Coronavirus

Banning Alex Berenson From Twitter Is a Mistake

"The pandemic's wrongest man" can likely profit from martyrdom.

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Twitter has finally had enough of Alex Berenson, the former New York Times reporter who has spent the pandemic being extremely wrong about both the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and, more notably, the efficacy of vaccines. On Saturday, the social media site confirmed that it had permanently banned him for "repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules."

There are good reasons to be troubled by this decision—even though Berenson is indeed a serial spewer of misinformation.

The pandemic has minted a new class of terribly misguided pundits, and Berenson is among the very worst of them. Early on, he vastly underestimated the eventual U.S. COVID-19 death toll. And while that's a forgivable offense—official predictions ranged wildly, after all—Berenson has compounded his mistake by coming out swinging against vaccines. He has used his Twitter platform to peddle the absurd notion that vaccines might be causing severe illnesses and even deaths. He has suggested that countries with high vaccination rates are having just as bad a time as countries with low vaccination rates. And he has claimed that most people under the age of 70 probably don't need to become vaccinated—even though the death toll for the under-70 crowd is well over 100,000. As The Atlantic's Derek Thompson noted in a conclusive takedown of Berenson—whom he quite reasonably dubs "the pandemic's wrongest man"—these views are all nonsense.

Though COVID-19 has allowed Berenson to fully embrace his role as a purveyor of delusions, it should be noted that he was pushing unscientific nonsense before the pandemic. His 2019 book, Tell Your Children, attempted to scare readers into believing that consuming marijuana makes people crazy and violent. Reason's Jacob Sullum described it as "a work of logical leaps, self-contradiction, misleading glosses, selective quotation, biased evidence gathering, and tendentious interpretation."

Berenson was never worthy of the public's trust, yet his vocal opposition to various COVID-19 mitigation efforts—lockdowns, masking, etc.—has made him a hero to some conservatives. Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wis.) called him a "courageous voice of reason" and "a valuable counter-perspective." This flattery is undeserved. There are many "voices of reason" who have criticized unending lockdowns, school closures, regulatory hurdles, draconian missives from health officials, and excessive mask mandates without succumbing to anti-vaccine crankery. (For examples, read David Zweig, Nate Silver, Alec MacGillis, Emily Oster, Alex Tabarrok, and, of course, Reason.)

Berenson's final tweet is a good example of said crankery:

While it's true that the vaccines do not entirely prevent the transmission of the delta variant—breakthrough cases will occur—vaccinated individuals are less likely to contract the disease than the unvaccinated. Moreover, the vaccines dramatically reduce the likelihood of suffering a negative COVID-19 health outcome, such as hospitalization or death. Unvaccinated people account for 97 percent of all hospitalizations and 99 percent of all deaths. This tool that Berenson calls "a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy" makes dying of COVID-19 an exceedingly rare occurrence. His harping on vaccine side effects is equally delusional: The side effects of the vaccine are almost always less terrible than the primary effects of the disease itself. (Take it from someone who's had both: My bout with the virus, though very mild, was still less pleasant than getting the vaccine.)

It's one thing to oppose mandatory vaccination on the general principle that the government should not and cannot force people to undertake specific medical treatments. It's another to cast doubt on vaccination itself because you think it doesn't work, or is actively harmful. The former is perfectly appropriate; Berenson is doing the latter.

In summary, Berenson is not someone to be taken seriously. All that said, Twitter's decision to banish him is concerning for at least two reasons.

First, while Berenson is a uniquely misguided COVID-19 pundit, he is far from the only person to mislead the public about some aspect of the pandemic. Social media sites have taken great pains to purge so-called misinformation from their platforms, but they have largely taken their cues from government-approved sources of information, which have huge blind spots. It was the government's own health officials, after all, who cast doubt on the idea that COVID-19 could have possibly emerged from a lab and encouraged Big Tech to crush any dissenting views on this subject. But neither Twitter nor Facebook have banned any mainstream media accounts for wrongly deriding the lab leak theory as an unfounded and completely impossible conspiracy theory.

Similarly, White House health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have changed their minds on masks, the herd immunity threshold, and many other topics. Their recommendations, projections, and forecasts routinely turn out to be less than reliable, but they suffer no formal reprisals. Social media moderators appear to be especially deferential to the mainstream media; examples of misinformation that speak to the media's bias against contrarian news sources are treated as critically important, while the government's own mistakes get a pass. The difficulty of evenly enforcing misinformation bans is probably a good reason for Big Tech to take a cautious approach; social media sites can avoid charges of hypocrisy by taking a broadly permissive view of what sort of content is allowed on their platforms.

Of course, that's a matter of personal preference: Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are private companies, and thus have every right to arbitrarily ban any user for any reason. But perhaps they should consider whether banning Berenson actually serves the goal of undermining misinformation. After all, Berenson is currently trying to monetize his suspension, and is calling on his admirers to subscribe to his Substack, which costs $6 per month. (His Twitter feed was free.) Make an idea seem dangerous and forbidden, and some people will pay money to hear it.

There's every reason to believe Berenson is actively trying to profit from martyrdom. When I briefly engaged with him during a television appearance, he claimed that he was a victim of cancel culture because The New York Times had declined to review his latest novel. This is a person who thrives off the idea that he's a brave truth-teller being unfairly denied a megaphone. I say let Berenson spout his nonsense. It's less seductive when it's out in the open—and it earns him less money.

