We are under siege. A nihilistic fanaticism is running free among us thanks to the emergence of a journalistic “ethos” that establishes an almost complete equivalence between the “truth” and those utterances that support the strategic goals of the great economic and digital powers of our time.
A few months ago Facebook censored an article in the British Medical Journal that highlighted serious irregularities in Pfizer’s clinical vaccine trials. Then two weeks ago, fact-checkers from the Spanish websites Newtral and Maldita burst into the public square to accuse professor of Pharmacology, renowned expert in drug safety, and ex-WHO adviser, Joan Ramón Laporte of foisting lies and disinformation onto the Spanish populace. This, in reaction to Laporte’s testimony before a Spanish parliamentary commission investigating the country’s vaccination effort.
Despite his towering credentials, his intervention was quickly tarred as problematic by the media and subsequently banned by YouTube. The crime of this new Galileo Galilei? Alerting the assembled parliamentarians to the existence of grave procedural irregularities in the trials for the vaccines, and questioning the wisdom of a health strategy that aims to inject every Spanish child over the age of six with a new, poorly tested, and largely ineffective medication.
This incident reveals that the fact-checkers will attack anyone who does not accept the truth as dictated by the great economic and government centers of the world. This is not the usual official media obfuscation to which we’ve become accustomed over the years, but rather a brazen McCarthyist intimidation device, designed to frighten citizens into submission by appealing to their lowest and most ignoble instincts, an approach lain bare in Maldita’s smug and Manichaean slogan: “Join and support us in our battle against lies.”
Under this harsh binary logic, an internationally famous scientist like Laporte is not even given the opportunity to be judged wrong or misguided in good faith. Rather, he is immediately accused of being a willful and dangerous liar who must be immediately banished from public view.
Fact-checkers as destroyers of science and the public sphere.
Nowadays the word “fascist” is used so profligately that it has lost most of its meaning. But if we are really serious about describing the operational logic of fact-checking entities like Maldita and Newtral we must recur precisely to that term, adding the prefix “neo” to avoid confusion with the original version of this totalitarian sensibility.
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