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Legacy media outlets attack independent researchers who question the COVID-19 narrative

OPINION

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Nathan Crabbe, Opinions Editor at the Gainesville Sun, reached out to me Wednesday morning: “I’ve been following the coverage of your analysis of COVID-19 death certificates. I was planning to write my Sunday column about that and Gov. DeSantis’ other steps to raise questions about COVID reporting. Would you be available/interested in talking with me today about it?”

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Note that he wasn’t at all interested in my article about COVID-19 death certificates; he was interested in the COVERAGE of it. That “coverage” was mainly a hit piece in the Miami Herald that didn’t talk about my article at all except to impute nefarious motives to the fact that I got access to records they couldn’t get access to. Since they couldn’t dig up any dirt on me, most of the article is devoted to using adjectives like “mysterious” to make it clear that I am someone you should definitely not pay attention to.

The Miami Herald followed that with a hit piece on Kyle Lamb, a guy who makes charts from publicly-available COVID-19 data and posts them on Twitter—on his own time. Governor DeSantis pays close attention to COVID-19 data and research, and he likes to use charts in his press conferences; he apparently liked Kyle’s charts and began a vetting process that resulted in a job offer. Kyle has reportedly accepted an offer for an entry-level data clerk position that pays about $40k/year. 

The hit piece on Lamb is mainly based on unsubstantiated allegations, from 4 people who have never met Kyle, that he is a conspiracy theorist (they’re not clear about what exactly that means). The article hammers on his lack of education but neglects to mention his experience in data work for the owner of a chain of Verizon stores. His former boss, Allen Tullos, posted on Twitter that Kyle “helped uncover internal employee fraud and helped us save money on expenditures. He audited and fine tuned thousands of transactions on a monthly basis.”

In a piece that will run in Sunday’s print edition of the Sun, Crabbe writes that Kyle and I are “conspiracy theorists” who are “guiding COVID-19 policy,” although he presents no evidence that anybody has consulted us on policy matters. Crabbe says DeSantis “tries to act like science is on his side in the decisions he makes,” so I guess Crabbe hasn’t watched DeSantis’ roundtable with scientists from Harvard and Stanford, who all supported his policies (in fact, they advocated for completely normal life for young people instead of all the testing, social distancing, and masking that is currently the standard in Florida).

But then Crabbe admits that DeSantis “listens to scientists” – just not the ones who are correct, in Crabbe’s expert opinion. Crabbe then gets Kyle’s name wrong, calling him “Scott Lamb.” He says that Kyle “is not a doctor, epidemiologist or any kind of scientist” and says he “spin[s] COVID-19 conspiracy theories” – although he also doesn’t say what those are.

It seems particularly horrifying to the Miami Herald and Crabbe that Kyle recently drove an Uber as a flexible way to make a living. I guess they prefer people who stay home and take unemployment checks? Since when is driving an Uber a dishonorable job?

More horrors – Crabbe says DeSantis has been getting advice from Dr. Scott Atlas (Crabbe left out “Dr.” in his article), a Stanford physician who specializes in healthcare policy. Crabbe falsely repeats the talking point that Atlas “promoted the controversial strategy know as ‘herd immunity.’” In fact, Atlas has said, “There’s news, there’s opinion, and then there’s overt lie. And that was never a strategy advocated by me in the administration. The President does not have a strategy like that. I have never advocated that strategy.”

Crabbe then moves on to my article about death certificates – but, of course, he doesn’t deal with the content of the article. He says we “mysteriously” reviewed the death certificates; what he means is that I won’t reveal my source. I’m sure the Gainesville Sun has NEVER reported on information that they got before other publications. Isn’t that the very definition of a scoop, something that most journalists work for every day?

Crabbe goes on to disparage my degrees in electrical engineering and Len’s degrees in economics (from institutions like Princeton, Berkeley, the Air Force Academy, UF, and Stanford) as proof that we can’t be trusted to report on government policy changes that led to counting COVID deaths that even the WHO says shouldn’t be counted. Apparently you can’t say that without an approved degree. 

Crabbe say he doesn’t claim expertise but “rel[ies] on the consensus of such experts on the best ways to fight COVID-19.” 

In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes the United States has made regarding COVID-19 was anointing one virologist (Dr. Anthony Fauci) as the “expert” and ignoring all opposing views. We’ve had no public debates, and Fauci has never had to explain why his policies directly contradict the CDC’s own previously-existing pandemic plan. That 2017 plan doesn’t recommend widespread shelter-in-place policies, closing businesses, or face mask use by the general public. It recommends VOLUNTARY home quarantine of people who are sick or who think they’ve been exposed. Here is what it says about face masks: “CDC does not routinely recommend the use of face masks by well persons in the home or other community settings as a means of avoiding infection during influenza pandemics except under special, high-risk circumstances… For example, during a severe pandemic, pregnant women and other persons at high risk for influenza complications might use face masks if unable to avoid crowded settings, especially if no pandemic vaccine is available. In addition, persons caring for ill family members at home (e.g., a parent of a child exhibiting influenza symptoms) might use face masks to avoid infection when in close contact with a patient, just as health care personnel wear face masks in health care settings.” Note that this statement says nothing about source control, which we are told is “science”—in the CDC’s pandemic plan, masks are recommended only for people who want to protect themselves from the virus.

The only reason we were ever given for deviating from the guidelines in this document was that COVID-19 had a very high population fatality rate, and models that used that information projected very high fatalities. That turned out to be false, but instead of acknowledging that, most politicians across the world have claimed that the failure of all of these mitigations to control the spread of COVID can be blamed on the populace, resulting in stepped-up enforcement of the failed policies. (In fact, the CDC’s best estimate of COVID-19 fatality rates is: 0-19 years, 0.003%; 20-49 years, 0.02%; 50-69 years, 0.5%, 70+ years, 5.4%.)

So instead of allowing debate between scientists who would be forced to defend their views, politicians and the media have decided that there is “consensus,” and anyone who disagrees must be destroyed. Multiple hit pieces have been run on Dr. Atlas, in an unsuccessful effort to discredit him. Now the media are focusing on people, like me and Kyle, who have tiny platforms but are trying to put the data in context and ask questions. The media are completely uninterested in whether our charts are accurate or whether my information about death certificates is correct; they have a narrative to push, and that narrative is that you should be so terrified of getting COVID-19 that you will comply with any restriction they care to place on your life or business. 

Governor DeSantis called their bluff by removing restrictions on individuals on September 25, and although Florida has recently seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations, that increase is happening across the United States and Europe right now, including states and countries with strict lockdowns and months of mandatory face masks. It is clear that the Miami Herald and Gainesville Sun are terrified that DeSantis will also remove restrictions on businesses, effectively freeing Florida from the tyranny of COVID emergency orders, and all they have in their arsenal are unsubstantiated hit pieces on people who make COVID charts and calls for discrediting scientists who don’t agree with the “consensus.” 

It’s time for both sides to present their evidence for the American people. Since that is unlikely, it is imperative that Florida continues to stand as the counter-example to states like New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, which have all just announced new restrictions as cases increase.

Please let Governor DeSantis and your representatives know that you are grateful you don’t live in those other states.

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