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  1. With the ways that the numbers have been played with due to politics, I’m not saying that he’s right, but, who’s to say he’s wrong?

    1. Robbie is now a self proclaimed “expert”, capable of telling if someone is “wrong” or not.

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      1. just like after the election – shutupshutupshutup!

        Don’t question the narrative because that means uncomfortable things.

    2. Remember, Robby Soave, who majored in English and European history is to be trusted.

      Robby is to be trusted because he has many links to proggy articles, written by other English and European History majors who are summarizing SCIENCE! ™. That is evidence of his smarts. That is evidence of the truths of his statements.

      I don’t know if this Alex person is better on the science than Robby, but I can tell you that this only matters because people believe the right SCIENCE! ™ can legitimize the forfeiting of our freedoms.

      Nobody has a moral obligation (whether mandated or not) to protect others from a natural pathogen. You should review all the science you want- from Robby or Alex- and decide what works for you and your unique risk profile. But the idea that declining to jab yourself with chemicals is anything that the rest of the country should care about, or judge you over, is anti-libertarian bullshit.

      If Robby, and Boehm, and Sullum and other SCIENCE! ™ explainers had any sense, they would realize that the second they started fighting about facts, the war for freedom had already been lost.

      1. They didn’t lose – they’re on the anti freedom side.

      2. On topic: Couldn’t agree more.

        Side Bar: I’ll take the guy from Michigan (Soave) over Yale (Berenson) any day when neither has a degree in biology. Hell, I’ll take the community college drop-out over Yale.

        1. So you’ll take the guy who’s supporting the collectivist, corporate media, institutional narrative, despite its inconsistencies and sub 50% record for accuracy over the past 18 months, over the guy who’s who’s been correct more often than incorrect over that same time frame.

          Totes “great” notion there, guy.
          Yikes.

          1. “terrible side effect profile!” is right, eh? What a bunch of sissies most of you whiners here are. “Heavens to Betsy! My 2nd cousin twice removed got the sniffles for 3 whole days after the vax, and 1 in every 1000 people over 80 with 5 comorbitities who gets the vax might die!” Vs 1 in 5 who die if they don’t get vaxed will inevitably catch Covid someday.

            This Berenson guy sounds like a buffoon. You know one benefit of science? The ability to accurately assess risk, and see through confirmation biases, like yours. Your head’s so far in the sand you’ve got grains tickling your taint.

            1. I think a good over/under for the IQ of our newest DNC bot is… 82.5

              We’re now open for wagers

              1. Hmm, whatdaya work for Vegas? Low end of the “low average” range is a pretty good number, but a range that big makes a push unlikely. It does use decent enough English, so it would be tough to go with the “borderline” range. I’d go over, but still below 90.

            2. Are you trying to say that 20% of unvaccinated people that catch covid are going to die?

              1. That’s the way I read it. And it’s absurd. Just more fear mongering. This is the current Worldometer numbers.

                Deaths:
                656,482
                Recovered:
                30,945,115
                Which is 2.12% mortality rate. And this doesn’t count the millions who have had it and were asymptomatic, which would lower the mortality rate.

      3. I can believe that Alex Berenson has been extremely wrong about the pandemic. My problem is that I’ve lost any faith in the people who are countering him. For instance, Robby claims he “vastly” underestimated the COVID-19 death toll. I wanted to know how badly he underestimated it. He responded to a CDC report that said COVID-19 deaths would reach 500,000 people by the start of spring, saying that it was extremely unlikely. At the start of spring, the number of COVID-19 deaths were about 525,000. Is that “vastly” underestimating it? Does the adverb help Robby’s case, or is that type of editorializing an attempt to mislead. I don’t know, and that doesn’t even addressed a long-running concern about the way deaths have been potentially overcounted.

        I then went over to the article in The Atlantic, which supposedly thoroughly debunked him. They took his claim that cloth and surgical masks don’t protect against Covid-19, and posted three different studies that “disprove” it. So I went to read those studies, they’re inconclusive in many ways. In previous pandemics they’ve found very limited efficacy if they weren’t combined with other measure like extensive hand-and-surface sanitation practices. In order to talk about the current pandemic, they compared countries that were quick to promote mask usage-like South Korea and Japan and Singapore-and compared the mortality rate after their outbreak to the mortality of other nations. But focusing on single factor of mask usage ignores other factors, like limited available for testing in the early days, meaning many COVID deaths might have gone unreported in those countries, as well as their ability to quarantine. Plus, one of the three studies they linked was specifically talking about medical-grade N95 and KN95 masks and said it could not vouch for the efficacy of home-made masks, despite the fact that this article was supposedly a rebuttal to his specific claim of cloth masks.

        I can believe he’s spread a lot of misinformation about the vaccines, specifically-the cited claims in the Atlantic article do seem rather sketchy, if he actually said those things; like implementation of vaccines causing numbers to spike in different countries. But there are some narratives that people are so attached to that I can’t trust anyone to report honestly on them, and when I try to dig into the information, I find fucking scientific studies where the conclusion written in the abstract doesn’t seem supported by the actual text of the study.

        And this is me becoming skeptical not by reading the stuff written by “The pandemic’s wrongest man,” but by reading the very article that was supposed to thoroughly debunk him. Is it shocking, then, that people are skeptical when presented with any claim form the media these days?

        1. “n order to talk about the current pandemic, they compared countries that were quick to promote mask usage-like South Korea and Japan and Singapore-and compared the mortality rate after their outbreak to the mortality of other nations.”

