Wrongly censored scientist seeks COVID-19 truth commission to expose 'propaganda,' censorship

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya says government and Big Tech played "malign role" colluding to create a false picture that all Americans faced the same risk from the virus and needed to follow identical mitigation strategies.

Published: February 15, 2023 7:06pm

Updated: February 15, 2023 11:29pm

A respected medical scientist whose accurate analysis on COVID-19 was improperly censored during the early days of the pandemic says the federal government and Big Tech played a "malign role" and placed public health at risk by colluding to create a false picture that all Americans faced the same risk from the virus and needed to follow identical mitigation strategies.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford University medical professor, says he is now working with other scientists who were silenced during the early COVID-19 debate to build momentum for a "truth commission" on the failures of public health officials and identify the questions that Congress needs to answer so America doesn't repeat such failures in future medical crises.

"What Big Tech did essentially I think caused tremendous harm to the American people," Bhattacharya told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show Wednesday night. "I suppose that if we had had an open and honest debate in 2020, 2021 about school openings, so many of our kids wouldn't have missed a year and a half or more of school, wouldn't have had the learning loss, wouldn't have had the lifelong harm done to them that we did with these lockdown policies."

Twitter under new owner Elon Musk acknowledged in December that under pressure from federal agencies it blacklisted Bhattacharya for many months. The platform kept the opinions of Bhattacharya and other scientists in the Great Barrington Declaration movement from gaining traction, even though research now shows their analysis on the low risk of COVID-19 to children, the uselessness of masks and the uneven protection of mRNA vaccines were all accurate.

"We would have won that debate in 2020 and 2021, had we been allowed to present the science openly," he said. "But Big Tech played a malign role in suppressing that debate from happening.

"And I actually have to say it's not just Big Tech. This was done at the behest of government actors. I know this from a lawsuit that I've been involved with from the Missouri and Louisiana Attorneys General  Offices against the Biden administration. We've documented a concerted effort by government agencies to tell Big Tech what to censor and, in some cases, even who to censor on the COVID debate. Americans were denied debate very, very unfairly by the federal government." 

Bhattacharya's reflections were offered the same day House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan sharply escalated his investigation into censorship collusion between Big Tech and federal agencies by announcing subpoenas for documents and testimony.

The Stanford scientist said that through panic and censorship public health officials created a "dishonest premise" that all Americans faced the same lethal risk from COVID-19 and imposed a one-size-fits-all mitigation strategy that often was contradicted by science.

"The CDC wanted to put into the minds of people that they absolutely had to get vaccinated no matter what the risk-benefit ratio is," he said. "I was a big proponent of the vaccine for older people — I think the risk-benefit ratio, especially in 2021, favored it. For younger people, especially young men where myocarditis is a risk, it was much less clear.

"It should have just been something left to the doctors talking with their patients. Instead, the CDC treated it like something that was a matter of we should force you and trick you into getting it, even if we're going to run roughshod over the science. Essentially, it was a propaganda campaign as opposed to honest public health."

Bhattacharya said the consequences of the public health missteps persist today as many Americans continue to think a cloth mask will protect them when widespread research has shown otherwise.

"It's the fault of public health authorities that rang this bell of panic and fear," he said. "… It's not about scientific thinking and scientific results that are driving this behavior. It is really behavior manipulation by public health officials. And it's been very, very effective, with malign effect, I think, in the population at large."

Bhattacharya said he is working with other scientists on a new project called the Norfolk Group to identify for Congress and policymakers the essential questions that need to be answered to avoid a repeat of the COVID-19 debacle.

"I think the first step is an honest accounting of the errors that were made, so I've been working with some other epidemiologists and infectious disease folks on a document called the Norfolk Group document," he said.

"Basically, it's an agenda," he explained, "for what a honest COVID commission would ask: Why did we approve the the mask mandate when there's so little evidence in favor of them? Why did we close schools? What were the harms done? Were those harms considered when these decisions were made? It's a whole host of questions that really Americans deserve an answer to."

But the planned effort, as Bhattacharya describes it, won't stop with review of past mistakes; it will move on to public repentance and renewal.

"And then next, I think the leadership of public health in the United States needs to apologize to Americans for the mistakes it made," he said, "for dividing people with vaccine mandates that were useless — absolutely discriminatory, in the case of these vaccine passports — for closing schools, and so much else. And I think in many cases we need new leadership in public health to actually start to restore the trust that Americans need to have in public health in order to remain healthy."

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