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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/22/21

White House Enlists Social Media Giants to Suppress Vaccine 'Misinformation'

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As concerns about vaccine safety grow, the Biden administration is enlisting Big Tech's help in removing social media posts that deviate from "officially distributed" COVID-19 information.

By Megan Redshaw, J.D.

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The White House is asking Big Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc.'s Google to "clamp down on chatter that deviates from officially distributed COVID-19 information," according to the New York Post and other news reports.

Reuters reported that Biden, concerned that "fear about taking the vaccine has emerged as a major impediment" to his administration's pandemic plan, wants help from the social media moguls to keep "misinformation" from going viral.

"Vaccine hesitancy is a huge obstacle to getting everyone vaccinated and there are no larger players in that than the social media platforms," a White House source told Reuters late last week.

Biden's Chief of Staff Ron Klain had previously said information questioning the COVID vaccine has caused others to question the vaccine. But the news out of Washington last week was the first sign that officials are directly engaged with Silicon Valley in censoring social media users, according to Reuters.

"Social media tycoons are now openly serving as government surrogates in censoring factually accurate information that departs from government policies and pronouncements," said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., co-founder and chair of Children's Health Defense.

The Biden administration wants to make sure that unfavorable material does not start trending on social media or become an even broader movement, citing concerns over a recent anti-vaccine protest at Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium which was organized through a Facebook page.

"We are talking to [social media companies] " so they understand the importance of misinformation and disinformation and how they can get rid of it quickly," a White House source explained.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-N.Y.) last week criticized social media companies in a tweet accusing Facebook and Twitter of moving too slowly in responding to targeted harassment of people getting vaccinated and what Blumenthal described as "dangerous conspiracy theories."

A spokesperson for Facebook told Reuters the company has reached out to the White House to offer any assistance they can provide and recently announced a new policy to remove COVID information the company deems false, along with pages, groups and accounts that repeatedly spread such material.

Twitter stated the company is in "regular communication with the White House on a number of critical issues including COVID-19 misinformation."

Google did not comment on engagement with the White House but did point to a company blog on how it stops the spread of misinformation.

In August, 2020 Children's Health Defense filed a lawsuit charging Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and several fact-checking organizations with censoring truthful public health posts and for fraudulently misrepresenting and defaming the children's health organization.

The complaint alleges that Facebook has insidious conflicts with the pharmaceutical industry and health agencies and raised detailed factual allegations regarding the CDC, CDC Foundation, and WHO's extensive relationships and collaborations with Facebook and Zuckerberg calling into question Facebook's joint action in a censorship campaign with the government.

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8 people are discussing this page, with 28 comments  Post Comment


Al Hirschfield

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  New Content

MediaBias Fact Check

    • Overall, we rate the Children's Health Defense a strong conspiracy and quackery level advocacy group that frequently promotes unsupported claims. We also rate them low for factual reporting due to the promotion of propaganda as well as several failed fact checks.

The Children's Health Defense is a 501c3 nonprofit advocacy organization. Revenue is derived through donations and $ 10-lifetime memberships. According to 2017 IRS 990 they have a total revenue of $727,175.

Analysis / Bias

In review, Children's Health Defense primarily publishes news and information that is skeptical of vaccines and their safety. The website also features a research section that typically does not align with the consensus of science regarding vaccines and other scientific matters. For example, they routinely publish information claiming the dangers of accumulated Mercury and Thimersol such as this Generation Zero: Thomas Verstraeten's First Analyses of the Link Between Vaccine Mercury Exposure and the Risk of Diagnosis of Selected Neuro-Developmental Disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "Reputable scientific studies have shown that mercury in vaccines given to young children is not a cause of autism."

Besides promoting anti-vaccination propaganda the Children Health Defense has also promoted the debunked conspiracy that fluoride lowers the IQ in children. At this time there is not enough evidence to make that claim. Other conspiracies and/or pseudoscience promoted on this website include the dangers of 5G, and during the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic, the group accused the United States government of supporting research on a vaccine as part of a plan to increase revenues for the pharmaceutical industry.

Failed Fact Checks

Overall, we rate the Children's Health Defense a strong conspiracy and quackery level advocacy group that frequently promotes unsupported claims. We also rate them low for factual reporting due to the promotion of propaganda as well as several failed fact checks. (D. Van Zandt 4/24/2020) Updated (01/19/2021)

Source: https://childrenshealthdefense.org/

Submitted on Monday, Feb 22, 2021 at 9:45:57 PM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

poor Al. When fact check sites are your main source for debunking it shows what a lost sheep you are. Why don't you do some real investigative work and show a RFK Jr quote where he is not telling the truth? Most of his statistics that he states come right from government sources, therefore if he is spreading false miss information then so is our government.