          Any time someone tries to compare the US to these other countries, you know they are stealing a base. The United States is not an island. It has over 300 international airports. South Korea, the only non-island might as well be an island since its only border to land is sealed.

          The idea that mask mandates have anything to do with discrepancies between the US and these tiny nations is insanity. Pure. Insanity.

          1. It’s especially telling because they mentioned Czechia as a nation that also instituted a mask mandate, and said, “Well our correlative data is much stronger when we don’t include it along with Hong Kong and South Korea and Japan,” so they claim that they were slower to promote mask usage compared to the Asian nations.

            It would be nice if media sources could do the public a favor and actually aggregate this information for the readers. Sure, the Atlantic article is light reading that takes less than ten minutes, but they link a study as evidence for their claim. So if I want to learn, I have to click over to that link, which is not light reading, read the study carefully. But then THAT study also is using, as part of its dataset, the conclusions taken from another study, so while I’m reading that, in order to learn what that other study is really saying, I need to click over to THAT link. Then I have to go down and read their methodology where they used a simple binary of “mask usage promoted” versus “mask usage not promoted” in the early days of the outbreak. I read on to learn how they tried to isolate other factors but can’t when you’re talking about a single pandemic and are including South Korea as a datapoint where they had massive contact tracing and complete isolation.

            So just getting through a couple of paragraphs and seeing what the information actually IS requires me clicking to external links, reading those links carefully, having to click additional links, and the article becomes a 2-hour long read. Their goal is not to connect you to a lot of information. They will use three links just to support one claim of mask usage to make it seem like there’s vast support for the claim even when their link is talking about specifically N95 masks and says nothing about cloth masks. They’re gambling that people will see a lot of links and not even bother checking beyond a quick click that shows you the headline, in order to strengthen their argument.

            It would be a great convenience if the people whose job it is to follow this sort of information would simply aggregate this information and report honestly about the findings, warts and all, because I don’t have 2+ hours to dedicate to reading every single story that might be informative to me. Nobody does, and you’d think the purpose of the media would be to summarize this; they have the time to go through it because it’s their job, whereas people who just want to be informed need smaller and more digestible chunks.

            1. Good for you, and unfortunately, you have to follow the data trail. Don’t rely on anyone to accurately summarize.
              you would be astounded how many studies across all fields of inquiry are a) bogus crap, and b) deliberately misused or misstated

            2. “It would be a great convenience if the people whose job it is to follow this sort of information would simply aggregate this information and report honestly about the findings, warts and all, because I don’t have 2+ hours to dedicate to reading every single story that might be informative to me. Nobody does, and you’d think the purpose of the media would be to summarize this; they have the time to go through it because it’s their job, whereas people who just want to be informed need smaller and more digestible chunks.”

              Well said!
              That used to be called JOURNALISM, where the writer’s job was to make the TRUTH accessible to the reader in a supported and transparent way. Nowadays, “journalism” is really just an art form of PROPAGANDA The mission is to persuade and confound the reader rather than to enlighten.

              A case in point is this smear piece against Berenson which is FULL of so many unsupported personal attacks rather than factual analysis as to qualify it as just more LSM BULLSHIT!

            3. I know I seem like an autist, but this is the reason I continue to argue that the science doesn’t matter when you are talking about the rules that the government ought to be making. If you are arguing about scientific studies, you are generally making cost-benefit analyses and I can guarantee you that 99% of the time, that analysis is “How much freedom are we going to take from you to reduce risk to some stranger”.

              And that will always be subject to a bunch of scientists with agendas putting out research to be summarized by journalists with agendas and then linked to by politicians and journalists with agendas. The answer is to decide the moral case, not the facts, at the national level. Scientific studies are important for making your own personal choices, nothing else.

              1. That’s part of my problem too, I’ve become really sensitive to the “agenda,” in any story. Even articles coming from a perspective I largely agree with, as soon as the agenda in the story asserts itself, reading becomes painful and I just don’t finish stories. Some of it is the typical pandemic if just wanting to scan the headline and draw a conclusion-that sort of laziness-but it’s really my concern that I’m being fed a pile of bullshit.

                Maybe that’s partly me making excuses for why I’m not as informed about current events as I used to be, but it’s also just pointing out the struggle. The bias in any story is so obvious-right wing, left wing, enlightened centrist, all I see is the agenda. I’ve become very static and almost immune to absorbing new information because I can see what idea the most basic facts are being used to promote. I don’t know what the solution is.

                1. I figured out a good formula for reading news a few years ago, around 2014 and the various global events popping off at the time.

                  Scan articles for bare facts: who, where, when, what (you know, the basics of reporting) and ignore all opinions, including why, or emotive language. Then put those bare facts together and come to your own conclusions based on what makes the most sense. Use logic, and try to see the logic from the perspective of the subjects and author of the article.

                  I remember a story about “Russia’s increased hostility could lead to war” or something around 2015. This article is trying to tell me that Russia is a villain, irrationally aggressive, and the US would be justified to defend itself in the context of a (fairly routine, though the intent was to obscure that) US destroyer being buzzed by Russian jets.
                  How terrible! The Russians want to go to war vs the US! That’s the language used in the article, but what’s the real story?
                  Who: US Navy ship, Russian fighter jets
                  What: Russian fighters fly past US destroyer within 100 yards or so (don’t remember distance, but apparently bordering on invasion of personal space – put a pin in that)
                  When: daytime
                  Where: (here’s where the real story is revealed) Black Sea, 12-15 miles off the coast of Russia
                  The article is trying to tell me Russia is being its usual belligerent self, trying to bully the entirely innocent US of A, but the facts paint a different picture: a US warship sailing right up to Russia’s borders, with Russia responding like any animal by demonstrating it is aware of the warships presence, showing it has the ability to defend itself, and sending the message to back off.

