If anyone should be blamed for vaccination refusal or reluctance (if it is to even be a blameworthy matter in the first place), it ought to be the corporate mainstream media and those so-called experts who have spent a great deal of time and energy in years of late undermining their own credibility.
Contrary to the neo-Rousseauian and Lockean notions that it is society alone that corrupts and puts us noble savages in the chains of convention and responsibility, and further, that we are each born blank slates passively impressed upon, the fact is that humans are all born horribly fallible. Each of us has a proclivity, or at least an inborn ability, to do wrong. Call it original sin or alternatively a bug in our pre-programming; arguably part of the same set of processes and inherent drives that prompt chimps to tear one another limb from limb. For this reason, we must understand why people routinely err. Recognizing that propensity in ourselves, it is prudent also to forgive. However, there are certain people whose roles, titles, and responsibilities demand higher expectations. They must overcome and check their fallibility to the best of their ability. We still might understand them and we certainly can forgive them, but our trust in their consistency, integrity, and judicious accounting of the facts cannot be strained or broken, otherwise a great deal more than faith will be lost.
Of course, I am here speaking not only of journalists and talking heads, pundits, politicians, and government officials, but of experts, specialists, and those persons whom by convention, function, necessity, and obligation are required to be frank and forthright, self-correcting and honest, and above all, consistent. The trouble, however, is that—and perhaps this is a tendency throughout the ages—over the past century, but over the past two decades in particular, our media, technocracy, and government officials have gone beyond straining our trust; they have tested the very limits of our forgiveness.
Why raise this point and why now? In March 2020, a national emergency was declared. President Trump asked that Americans “stop the spread,” help mitigate the impact of the Wuhan-born virus, and work to ease the burden on hospitals by taking fifteen days to minimize their social contact. Despite all the noise, the signal seemed to carry this ultimate goal: herd immunity. Of course, different countries mulled over the possibility of achieving that through natural exposure, such as Sweden, which just noted no COVID deaths on July 30th. Boris Johnson also figured this to be a good tact for Britain, at least up until politics and a wild surge of cases interfered. Nevertheless, herd immunity, either achieved by vaccination or exposure or both, was the goal apparent. For any given disease, the herd immunity threshold (i.e. the percentage of the population which must have acquired some form of immunity through natural infection or by artificial means) varies. Smallpox, for instance, requires a herd immunity threshold of 71-83%. The threshold for Measles is 92-94%. The threshold for the alpha variant of the Chinese coronavirus is reportedly 75%. Now at 60% of all Americans vaccinated (a number increased when natural infections are included), we’ve nearly accomplished what the state set out to do. That a quarter of Americans don’t feel like taking part in this giant experimental trial is their right, and what’s more: their refusal—taking into account the purported herd immunity threshold of 75%—won’t caltrop the ultimate goal, assuming the goal was even worthwhile in the first place.
Far more than fifteen days have passed since we set out on that initial mission to curb the spread and expedite the conference of immunity, but if you turn on the news or read the paper, it’s clear that 75% won’t be enough. That is to say, calls for herd immunity have turned to calls for herd mentality. All must submit to the will and whims of experts and media types. All must obey.
With Pfizer, like other vaccine manufacturers, forecasting tens-of-billions-of-dollars in COVID vaccine sales, media viewership dropping off precipitously, and local, state, and federal governments all enamored with their newfound emergency powers, who among the authoritative voices really wants COVID to end? The herd immunity threshold may soon be reached, but there are new variants to tackle! No one will ever be safe again! And those—this the critical point in all this—who refuse or are hesitant about getting the vaccine, and a booster this fall, and a booster next spring, and a vaccine passport, etc., are reprehensible individuals. They’re anti-American! They’re “deniers” (a word one might think only fit to be associated with those who discount or deny the Holocaust).
Never mind the profit motives of the media or big pharma. Never mind that insidious love for power over life and death expressed by persons like Gretchen Whitmer and other such authoritarians in our midst. Greed and the lust for power pre-date the written word and people have come to expect such from the rich and the powerful as well as from the envious and the diabolical. What Americans—particularly those hesitant about getting the jab—are likely newly woke to is the propensity for experts and the media to lie. There may have always existed some degree of cognitive dissonance, but in years of late, the effort by those with deep inkwells, loud microphones, and vast reach to convince us, in their own way, that 2 + 2 = 5, has forced the scales from many an eye. Let us consider the media and so-called experts’ recent track record. It will become abundantly clear that if anyone is to blame for vaccine holdouts and the wariness that abounds today, it is them.
