- Court of appeals ruled Biden administration censored skeptics on social media
- Those skeptics argued that their petition critical of lockdowns was scrubbed
- READ MORE: Lockdowns had ‘catastrophic’ impact on children’s social skills
A controversial covid lockdown skeptic alleged the Biden administration likely infringed on his first amendment rights by coercing social media sights to censor him and other dissenters.
The authors of a controversial petition that criticized government efforts to shut down the economy, including schools, won a September 8 appeal reinforcing a lower court’s ruling that supported their claims of being censored.
One of the authors of that petition known as the Great Barrington Declaration argued that, under pressure from officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, Google reduced their visibility online while social media sites blocked them.
This is hardly the first time that lockdown critics said they have been censored and sidelined.
Former National Institutes of Health director Dr Francis Collins sent an email to Dr Anthony Fauci in October 2020 saying the ideas from ‘fringe’ epidemiologists who wrote the declaration required ‘a quick and devastating published take down’.
Dr Jay Bhattacharya called the latest court ruling in his favor ‘akin to enlightenment’. The appeal found that the Biden administration illegally pressured social media companies to censor Covid lockdown dissenters
Drs Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, the main authors of the Great Barrington Declaration
Dr Jay Bhattacharya, director of Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging who was one of three authors of the Great Barrington Declaration told the New York Post that the September 8 ruling was ‘akin to the second Enlightenment’.
He added: ‘It’s a ruling that says there’s a democracy of ideas. The issue is not whether the ideas are wrong or right. The question is who gets to control what ideas are expressed in the public square?’
While the latest ruling to side with skeptics by a three-judge panel in a New Orleans federal appeals court marked a major win for people like Dr Bhattacharya, but it was narrowed from an earlier ruling by Trump-appointed judge Terry Doughty, who banned the administration from from contacting social media companies.
Dr Bhattacharya said: ‘The government had a vast censorship enterprise. It was systematically used to threaten and coerce and jawbone and tell all these social media companies, “You better listen to us: Censor these people, censor these ideas, or else’”.
The Great Barrington Declaration called for ‘focused protection,’ an idea that would mean the bulk of efforts to increase immunity would be centered on the most vulnerable groups – the elderly and the immunocompromised – with few restrictions on the general healthy population.
Wiuthout those restrictions, more people would develop Covid that would confer antibodies against infection, producing herd immunity.
As more and more people become infected and later immune for a period of time, the virus has fewer opportunities to spread and infect vulnerable people.
But the idea was slammed by many mainstream scientists, including those like Drs Fauci and Collins who worked in the Biden administration. Many criticized the idea as dangerous and would lead to many preventable deaths.
But Dr Bhattacharya continues to advocate for the theory, which has reportedly received thousands of signatures in support.
He said: “We were just acting as scientists, but almost immediately we were censored. Google de-boosted us. Our Facebook page was removed. It was just a crazy time.The kinds of things that the federal government was telling social media companies to censor included us — along with millions of other posts from countless other people who were criticizing government COVID policy.’
The widespread lockdowns that were implemented in 2020 have been deemed extremely disruptive to the economy, which took a downward spiral, as well as students’ ability to learn.
Lockdowns also fed into a crisis of poor teen mental health, as they were suddenly thrust into a world of isolation kept far from recreation and time with friends, as well as in-person classes.