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Monday, May 11, 2020
MRC Still Complaining that Social Media Is Removing Coronavirus Misinformation
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center keeps being bizarrely unhappy that misinformation about coronavirus is getting blocked on social media. Corinne Weaver did so again in an April 29 post:

A popular video featuring California emergency doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi was taken down by YouTube for “violating YouTube’s terms of service.”

Based on their own research, the hour-long conference asked, “Does this make sense? Are we following the science?” Towards the end of the video Erickson said, “Do we need to still shelter in place? Our answer is emphatically no. Do we need businesses to be shut down? Emphatically no. Do we need to test them and get them back to work? Absolutely.” The initial video was removed by YouTube on April 27, 2020, for content that “explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance.”

A Google spokesperson told ABC reporter Bayan Wang that, “We quickly remove flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines.”

After noting that major medical organizations have denounced the video, Weaver added in defense: "However, Erickson and Massihi seemed to only question the reasoning behind the quarantines and the shutdowns."

In fact, Erickson and Massihi were claiming that, based on the patient population they claimed to have studied, coronavirus is no serious than the flu. But as an actual news outlet reported, experts point out that the doctors' patient sample was not  representative of the general population, with one likening it to "estimating the average height of Americans from the players on an NBA court." Another doctor, who is also a state legislator, stated that the doctors "basically hyped a bunch of data and weren’t transparent about their methods."

Erickson and Massihi also suggested that local hospital administrators had pressured doctors to report COVID-19 as patients’ causes of death in order to "make it look a little bit worse than it it, but they offered no proof or possible justification for doing so other than to conspiratorially hint that "there is something else going on."

Weaver went on to tout that "major figures such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the doctors 'make good points.'" Musk also predicted that human language could be obsolete in five years and gave his baby an unprounceable name, so maybe he's not the best person to quote authoritatively.

The day before, Alexander Hall played the conspiracy card by claiming that YouTube is "clamping down on reports of potential treatments that are being developed' by removing a video about a potential coronavirus treatment through use of ultraviolet light inside the body, going on to quote the head of the company developing the device claiming that "Big Tech allegedly got in line to shut [the device] out of the conversation" after President Trump made bizarre coments suggesting ingesting disinfectants to kill coronavirus.

But the company's own website states that the device "has not been reviewed by the FDA" and that it -- or even the concept of it -- "is currently not indicated for use in the treatment of COVID-19." Some experts have also stated that the type of ultraviolet light the device uses is not effective in killing viruses.

Crying "censorship" over content that misinforms and could even be dangerous is not a good look for the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:14 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 18, 2020 12:36 AM EDT

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