Well before the coronavirus outbreak made its way to America, the mainstream media, their fact-checking arms, Big Tech, and Democrats were seemingly working in concert to warn the American people of the harmful impacts of disinformation, ostensibly on grounds that the country was best served by a well-informed public.
As the Brits would say, it was (and is) all “poppycock,” of course, because the reality of the matter is that the supposed gatekeepers of truth are some of the most notorious purveyors of the disinformation from which they claim to want to protect people.
The pandemic was chock full of examples of this tactic in action. We saw it in the treatment of Republican senators who openly speculated about the origins of the coronavirus in the early days of its existence here in the U.S. Did it start in a Chinese wet market or was it a lab leak out of China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology?
For over a year, those senators and anyone who had similar questions and who also wanted to question China were treated as crackpots, conspiracy kooks, and “bigots” over their suspicions.
But at a certain point not even then-Trump coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, for who the sun rose and set upon as far as the media and Democrats were concerned, could deny the possibility that the virus leaked from a lab. After that, the press and so-called “fact-checkers” suddenly changed their tunes in how they treated wet market skeptics. Similarly, Facebook and Twitter stopped suspending the accounts and slapping warning labels on people who posited the lab leak theory.
In another example of this tactic, the New York Post’s Twitter account was suspended for two weeks in October 2020 after a blockbuster report on emails found on the laptop Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden sent in for repair and evidently forgot about. At the time, it was just a few weeks before the election, and the emails raised questions about possible foreign influence peddling.
Other media outlets, Big Tech, and their fact-checking divisions all sprang into action to shield Joe Biden from further scrutiny with just weeks to go before Election Day. The story was declared “Russian disinformation” by former intelligence officials. Twitter and Facebook limited the sharing of the New York Post link, with Twitter outright blocking people from posting the link. Facebook suppressed the story from getting more attention on their platform than they wanted to as they awaited the “official” ruling from their fact-checkers.
As it turned out, the emails found on Hunter Biden’s laptop were in fact genuine, as originally confirmed by the New York Post but verified but other supposedly “respectable” media outlets like the New York Times and Politico well after Biden was in office.
We’re just a little over six months into 2022 and we continue to see examples of this play out every day. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for instance, gets hit with some sensational allegation by his critics in the press and/or on social media one day, only to have it shot down the next when the truth gets out there.
And just recently, it was confirmed that the horseback Border Patrol agents who Joe Biden accused in September 2021 of “strapping” Haitian migrants at the southern border were cleared of that allegation after a 10-month investigation. Biden has yet to apologize for smearing the agents and declaring them guilty before the investigation started, and is unlikely to do so despite his routine decrying of how often disinformation is spread for political gain.
Remember this the next time you hear The Usual Suspects warn of the spread of false information. It’s time for them to save the lectures and start practicing what they preach.
North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.