                  It’s enlightening when you start reading the news this way, putting facts together to discover the logical equation to reveal the real story.

                  I’d use this article as an example, but I’m not going to read it and others have covered that ground rather well.

              2. Overt, you’re 100% correct there

              3. “Scientific studies are important for making your own personal choices”

                This. Politicians say the Science will guide their decision making, but the Science can’t make any decisions. It just is. Humans have to interpret the science and then make decisions. Right now the mainstream treats the “science” as something that says “oh, science says someone will die, or someone will be saved, hence authoritarian measures are justified because science,” which is not science, its just an excuse.

            4. A good bullshit filter saves a lot of the research into questions best left rationally ignorant.

              As far as digestible chunks of truthiness go, Peter Pomerantsev wrote in Inside Putin’s Information War

              The aim is to confuse rather than convince, to trash the information space so the audience gives up looking for any truth amid the chaos.

        2. The experts initially predicted 4 million american deaths the first year alone.

        3. Some good points, but for context, he was very confident stating and restating that there wouldn’t be 250k deaths over the 5 months until spring (on October 24th), and there were that many death by February 26th, so basically 4 months, which is an error of more than 20%, even if we gave him all the way up until 500k (and anyone who was confident that we wouldn’t reach 500k is obv thinking they’d be more than a single death below that). Doesn’t change the fact that deaths were likely overcounted, but we all knew the score with that by October anyway.

          1. the number of deaths at national or international or global levels produced by this thing cannot justify any of the mandatory measures (so far) to quell it. When it gets to Chairman Mao levels, wake me up. When it passes collectivists records I’ll make some popcorn. It would need to get 10 times worse before it even began to become significant enough to tell someone he can’t make a living or collect on his contracts.

            First, it is a drop in the bucket.

            Second, the other 7.9999 billion people on the planet deserve better than having their lives and fortunes suffer for anyone else’s self. It would be great if they did it voluntarily, but asking for it is out of line, a breach of contract, and an aggresion.

            Third, Humans don’t need science to decide what to do. When there is a threat they naturally huddle in smaller groups and exclude strangers, often forcefully. The problem is when they are told there is a panic situation and they can’t see evidence of the threat. If everyone around you is dropping dead (black plague) you take whatever is happening seriously. But, when like now, there are few people actually impacted and no bodies stacked up like cordwood, and politicians and press lying publicly and shamelessly, and the threat, the preventatives, and the cure mutating depending on Gallop…. Well, humans know what to do then, too.

            1. Its kind of a mark of how far we have come in a way. We live really long, really good lives, and view them as utterly precious. Not saying it makes any sense.

          2. Well, he wasn’t yet on board with the seasonality theorists who knew the winter wave was going to wash over the country.

            Probably because the ‘experts’ denied that it existed and still don’t talk about it.

            1. Seasonality? That’s crazy talk!

              /s

          3. German doctor has estimated covid deaths, at least in Germany, are only 20% of the official figure.
            That is, 80% of deaths attributed to covid have been due to entirely different causes.

        4. The studies claiming mask effectiveness seem to be high level observational studies that are really studying mask mandates and not actual masks. Any statistician/economist will tell you that when trying to isolate an effect of one variable, you have to control for other variables that could be contributing to the same effect. Mask mandates influence people to change their behavior (choose to interact with fewer people), which can reduce viral transmission.

          This site has some good info. They have been labled by Wiki as a “propaganda” website, however, they link to CDC et al articles and studies cited by those kind of organizations. So how it is fake news propaganda is beyond me.

          It summaries many studies and discusses them and comes to the following conclusion:

          “Face masks in the general population might be effective, at least in some circumstances, but there is currently little to no evidence supporting this proposition. If the coronavirus is indeed transmitted via indoor aerosols, face masks are unlikely to be protective. Health authorities should therefore not assume or suggest that face masks will reduce the rate or risk of infection.”

  2. Since the “science” seems to be pretty malleable relative to the way the political winds are blowing, any censorship is a mistake.

  3. So much Covid misinformation in one post. Though the best part is when Robby called his tweet crankery then immediately follows “while it is true…”

    1. The tweet didn’t contain any information that was false. The subjective part of his tweet may have been exaggerated (and I honestly don’t know if it is), but that tweet was not crankery. If that’s the best Robbie has got, then I know who’s the crank here.

      1. I was saying Robbies post was misinformation.

        1. Understood. I was agreeing with you, just wasn’t clear.

    2. It’s beyond gaslighting for a manchild who got COVID after vaccination to declare that it’s crankery to note that vaccination doesn’t render one immune to COVID. That is just insane.

      1. It vastly reduces the chance of getting it. It doesn’t eliminate the chance entirely. Soave was unlucky but correct that the vaccine is highly effective. Beer son was highly misleading in claiming that it doesn’t prevent infection.

        Most of the world works stochastically, but peoples brains are evolved to think categorically. So they can’t get their minds around the idea that a vaccine might drastically improve ones chances without being an ironclad guarantee. Instead, they can only entertain two choices – it works or it doesn’t work. Charlatans like Berenson thrive off this ignorance.