The Columbia Journalism Review describes Media Bias/Fact Check as an amateur attempt at categorizing media bias and Van Zandt as an "armchair media analyst."[2] The Poynter Institute notes, "Media Bias/Fact Check is a widely cited source for news stories and even studies about misinformation, despite the fact that its method is in no way scientific."[4] Alexandra Kitty, in a 2018 book on journalism, described MBFC as an apparent "amateur/civic outfit" and wrote that its founder's only qualification was a degree in communications.[3]

The site has been used by researchers at the University of Michigan to create a tool called the "Iffy Quotient", which draws data from Media Bias/Fact Check and NewsWhip to track the prevalence of "fake news" and questionable sources on social media.[5][6] The site was also used by a research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in initial training of an AI to fact check and detect the bias on a website.[7][8]

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 10:54:37 AM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to tim mcghie:   New Content

The site has been used by researchers at the University of Michigan to create a tool called the "Iffy Quotient", which draws data from Media Bias/Fact Check and NewsWhip to track the prevalence of "fake news" and questionable sources on social media.[5][6] The site was also used by a research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in initial training of an AI to fact check and detect the bias on a website.[7][8]

Gee, that does raise some red flags...

And, it must be obvious to all that RFK, Jr. and his various props are the gold standard of the scientific community.

btw: Why do you keep on asking me to show you where RFK, Jr. hasn't told the truth? I guess someone really does need to inject it directly into your brain...

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 11:07:58 AM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

at least you can admit when you're wrong according to what you just said

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 11:31:15 AM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to tim mcghie:   New Content

Tim, I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. But, as I've said, I am not going to endlessly debate you on a subject which we obviously have diametrically opposed views, and you are as intransigent in yours as I am in mine.

Be well, be happy and stay safe...

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 11:44:47 AM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

here's a little more on your fact checking site

Media Bias Fact Check: Incompetent or Dishonest? - Just Facts Daily

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 12:13:13 PM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to tim mcghie:   New Content
This web site [MediaBias Fact Check] adheres to all nine of NewsGuard's standards of credibility and transparency"

These include:

  • The frequency of publication of inaccurate information
  • The extent of sourcing and original reporting of information
  • The degree of demarcation between news and opinion journalism
  • The accuracy of headlines, including the use of clickbait headlines
  • The degree of disclosure of the website's ownership, as well as the political positions of the owners

NewsGuard is a journalism and technology company that rates the credibility of news and information websites and tracks online misinformation. It operates a browser extension and mobile apps for consumers as well as services for businesses, including a brand safety tool for advertisers[1] and services for search engines, social media apps, cybersecurity firms, government agencies.[2]

NewsGuard's trust ratings for news websites are based on nine criteria related to a source's journalistic practices.[3] Based on the nine criteria, each site is assigned a trust score of 0-100 and an overall rating of red (generally untrustworthy) or green (generally trustworthy). The rating is accompanied by a "Nutrition Label" that explains why the site received its rating on each of the nine criteria. NewsGuard says it has rated more than 6,000 news sources that account for 95% of engagement with news in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy.[4]

NewsGuard operates a consumer-facing browser extension[5] and mobile apps for iOS and Android[6] that label news sources with a red or green icon indicating the site's rating and enable users to read each site's "Nutrition Label" from NewsGuard. Supported browsers for the browser extension include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and Safari. It is included by default in the mobile version of Edge, though users must enable it.[6]

Wikipedia

In fact, according to Newsguard, MediaBias Factcheck actually has a perfect 100/100 score, which is pretty unusual for them (and which is also pretty consistent with my own experience with MediaBias.)
You see, you quote your experts and I quote mine. As I said, this really is all rather pointless...

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 12:51:58 PM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

In contrast, The Children's Health Defense receives a 12.5/100 rating from "Newsguard" (with them adhering to only one out of nine of Newsguard's criteria) with the warning:

Proceed with caution. This web site severely violates basic journalistic standards.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 1:15:39 PM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

wake up Al. You believe the people that want you to believe their disinformation.

New Thought Police 'NewsGuard' Is Owned By Big Pharma | Europe ReloadedNew Thought Police 'NewsGuard' Is Owned By Big Pharma | Europe Reloaded

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 1:41:08 PM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to tim mcghie:   New Content

Wake up, Tim. It's owned by my brother-in-law, Steve Brill (and my sister, with whom I am very close, discuss the enterprise regularly, and am in constant contact... and who is also corporate counsel). Big pharma owns diddly. You live in a total, alternative universe/dreamland.

Sleep tight...

PS In fact this is so utterly amusing, I'm actually going to send him this bit of vintage conspiracy nonsense, for a hearty yuckety yuck...

Now, go back to sleep.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 2:12:14 PM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

that explains your bias.:)

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 5:36:36 PM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to tim mcghie:   New Content

It explains why I know the truth and you will spend the rest of your life with your head up your ass, indiscriminately passing along any worthless, fraudulent, meaningless bullshit that seems to prove your demented delusions.

:)

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 5:56:54 PM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

Easy Al, you get frustrated when you know you're wrong

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 7:55:05 PM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to tim mcghie:   New Content

Ah, now I get it: you're you.

