Source: Isa Cox
Dissident journalist Alex Berenson says he was accidentally sent an email that, if authentic, sheds light on the extent to which President Joe Biden’s federal government is working to influence social media censorship.
It isn’t shocking to learn that this could be the case, as White House press secretary Jen Psaki proudly admitted as much over the summer, explaining that the White House, along with the U.S. surgeon general, had been flagging “problematic” posts for Facebook to suppress.
Berenson is a former health reporter for The New York Times who, from the safety of his independent Substack newsletter Unreported Truths, has been sharing his verboten concerns over the truthfulness of the federal government’s response to the pandemic and the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
One of the most egregious examples of how Big Tech has been working to suppress COVID-19 “misinformation” is its targeting of posts that tout the effectiveness of potential treatments such as hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, along with its restrictions on content promoting less realistically effective treatments or claiming the virus itself isn’t real.
However, when a Food and Drug Administration official reached out to a Google lobbyist to specifically request that a video touting the potential effectiveness of a little-known drug that is not even available in the United States, even YouTube, which is owned by Google, ultimately thought they were going a bit far, according to Berenson’s report on Saturday. Trending: Epstein’s Pilots Reveal 1 Suspicious Custom That Ensured Privacy for Airplane Passengers
The journalist said he obtained the email after it appeared to have been accidentally included in a Freedom of Information Act request he made to the FDA and several other federal agencies for emails between federal officials and Big Tech executives regarding his own content.
The email had nothing to do with him, but the FDA seems to have unwittingly given him a big story.
It reportedly was sent by the FDA’s social media director, Brad Kimberly, to Google lobbyist Jan Fowler Antonaros in regard to a short YouTube video that touts the drug leronlimab, an HIV therapeutic that has not been approved by the FDA and is presumably not even available in the United States.
“I just wanted to flag a video that we believe is misleading when it comes to COVID-19,” reads the email, dated the same day that the video was posted.
Kimberly said the drug is not considered to be safe and effective against COVID-19 and has not been approved for such use, and also noted that the video, which has since been set to private on YouTube, conflates the Filipino FDA and the U.S. FDA.
“Overall, the video is very problematic when it comes to COVID misinformation,” he wrote, according to the report, concluding that because of the errant information as well as intellectual property concerns, it “should be pulled.”
An email obtained through a freedom of information request revealed that an #FDA representative wanted #Google to remove a video posted on #YouTube about a potential treatment for COVID-19.— Cristian PM (@realCristianPM) December 6, 2021
FDA attempted to hide the communication; journalist Alex Berenson obtained the email. pic.twitter.com/14OqHt3rof
Berenson explained that the “monoclonal antibody, leronlimab, is being developed by a small and troubled drug company called CytoDyn, whose stock trades around $1 a share. CytoDyn has repeatedly touted leronlimab, but clinical trial results suggest the drug is useless against Covid.” Related: White House Staffer Deletes Tweet After It Accidentally Embarrasses Kamala Harris: ‘Massive Self-Own’
The FDA stated in May that “the data currently available do not support the clinical benefit of leronlimab for the treatment of COVID-19” and that no plans were underway to approve the drug.
This certainly underscores the fact that the drug is likely useless against COVID-19 — but it would also be useless for anyone to try to procure and use it, Berenson noted.
“Because leronlimab remains unapproved, it is effectively unavailable to patients. Thus whatever its potential side effects or lack of effectiveness, it is not actually a risk to anyone — except Cytodyn’s investors, who are not the FDA’s concern,” he wrote.
This could be why — however stringent YouTube’s content guidelines for COVID-19 misinformation may be — this particular video was ultimately not deemed to be harmful.
“In response to Kimberly’s email, Antonaros responded on May 6 that YouTube had reviewed the video and found it did NOT violate the company’s guidelines — probably because it did not promise the leronlimab would cure Covid, only touted its potential and encouraged the FDA to allow it under an emergency use authorization,” Berenson reported.
He explained that it’s easy to understand why the FDA may be frustrated with efforts to tout the effectiveness of leronlimab — but that there is nothing new about corporations or patients pushing the agency to approve new treatments, however dubious their effectiveness.
What’s new, Berenson noted, is the agency’s efforts to scrub such campaigns from the internet.
What’s more, in the case of his FOIA request, he said he was told by federal officials that not a single email could be found that demonstrated efforts on the part of any of the agencies with which he filed his requests that would have, in his words, demonstrated “efforts to shape public opinion around lockdowns and vaccines and the anti-‘misinformation’ enforcement efforts” on the part of platforms owned by Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Yet, Berenson said, they appear to have accidentally provided him with an email that demonstrated just this.
It’s probably best to approach his report with some skepticism — as we should all media accounts.
That said, not only has the Biden administration been entirely open about its efforts to reach out to platforms such as Facebook to flag “problematic” posts, but Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has called on Big Tech to censor more information about the COVID-19 virus.
“My worry is that all this misinformation that’s floating around is having a real cost that can be measured in lives lost and that is just tragic,” says US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on the spread of vaccine disinformation on social media and by conservative media. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/hBTk3NDs9s— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) July 18, 2021
Berenson was booted off Twitter earlier this year for criticizing the vaccines, and social media users who are still allowed to post face a veritable minefield of potential flags, shadowbanning or outright banning should they dare step over the lines of what is considered permissible speech in Silicon Valley.
It is highly concerning that the federal government is trying to pressure Big Tech, which is already more than happy to censor speech in accordance with the federal agencies’ Official Truth in regard to COVID-19, to censor even more.
Yes, there is a certain extent to which it is understandable that, in the midst of a pandemic, the government wants to make sure that false information is being refuted. At the same time, this also leaves the public in the lurch, as we are expected to take for granted that the federal government and Big Tech are both acting out of sincere, entirely honest altruism.
Ha. Who honestly believes that?
How can we be expected to publicly scrutinize claims made by the same federal agencies that have so poorly handled the pandemic thus far?
How can we trust the kind of ideologically motivated tech executives who had no qualms suppressing a damaging news story about then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, on the eve of last year’s presidential election?
“Misinformation” or no, we cannot continue to stand by while this incestuous relationship between Big Tech and federal agencies continues, or we’ll never be able to accurately decipher truth for ourselves, as it should be, again.