        1. I believe the rabble fully understand the narrative, what I think they don’t understand is why is everyone panicking over THIS flu. And they don’t feel a need to panic.

          If you skeered, say you skeered and stay home. No-one else is obliged to poke out their eyes because someone is blind, or to cripple themselves so a differently abled person most impacted doesn’t feel different. Not everyone is going to make it, and not everyone should.

          It’s the obligation stupid! You have no right to ask, nor was that power passed on to the federal bureaucracy.

          1. Another example of unhelpful binary thinking. Just because Covid is a serious public health does not mean all interventions are effective or worth the cost to impose. You can argue against lockdowns, mask mandates and vaccine mandates without making absurd statements like that the risks of vaccine side effects outweigh risks of getting Covid.

            1. Considering I’ve already had covid, I can pretty certainly say that any risks of side effects outweigh risks of getting it.

              1. Do you speak for everyone that gets Covid? I didn’t think so.

                1. What a stupid question. And a childish answer.

                  At least you created an example of unhelpful binary thinking you un-ironically just complained about, and earned your fifty cents.

            2. I neither engaged in binary thinking or the effectiveness of a vaccine. Maintain your narrative and keep the focus on what you want to talk about.

        2. Except propagandists like you were originally pushing the notion that vaccines were 95% effective in preventing infection. It’s only in the last few weeks that the line has changed to reducing severity of infection.
          As has become typical, instead of simply admitting your original expectation and selling point were wrong/mistaken, you now lie and say that vaccines were never intended, nor advertised, to stop infection.

          1. Yeah that was with the earlier variant and also efficacy is clearly declining several months after the shot. And as I said it’s not a binary where you are either 100% protected or not at all.

            1. So the experts didn’t expect any variants?

              Now the rest of us must ask ourselves: do you enjoy being lied to by your betters and suffer cognitive dissonance, or are you just lying?

              1. ^this..

        3. Most of the world works stochastically, but peoples brains are evolved to think categorically.

          “Categorical thinkers are dumb and haven’t transcended evolution the way I have. There are only two categories of data. The nuanced, complicated, and correct (but, by definition, poorly predictive) way that I think and the other kind of data.”

          What a fucking dumbass. What did it feel like going through school getting your ass kicked by the bullies, nerds, and (wait for it… a third ‘category’) everyone in between?

          1. I mean, shit, you’re kicking your own ass with that “There are two kinds of people; those who understand logic and mathematical reasoning and me.” comment.

  4. Robby maybe you and Alex can have a debate about Covid. He has an open challenge to the “wrongest man” crowd?

    He got suspended because he question ed the efficacy of the vaccine based on recent data especially from heavily vaccinated Israel.

    So what do you say. Is 85% vaccinated Israel having a surge strictly based on the unvaccinated? Data says no.

    1. If you read this and conclude that you’d rather not be vaccinated, then you’re simply not very smart.

      https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/08/20/1029628471/highly-vaccinated-israel-is-seeing-a-dramatic-surge-in-new-covid-cases-heres-why

      The good news is that among Israel’s serious infections on Thursday of this week, according to Health Ministry data, the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people over age 60 (178.7 per 100,000) was nine times more than the rate among fully vaccinated people of the same age category, and the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people in the under-60 crowd (3.2 per 100,000) was a little more than double the rate among vaccinated people in that age bracket.

      The bad news, doctors say, is that half of Israel’s seriously ill patients who are currently hospitalized were fully vaccinated at least five months ago. Most of them are over 60 years old and have comorbidities. The seriously ill patients who are unvaccinated are mostly young, healthy people whose condition deteriorated quickly.

      Israel’s daily average number of infections has nearly doubled in the past two weeks and has increased around tenfold since mid-July, approaching the numbers during Israel’s peak in the winter. Deaths increased from five in June to at least 248 so far this month. Health officials say that currently 600 seriously ill patients are hospitalized, and they warn they cannot handle more than 1,000 serious infections at the same time.

      1. I conclude that like our present flu vaccine the Covid vaccine efficacy is in the 30% range. Take it or leave it. The disease for those under 70 has a 99% plus survival rate. Once again process the information and make your own decision.
        This flu like every other in history. It mutates to a less lethal variant.
        Nothing we can really do about
        So they’re lying to us. I’m shocked!! That has never happened before. And to make sure no one knows about it lets cancel anyone who says something contrary to The Ministry of Health’s proclamations

        1. Once again process the information and make your own decision.
          NOT ALLOWED!

        2. Once again process the information and make your own decision.

          I dunno… that sounds like a lot of work…

          Can’t I just blindly follow orders from our totally benevolent and not-ever-wrong-in-any-way government?

        3. I think what’s happening is the vaccines are wearing off. Like how flu vaccines need boosters every year. The vaccines do work – but only for five months or so.

          Covid will be endemic but it will also be more deadly than flu. Viruses don’t necessarily evolve to be less lethal; just look at smallpox. If people do get vaccinated and get regular boosters, however, this will dampen natural virulence.

      2. Bubba, if you’re particularly vulnerable or just a coward, get your shots (however many they may be), and then shut the fuck up – because you look like a complete idiot criticizing the intelligence of people who understand they’re 99.999% safe from a virus, that they may have even acquired immunity to already, and don’t need to be a test subject for big pharma just because Daddy Gov and irrational, servile hysterics like you demand it.