Let’s start light. There was the Jussie Smollett hate hoax, where a rich and affluent actor, in the process of getting canned from a popular television show, manufactured a hate crime. He accused two phantasmal Trump supporters of throwing bleach at him, putting a noose around his neck, and yelling homophobic and racial slurs. Smollett, having paid two Nigerian brothers with a check to do the aforementioned, was wholly indifferent to whether or not two innocent Chicagoans might end up in jail. Like the Bubba Wallace hate hoax, the media refused to consider the verity of their own claims about Smollett’s fantastical story. After all, these lies served their narrative: America is a racist place, and President Trump’s conservative populism was certainly to blame.
The Bubba Wallace hate hoax was more of the same, but nothing quite like the repulsive smears directed against the Covington Catholic boys, not only by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, ABC News, and CBS News and a host of other news outlets, including Canadian state media (i.e. the CBC), but by politicians like Ilhan Omar and virtually every blue checkmark with some tenuous tie to Hollywood. Catholic school boys waiting for a bus, wearing MAGA hats bought to commemorate their field trip to the Lincoln Memorial, were confronted by a number of bigoted Black Hebrew Israelities who cast aspersions and ridiculed the teens. Then in walked a case of stolen valor, Nathan Philipps, who banged his drum in the boys’ faces. The boys kept their cool and smiled while the ridicule continued. The media decided to frame the kids as racists. Now of course, the anti-Catholic bigotry routinely fomented nearby in Congress had something to do with the energetic response, but Sandmann—the kid singled out—was treated as though he were racism incarnate, and blasted with everything from death threats from celebrities to defamation from papers-of-record. Americans watched the full video of the encounter, then they saw how the media knowingly lied. How could one reconcile the two? How could one see the truth and then read or hear those lies and not lose faith in the media, in celebrities, and in those hacks touted as experts?
One of the libel shops mentioned above, Rolling Stone, seems to have a knack for traducing and maligning innocents. This leftist publication destroyed the lives of young men over fabricated rape allegations and was forced to pay millions in damages. This, just another case where media distortions served not only to unjustly damage young men’s reputations, but to further destroy the fourth estate’s credibility.
Although I’d love to keep this list populated with recent instances, I must mention the lie the media advanced on behalf of the State and Defense departments, on behalf of Cheney and Rumsfeld, on behalf of certain war-starved lobby groups; and on behalf of the uniparty in Washington: weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This lie cost America hundreds of young men and women’s lives; trillions of dollars; diplomatic advantage; and more: it continued that Wilsonian build-up of the presidency and of executive authority—a pursuit Obama continued after Bush with great vigor, undermining this republic’s checks and balances. Above all the other lies here listed, this one has been the most damaging, in that it is truly unforgivable.
It might not qualify for a hate hoax, per se, and did not leave hundreds-of-thousands dead or displaced, but this next lie is bound up in the administrative state and Washington’s permanent class’s hatred for President Trump’s populism. They panicked when he demanded an end to America’s foreign entanglements. They panicked when he promised to tackle the deep state, to onshore jobs, to hold Communist China accountable, and to end the class warfare at the border, taking the form of unofficial imports of cheap, illegal labor. This hate prompted treacherous, self-serving deviants in the FBI (e.g. Strzok), the NSA, in Congress, and elsewhere to conspire and collude with corporate media to peddle another great lie, not quite on par with weapons of mass destruction, but still quite consequential. They accused the President of colluding with Putin’s Russia. This was patently absurd, and no actionable evidence was ever produced despite years of investigations. The aim: to undermine and supplant the American people’s President. From November 2020 onward, we’ve heard much about the dangers of rejecting a democratic election, and yet, the media, experts, and politicians making such claims spent the previous four years doing just that and more (not to mention interfering in virtually every single foreign election that has taken place in recent history). This travesty prompted more people to recognize that the media and political establishment’s games weren’t about truth or justice, but about winning and maintaining power, and with that, our collective trust faded some more.
