE provided a channel for media spinmeisters, spies and psy-op specialists to influence Britain’s pandemic policy without accountability. Leaked internal emails show members fretting over its unethical methods.
The British government is spending tens of millions on media projects in Eastern Europe which are often presented as fighting “Russian disinformation”, but which may involve the UK’s own information operations.
The British government ploughed at least £82.7m of public money into media projects in countries bordering or near Russia in the four years to 2021.
The projects, which take place across 20 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, are run through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), a cross-government pot of money with the stated aim of preventing “instability and conflicts that threaten UK interests”.
The analysis identified 72 studies that might potentially have provided evidence on the effectiveness of masks, social distancing and hand washing. Of those, just six (not eight, 30 or 72) were sufficiently relevant — and of sufficient quality — that they could provide any useful information on mask efficacy. And how reliable were the six? Four were assessed to have a moderate risk of bias, and two to have a serious or critical risk.
The Gates Foundation money going towards media programs has been split up into a number of sections, presented in descending numerical order, and includes a link to the relevant grant on the organization’s website.
…Together, these donations total $166,216,526. The money is generally directed towards issues close to the Gateses hearts. For example, the $3.6 million CNN grant went towards “report[ing] on gender equality with a particular focus on least developed countries, producing journalism on the everyday inequalities endured by women and girls across the world,” while the Texas Tribune received millions to “to increase public awareness and engagement of education reform issues in Texas.” Given that Bill is one of the charter schools’ most fervent supporters, a cynic might interpret this as planting pro-corporate charter school propaganda into the media, disguised as objective news reporting.
The main purpose of science is to question and attack. To subject ideas to the greatest scrutiny. Those who decide to shut down and stifle debate – whatever they may believe themselves to be doing – are, in fact, traitors to the cause of science. Stranglers of the enlightenment, assassins of progress.
They are not alone, and things have gotten far worse in the past year or so. Science has taken a terrible battering during Covid-19, though I have always known that dissent against a widely held scientific hypothesis is difficult.
So, why are the excess death data and the Covid deaths data so out of whack? And why isn’t Covid killing lots and lots of people this winter, as it did in spring? Even if you ascribe all excess deaths to Covid and none to lockdown, there really does not seem to be anything out of the normal variation in total deaths from year to year. And surely, by now, the toll of unnecessary deaths caused by untreated cancer, heart disease, depression and so on, has at least begun to register.
One reason coronavirus might not be slaying all around it this winter is because, well, this is not its first winter. Remember: it is called Covid-19, as in 2019. Of course, the official version of history states that the virus never reached Western civilisation until the spring of 2020, but evidence for this assertion is based on dodgy polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and a profound rejection of common sense. (By the way, how many people do you know who had a severe bout of pneumonia-like symptoms last winter?)
But the main reason for the disparity is obvious: mass PCR testing. Under the current regime (science is the wrong word), a ‘Covid death’ is someone who dies having tested positive for Covid within the previous 28 days. When you test all hospital patients, as the UK does, then some of them will turn out to be positive – how many depends largely on the way you do the tests. And the more tests you do, the more ‘Covid deaths’ you will generate. It is that simple. Dr Mike Yeadon has written extensively on this, which he calls the PCR false positive pseudo-epidemic.
While the truth about Tamiflu emerged only after years of exhaustive work by the Cochrane review group and investigative journalists, the machinations behind remdesivir’s rapid climb were evident at an early stage. On 29 April, the same day as a trial was published showing no significant effect of remdesivir among patients in hospital, remdesivir’s manufacturer rushed out interim findings of a more favourable trial by press release and with full White House honours. The much vaunted but minimal benefits shown in severely ill people were used to justify FDA approvals and worldwide purchase. Now a much larger trial has found little or no benefit in hospital patients, and a BMJ Rapid Recommendation, produced in collaboration with the World Health Organization and Magic App, has come down against use of remdesivir in patients with covid-19 of any severity.
…Science by press release, on the basis of interim or ad hoc analyses, and without access to the data, also afflicts our knowledge about the covid-19 candidate vaccines. Patients and the public deserve better than this. So do health professionals. Pandemic or no pandemic, decisions must be based on scrutiny of the full data from trials that are independent of drug and vaccine manufacturers.
At a time when some advertisers are hitting pause on spending and others are avoiding appearing next to coronavirus articles — or even just “bad news” — the U.K. government is rapidly ascending the rankings of U.K. news publishers’ most important clients — and cheerleaders — during the crisis.
The media in this country have no shame. For two months they’ve been ramping up fear and hysteria over Covid-19. They predicted apocalypse. They reported the daily death tolls like gleeful grim reapers.
And now, after all that, after pumping out 24-hour rolling doom for weeks on end, they have the gall to wonder why so many people have been too scared to visit a hospital during the pandemic. And why there has been a huge number of excess deaths from treatable ailments other than Covid-19. And why there was a policy of ‘Protecting the NHS’ at all costs from the coming viral calamity that involved sending even infected elderly people away from hospitals and back to care homes. ‘How could this happen?’, they cry.
The biggest political ruse of our time has now spiralled so far out of control that it has become almost impossible to distinguish fact from deception. Every day we are besieged with such a selective and biased artillery of “scientific” assertions that it makes a mockery of expert insight.
Every day we are subjected to yet more bitesized epidemiology that gives an utterly false impression of risk. And every day we are bombarded with terrifying death figures so out of context that they are effectively meaningless.
They stopped trying to provide profound and challenging explanations, according to their different points of view, of events or trends. They were too worried that such an approach might estrange readers. Likewise, articles and news items became shorter and shallower, because they were worried about the attention span of consumers, who were deemed all too ready to read the competition just a click away.
Something else shifted, too. Modern journalism ceased to try to report the facts, and then allow the reader to make up his or her own mind. Instead it started to act almost as a teacher, standing by the reader’s side, and guiding him or her towards the ‘right’ viewpoint.