      3. You have no problem with these two paragraphs being side by side like that?
        The good news is that among Israel’s serious infections on Thursday of this week, according to Health Ministry data, the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people over age 60 (178.7 per 100,000) was nine times more than the rate among fully vaccinated people of the same age category, and the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people in the under-60 crowd (3.2 per 100,000) was a little more than double the rate among vaccinated people in that age bracket.

        and

        The bad news, doctors say, is that half of Israel’s seriously ill patients who are currently hospitalized were fully vaccinated at least five months ago. Most of them are over 60 years old and have comorbidities. The seriously ill patients who are unvaccinated are mostly young, healthy people whose condition deteriorated quickly.

        I bet you also ‘believe’ that 2+2 CAN equal 5

        1. There is no problem with these two paragraphs being side by side like that because Bayes’ rule is a thing. Both those things can be true when the probability of being fully vaccinated is much higher than not being vaccinated.

          Note that the first paragraph describes conditional probabilities where the vaccination status is known and then determining the probability (rate) of serious illness with that knowledge. The second is the reverse, where serious illness is the known condition and it is describing the probability of being vaccinated or not. These are not the same thing, and are often very different.

          For example, let’s say that you will get seriously ill with the recently-discovered Azathoth’s disease 95% of the time if you are unvaccinated for it and contract the disease and 5% of the time if you did get vaccinated for it and contract it. If we know that only 5% of people are unvaccinated, what is the probability that a person who tests positive is unvaccinated? Hypothetically, if we have 2000 people with the disease, 100 will be unvaccinated, and 95 of those will get seriously ill. Similarly, 1900 people will be vaccinated, and 95 of those will get seriously ill. In this scenario, half of all seriously ill patients with Azathoth’s disease will have been vaccinated, but the rate of serious illness amongst the unvaccinated is 19 times that of the vaccinated.

          1. Sorry, it should say, “If we know that only 5% of people are unvaccinated, what is the probability that a person who is seriously ill is vaccinated?”

  5. Before Covid, Berenson’s gig was 21st century “reefer madness” warning folks about the epidemic of cannibalistic psychosis that was rising in the wake of state legalization. Seriously, look it up if you don’t remember.

  6. He said nothing false. And his opinion about the jab being a therapeutic? You need a booster. So more true than false.

    1. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what vaccines do.

      Vaccines routinely need boosters.

      The math is pretty simple. In a population where vaccination is approximately 50%, the vaccinated account for only 1% of deaths.

      I’m in favor of banning anyone who can’t grasp the mathematical significance.

      1. So do vaccines typically need boosters with a matter of a few months?

        Usually its 5 years or so

        1. I get my tetanus booster on the regular . . . every TEN years.

          1. And, even then, the reason they’re hocking them is because you don’t generally need them.

            Tetanus requires a particular kind of wound, a particular kind of infection, and an excessive concentration of the toxin in order to be effective. The vaccine doesn’t prevent the wound, the infection, or the production of the toxin directly. The only reason we give them to kids is because they walk around barefoot in places they shouldn’t be, don’t recognize a/the infection, and/or are unable to communicate it.

          2. Tetanus vaccine does not prevent infection. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria, a variety of clostridia, that produces a toxin. The toxin is what causes the paralysis.

            So what tetanus vaccine does is create circulating antibodies to the toxin, that way you immune system binds, inactivates, and then destroys the toxin.

            Which means high circulating levels are necessary. Unlike many other vaccines.

            This is why tetanus vaccine requires three initial doses AND repeated boosters.

            Meanwhile there are plenty of viral vaccines that require NO booster.

            1. As I said above too, it’s a bit of a remnant of a bygone era. Half a century ago, a week between stepping on a rusty nail and seeing a doctor was routine if you even saw the doctor at all. The vaccine fights the toxin while your body fights the infection. Today, nails are zinc coated, no one steps on them, and virtually everyone who does can get a z-pak prescribed before the wound had closed.

        2. wrong plenty of vaccines require multiple injections over the course of months. We’re still testing the waters on this one.

          1. which ones?

            “still testing the waters on this one.”

            All the more reason to wait before getting it, no?

          2. Been around awhile and travelled internationally so I consider myself very vaccinated overall. Never have encountered a once every few months frequency for anything.

            1. The new 50-center is opinionated, ignorant, and never right. More or less the typical troll.

          3. “We’re still testing the waters on this one.”

            So you are saying that FDA approval was premature…

            ANTI-VAXXER!!!!!!

      2. Vaccines routinely need boosters.

        Is there a vaccine prior to 2021 that needed a booster every five months?

      3. The cdc is now discussing a booster every 5 months for something with a 99.5% survival rate. Fuck off.

      4. Except they make up a lot more than 1% of deaths. It was 15% of all hospitalized deaths in May when only 25% of the US was “fully vaccinated.” Then they stopped counting breakthrough cases so they can make the 99% bullshit claim (also, this number counts deaths and cases since Jan. So it is front loaded with a lot of cases when no one was vaccinated to make the number look better). But if you don’t believe me, you can look at the CDC’s own numbers.
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/cdc-breakthrough-infections/94390e3a-5e45-44a5-ac40-2744e4e25f2e/?_=1

        1. That was the hilarious part. The 99% unvaccinated death number was from Jan to early april when less than a third of the US was vaccinated.

        2. Then they stopped counting breakthrough cases so they can make the 99% bullshit claim (also, this number counts deaths and cases since Jan. So it is front loaded with a lot of cases when no one was vaccinated to make the number look better).