Where were the people we rely upon when the New York Post stood alone against censorious tech giants and a rapacious and unaccountable deep state? Americans have seen the photos in circulation, but they are told not to trust their own eyes. They have heard the audio files, but are told not to trust their ears. They knew Hunter Biden, like his father, was guilty of sin; that he smoked his body weight in crack in the company of prostitutes and foreign adversaries while Joe’s policies put hundreds of thousands of black men in jail for that very crime; and that there was an incriminating laptop whose existence proponents of the deep state rushed to deny. Within hours of the Post first discussing the Hunter Biden laptop—which itself reveals the extent to which the Bidens sold out America, as well as the crimes of other big Democrat names on the Hill—on October 19, 2019, Leon Panetta (former head of the CIA), John Brennan (former head of the CIA), Michael Hayden (former head of the NSA), Jim Clapper (Former Director of National Intelligence), Nick Rasmussen (Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center), Mike Vickers (Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence), etc. all penned a ‘Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails’, declaring that the Hunter Biden laptop story and the evidence it discussed was all an utter fabrication—that it was Russian intelligence intended to undermine the integrity of the 2020 election. Since then, The Daily Mail has noted that “using the same forensics tools as federal and state law enforcement in criminal investigations, they found a total of 103,000 text messages, 154,000 emails, and more than 2,000 photos” on the laptop whose existence more experts denied. Whereas the Russian Collusion Hoax gave many a reason to question federal law enforcement and the administrative state, the way the media circled the wagons in concert with elements of the intelligence community (i.e. around the laptop) was sufficient cause to abandon all remaining hope in their integrity.
For brevity’s sake, I will mention, but not go into detail, some additional high-profile lies that the media and experts have pushed (and omit those other giant lies that former media critic and late-in-life Clinton apologist Noam Chomsky may have touched on elsewhere), thus undermining their credibility and our trust in them:
the repeated claim that the leftist terrorist group ANTIFA doesn’t exist;
the verity of the Steele Dossier, an opposition research report paid for by Hillary Clinton, and used in part as justification for the unlawful surveillance of the Trump campaign;
that the 2016 election was counterfeit, but that it was impossible for the 2020 election to have been stolen;
Al Gore’s inconvenient lie, corroborated by a consensus of experts (Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, rightly points out that science—yes even climate science—doesn’t work on a consensus basis) that New York would be submerged by now;
the Obama-era suggestion that the government wasn’t spying on citizens.
In terms of lies and the destruction of credibility, it’s probably also worth mentioning, given the fact that minorities are among those most averse to getting the jab, that people are now cognizant of their government’s history of experimenting on its citizens as well as on foreign nationals. There was the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, where black Americans were unwittingly and involuntarily infected with the permission of the state. In a similar experiment, the government tested on unsuspecting Guatemalans. The Pentagon also secretly tested carcinogen in Western Canada during the Cold War, spraying a dangerous chemical on several allied towns. Then there is the matter of Project MKUltra…
Where corporate malfeasance and cover-ups are concerned, just days ago, more revelations concerning the cancer link between Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based powders emerged, and the history of pharmacare is replete with similar instances, not the least of which was the thalidomide tragedy.
The Greek fabulist Aesop forewarned the consequences of crying wolf. It is, in great measure, the media’s fault and the fault of our experts that those resentful of having been previously misled and or betrayed aren’t concerned about a supposed ravenous canid at the door. What few may want to revisit is the fact that those, wholly bereft of integrity and no longer deserving of our trust, told us that the present means of fighting that wolf were themselves dangerous or ineffective. CNN’s Jen Christensen penned a piece on September 1st, 2020, the title of which reads: “Past vaccine disasters show why rushing a coronavirus vaccine now would be ‘colossally stupid’”. You see, when President Trump was seeing to the manufacture and distribution of experimental vaccines (see: Operation Warp Speed) it was dangerous, but when Biden’s camp comes to your door hoping to coerce a vaccination, it’s benevolent. Those news organizations now suggesting vaccine hesitancy is tantamount to manslaughter and sedition were the first peddling uncertainty. CNN again, this time fourteen days later, published an article entitled: “A vaccine will not stop the COVID-19 pandemic right away.” Biden and Harris both primed Americans to doubt the efficacy and safeness of the vaccine, all for political gain: “Biden and Harris preemptively sow doubt on Trump vaccine announcement.” Though yesterday, The Independent expressed uncertainty about who was more at fault for vaccine hesitancy, Fox or Facebook, last year, it concern-mongered about the speed of vaccine production: “Is it coming too fast to be trusted?”
Consistency. Humility. Transparency. Honesty. Without these traits or some semblance thereof, experts and journalists cannot be trusted, at least to the extent that we should be able to in a civil society. They serve an important role, but because of their caprice, their partisan hackery, and their blatant self-serving, they have jettisoned their integrity, and in the process have made a farce of themselves and the institutions they work for. In this age of well-documented and proven conspiracies, state- and media-spun lies, and misinformation campaigns, it is no wonder why trust is in such short supply. We shouldn’t ridicule those who rightly mistrust those in positions of authority and authoritative voices (especially those wary about taking an experimental vaccine), but instead those who squandered that trust in the first place. Fallibility we can understand and can possibly forgive, but not if it too cannot be admitted, and certainly not if those for whom we set high expectations continue to resist a higher standard.