- The appeals court ruled that the Biden administration censored skeptics on social media
- Those skeptics argued that their petition criticizing the lockdowns was dropped
- READ MORE: Lockdowns had ‘catastrophic’ effects on children’s social skills
A Stanford doctor who was silenced for challenging the Biden administration’s lockdown policies said the administration was infringing on his First Amendment rights.
A federal court ruled earlier this month that the Biden administration forced social media sites to censor him and other dissenters who wrote a controversial petition criticizing the administration’s efforts to shut down the economy, including schools.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, an epidemiologist and health policy researcher, said the statement is “akin to the Second Enlightenment.”
He was named in a lawsuit as one of several Covid-19 epidemiologists whose Twitter and Facebook accounts were deleted and removed from Google results during the pandemic.
The Louisiana appeals court that heard the case found that the Biden administration improperly pressured social media companies to silence critics, although this was limited based on an earlier ruling by the lower court of the Trump-appointed Judge Terry Doughty, who banned the government from contacting social media companies.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya called the court’s latest ruling in his favor “akin to relief.” The appeal found that the Biden administration illegally pressured social media companies to censor dissenters from the Covid lockdown
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. Bhattacharya is also director of Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging.
He added: “It is a statement that says there is a democracy of ideas. It’s not about whether the ideas are right or wrong. The question is who gets to control what ideas are expressed in the public square?”
This isn’t the first time lockdown critics have said they are being 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 of “fringe” epidemiologists who wrote the statement “suffered a swift and devastating publicized takedown” requirements.
While the latest ruling to side with skeptics by a three-judge panel in a federal appeals court in New Orleans marked a major victory for people like Dr. Bhattacharya, it was downsized from an earlier ruling by Trump’s appointed Judge Terry Doughty, who banned the government. contact social media companies.
Dr. Bhattacharya said, “The government had a huge censorship enterprise. It was used systematically to threaten and coerce and say to all these social media companies, ‘You better listen to us: censor these people, censor these ideas, or else’.
The Great Barrington Declaration called for “targeted protection,” an idea that would mean that the bulk of efforts to boost immunity would focus on the most vulnerable groups – the elderly and those with weakened immune systems – with few restrictions on the general healthy population.
Without those restrictions, more people would develop Covid, which would release antibodies against infections, creating herd immunity.
As more and more people become infected and later become immune for a period of time, the virus has fewer opportunities to spread and infect vulnerable people.
But the idea was rejected by many mainstream scientists, including those like Dr. Fauci and Collins who worked in the Biden administration. Many criticized the idea as dangerous and would lead to many avoidable 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 has given us a de-boost. Our Facebook page has been removed. It was just a crazy time.
“The kinds of things the federal government told social media companies to censor included us — along with millions of other posts from countless other people critical of the government’s COVID policies.”
The widespread lockdowns introduced in 2020 are considered extremely disruptive to the economy, which caused a downward spiral, as well as to students’ ability to learn.
Lockdowns also contributed to a crisis of poor mental health among teenagers, as they were suddenly thrust into a world of isolation, away from recreation and time with friends, as well as in-person classes.