          They’ve also begun to load it on the backend with the “serious cases” distinction. A distinction (without symptoms? without hospitalization? with outpatient treatment?) they were obfuscating on the front end.

      5. “I’m in favor of banning anyone who can’t grasp the mathematical significance”

        So, you.
        Because you seem to be a fucking moron incapable of thinking for yourself.

      6. Bubba-

        One can look at the press on Moderna around 2016 or so and see the investment community was pretty unhappy that they had changed the focus of their mRNA technology from therapeutic drugs to vaccines. The reason given at the time for the switch is that they couldn’t advance anything from animal to human trials because of the bad side effect profile, and pivoted to vaccines as a target. They were quoted as figuring they could get around the side effect issues because most vaccines are only given one or two times.

        Now, without further clinical trials, they are going to increase the dosage they are giving people with boosters as often as every six months. It that leads to a fraction of the problems they had in their animal trials the number of people affected will be staggering.

        Here’s an article that discusses it:
        https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/10/the-story-of-mrna-how-a-once-dismissed-idea-became-a-leading-technology-in-the-covid-vaccine-race/

        From the article:
        “Moderna had to pivot. If repeated doses of mRNA were too toxic to test in human beings, the company would have to rely on something that takes only one or two injections to show an effect. Gradually, biotech’s self-proclaimed disruptor became a vaccines company, putting its experimental drugs on the back burner and talking up the potential of a field long considered a loss-leader by the drug industry.”

        1. Also from the article:

          “The problem, she knew, was that synthetic RNA was notoriously vulnerable to the body’s natural defenses, meaning it would likely be destroyed before reaching its target cells. And, worse, the resulting biological havoc might stir up an immune response that could make the therapy a health risk for some patients.”

          Which matches my understanding that the problem with mRNA based therapy has always been antigenicity of the agent.

          Which is potentially a good thing, if you are trying to use one to create a reliable immune response. Much less so when you are using one to repeatedly monkey wrench cellular metabolism into producing a therapeutic protein with another and different intended effect.

  7. PRIVATE COMPANY has fired a “customer” for being more trouble than he’s worth. Honestly, that’s far better than banning a topic or trying to police every single tweet.

    *shrug*

    1. “Bake the Cake” though right?

    2. Bubba, you are a terrible person and part of the problem.

    3. Berenson is not a customer. None of twitter’s users are customers, they are the product. The customer is the advertiser.

      1. So they discontinued a product line. Meh. When I heard the name Alex Berenson, I said: “Who?” Then when I found out about his “Reefer Madness,” I knew the man had shot his wad.

        1. Yet he’s been largely correct in calling out the branch covidians on their enormous amount of errors, lies, and misinterpretations.

        2. He’s nutty on the topic, but there is data showing that weed isn’t the harmless, beneficial panacea it’s made out to be. It ain’t krokodil or fentanyl, but using it isn’t without risk.

          1. Once it’s really legal i.e. at both Federal and State levels of Government, with despensories able to get financing and insurance without those businesses getting busted for “money laundering,” then we can know more about pot and take steps to reduce and even eliminate risks associated with the product. One possibility would be commercially available THC pills that could be injested without smoke.

    4. Poor fascist doesn’t seem to comprehend that they are banning a topic and policing every tweet, but just for one side of the argument. Fuck off you totalitarian lemming.

      1. Alex Berenson can spout his silliness on any number of other social media platforms and on his own blog and server. He is not being coercively stopped from expressing himself simply because Twitter won’t platform him. So fuck off back at ‘cha!

        1. That only holds true if he wasn’t somebody the administration “flagged for review of misinformation”.

          1. If this government flagging takes place across platforms, then this is definitely Government censorship, but I didn’t see anything mentioned of that here.

            1. The government telling one platform to censor certain people on their behalf is not government censorship?

            2. If they’ve done it with others, it’s not outside the realm of possibility here. But no, there’s no hard evidence either way.

  8. Robby, I hope you realized you just posted Covid misinformation yourself when you said “He has used his Twitter platform to peddle the absurd notion that vaccines might be causing severe illnesses and even deaths.”

    Vaccines HAVE caused both. Sure, they’re relatively rare statistically, but there are tens of thousands of cases worldwide where people die within days of vaccination. We have recorded footage of people dying INSTANTLY after receiving their doses.

    The whole point (and the libertarian PoV) on the issue is that there is a risk whether you choose to get vaccinated or not. I am vaccinated, did it back in April as soon as my age group was available. That’s the thing though, I CHOSE to take the vaccine. If anything bad happened to me, I took the risk and I handle the consequences. As a young man I’m in an elevated risk group for developing myocarditis as a result of both Covid and/or the vaccines.

    If I was mandated/threatened to take the vaccine, that choice is taken away from me. I wouldn’t be allowed to assess the costs and benefits.

    It is horrifying how easily we have allowed tyranny to take such an important choice away from people. So much for “my body, my choice.”

    Seeing as the mandates are inevitable, I sure hope victims of vaccine mandates will have recourse. How would you feel if someone you loved had an adverse reaction because they weren’t allowed to make their own medical decisions?

    Someone could reasonably conclude that the steps they took to avoid getting Covid are adequate and that a vaccine is an unnecessary risk. Can you blame them? I followed CDC guidance, plus I have good hygiene, I live in a low risk area, minimized exposure (still do), etc. If I decide I’ll be fine doing this, who is the government to say otherwise?