Ha, not my problem.

Seeya...

:)

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 at 12:07:39 AM

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Eddy Schmid

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

Talk about baffling the brains with unsolicited bullshit, this post takes the cake. I was under the impression we were talking about Covid and the ALLEGED chemical jab being spread far and wide. There's a HUGE difference between that issue and children's innoculations.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 10:05:23 PM

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Fris Koy

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  New Content

Ladies & Germs! Please think like an accountable United Nations delegate! Medical experimentation requires informed consent. If JOE BIDEN gave away our consent, let him take our experimental non-vaccines until an LD-50 is established.

.cirp.org/library/ethics/nuremberg/

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 8:14:58 AM

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June Genis

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"The Defender reported in January that a Florida doctor died three days after receiving Pfizer's COVID vaccine."

I know nothing about the organization that posted this article but by their own words I do not trust them. The person who died in Florida was NOT a doctor. He was a health worker who I recall was specifically identified as an Xray technition.

Certainly no one should be forced to get vaccinated against their will and neither should the views of anti-vaccers be censored. But the accuracy of their claims should most certainly be questioned fact by fact.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 12:31:11 PM

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David William Pear

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Reply to June Genis:   New Content

Let's see some actual debunking of reports from The Defender aka Children's Health Defense.

"The wife of a Florida doctor who died 15 days after receiving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine told reporters at USA Today and the Daily Mail that her husband was "perfectly healthy" before he got the vaccine"--- CHD 01/07/2021

I guess that makes USA Today and The Daily Mail fake news.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 2:33:12 PM

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tim mcghie

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Reply to June Genis:   New Content

the person who died was a doctor and he died about three weeks after receiving the vaccine.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 2:52:30 PM

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June Genis

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Reply to tim mcghie:   New Content

I stand corrected. The person I was thinking of was in CA and died 3 days after getting his second shot. His family is still encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. I have not heard if the cause of his death has been estableished yet. However I am still disinclined to take this report at face value given everything else that has been said about the authoring organization. Ultimately we must each make our own judgements about who to believe. The government is not particularly high on my list in general.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 4:28:50 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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Reply to June Genis:   New Content

"Ultimately we must each make our own judgements about who to believe"

This is precisely what they don't want as they continue censoring/silencing what they do not want the people to see/hear/read. In order to make sound judgements one must have access to all of the facts. Just supposing what they do allow to be "aired" is correct, the people are only getting half-truths as what information is being allowed certainly does not present any negatives. Receiving only one side of an issue only raises suspicion.

Remember, Truth is the greatest weapon against corruption and censoring information is silencing Truth. In other words the agenda is clear they want to brainwash the people.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 at 12:21:17 PM

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  New Content

The left has fallen to new lows. Cheering for censorship (i.e. so-called "factcheckers" and deplatforming) will backfire. It is very discouraging and sad to see.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 3:02:44 PM

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Yes, the left has fallen to the new low of factchecking...

I do love it.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 3:16:23 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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Reply to Al Hirschfield:   New Content

Why is it "fact-checking" didn't become popular until censoring became popular? One can only surmise truth is being hidden.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 at 12:23:14 PM

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Al Hirschfield

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Reply to Dennis Kaiser:   New Content

I would offer that "fact-checking" probably goes back to our Neanderthal brethren. If one of them claimed that a wooly Mammoth was right outside the cave door, I wouldn't be surprised if someone actually went to check to see if that was a fact.

And one man's "censoring" is another's "editorial standards". Some would insist that anyone who who shows up at an NBC studio and insists that they be allowed to talk on air about their morning bowel movement, should be allowed to do so, and denying them this would amount to "censorship", and a violation of their First Amendment rights. Others would say that forcing NBC to oblige the fellow, would actually violate simple good taste, community standards, and/or the First Amendment rights of NBC, which guarantees the "free press" to make their own determinations on such matters.

The 1st Amendment doesn't exist to guarantee conspiracists to use the government as a means to force their own narrow, beliefs onto anyone and everyone they wish to force them upon.

Sorry...

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 at 12:58:20 PM

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Fris Koy

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Organized criminals hire Respectable Companies to censor critics of their endless war.

Some headlines you will never see. Ask JOE BIDEN's dog why.

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 4:24:44 PM

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Eddy Schmid

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Talk about closing the door AFTER the horse has well and truly bolted. L.O.L. They should instead be addressing WHY these chemicals, ( I won't call them vaccines, simply because they do not fulfill the criteria for vaccines) don't work as claimed. Despite being innoculated, people still contract the virus AND also spread and carry the virus. So what's the point of the jab in the first place, other than to make some people incredibly richer ?

Submitted on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021 at 10:02:23 PM

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Jill Herendeen

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Reply to Eddy Schmid:   New Content

...and, perhaps, to kill off a lot of us?

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 3, 2021 at 11:35:03 PM

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