    The actual rhetoric and logic is stupid anyways. Anti-vaxxers say “there’s a 99.997% chance I’ll survive” and then freak out over a .003% chance the vaccine will negatively affect them. It’s mostly stupid people talking about something out of their depth. That’s where the elitism and tyranny comes from. Those in power condescend to those less intelligent than them and think they need to make decisions on their behalf. The way we frame them as being less intelligent is part of the problem too. Noticed yet how PhDs make up the single largest category of vaccine hesitant individuals? Funny how that works.

    1. Heart inflammation is not rare statistically. The cdc has begrudgingly admitted the link. This year there is an increase of heart issues in the population. There is no direct link but the evidence is there.

      1. That’s yet another reason the libertarian position is and should remain anti mandate. Rare is not an objective measure. Risk tolerance is different for everyone. I consider the number of cases to be rare, all things considered. Like you said, maybe it isn’t. I’m not sure what constitutes rare.

        1. Not even anti-mandate.

          Libertarians should be very clear that no one is morally obligated (whether mandated or not) to stick chemicals in their arm to protect someone else. I don’t “owe” anyone my body as a shield against a virus. If my vaccination has the benefit of making their risk of contracting a virus lower, then they can thank me for it.

          Expecting someone to shoot themselves up to protect us from a virus is like expecting someone to become a fire fighter to protect them from forest fires. It is a morally repugnant idea.

          1. ^now, if you could just write for Reason 😉

    2. Australia is building concentration camps.

      This really should be a bigger deal.

  9. Yeah dude. The wrongest. Like when he said there’s no real evidence masks are effective early in the pandemic. What sort of asshole would… oh. Wait:

    https://reason.com/2021/08/25/the-evidence-supporting-mask-mandates-in-schools-is-weaker-than-biden-pretends/

    OK. But that other time he had questions about the lab leak thing and he turned out to be… OK. But beyond that, his early warnings about breakthrough cases and vaccine efficacy in Israel were surely beyond the pale. Which is why they are totally back to normal and not mandating a third shot of the miracle vaccine, or else.

    Yeah. Wrongest. I think I will just stick with the CDC. Why would they lie?

    Seriously Robby. Are you suggesting he’s wronger than Walensky? Or Fauci? I mean, I am old enough to remember when the vaccines came out and we were told they were 100 percent effective against serious illness and deaths.

    They aren’t.

    1. And 99.5% effective in preventing infection.

      1. This. The direction breakthrough cases are headed says these things are not particularly effective at preventing illness.

    2. “We need two weeks to flatten the curve”.

  10. Let’s break down his final, cranky Tweet:

    “It doesn’t top infection”—CORRECT (anecdotally, for instance, everyone I know who has had COVID in the past three months is vaccinated. Multiply my experience by tens of thousands, maybe more?)

    “It doesn’t stop transmission”—if this so-called surge is any indication, this is CORRECT

    “Don’t think of it as a vaccine, but a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy”—this is also proving to be CORRECT, as witness the current pushing of boosters.

    “Terrible side effect profile”—in SOME cases. Not enough data yet, but check out the FDA press release for info on what they are requiring of Pfizer in this regard.

    “And we want to mandate it? Insanity”—CORRECT. Forcing people into a medical procedure is unethical

    1. You’re full of shit.

      1. And you have yet to make any kind of cogent comment on this thread. Fuck off, slaver.

      2. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of evidence to back up why renad is wrong.

      3. Currently wondering what’s the point of this post, unless you get paid by the post.

        1. Yes. We got two new fifty centers for this article. Seems the Covid stories seem to bring out most of them.

      4. @in-cuntis-credimus: renad’s potential bowel backup is not relevant to the thread. Perhaps you could enlighten us on detailing out the issues with his post, or, as others have stated, “fuck off slaver” seems the correct response.

  11. Robbie trying to cover for his earlier Berenson takes?

    1. even though Berenson is indeed a serial spewer of misinformation.

      Guess not.

    2. Robby’s taking a victory lap. He’s knocking Berenson down by offering to help him up.

  12. …whom he quite reasonably dubs “the pandemic’s wrongest man”…

    Was Niel Ferguson’s award vacated due to some transgression?

    1. I was going to ask whose prediction about the COVID death toll was more accurate…

      And why is only one of those statements considered misinformation?

  13. Twitter has rules, published in advance, that Berenson repeatedly broke. No sympathy. There are numerous other outlets that Berenson can peddle his nonsense to. He has the right to free speech, but his right does not compel us to provide him a microphone.

    1. No, they don’t. Twitter did not cite a specific rule, they just deemed it misinformation. They do not justify their claims of misinformation. You are wrong and defending censorship.

    2. If it’s nonsense to you, you might be a complete tool who has no value and little intellect.

    3. Forrest and trees my dude. A society that completely disrespects free speech in private settings cannot and will not defend it in public ones.

      Very few people are suggesting that Twitter should be government regulated and subject to 1A. You’re just running interference for their criticism. Most people who critique Twitter are saying something like this:

      ‘Fuck you, un-American pieces of shit. I’m going elsewhere and it’s sad because outside of your Communist regulatory capture, the service itself is decent and could be better.’

      1. So what’s all this talk about making social media platforms into public utilities? What’s this from Josh Hawley wanting to ban “replay” buttons on video services? (Does he think the “buffering” symbol is a plot to hypnotize YoiTube viewers?)

        “Mister Vercotti, what’s this provision in my contract about filling my head up with cement?”

        1. Hawley doesn’t have many allies and almost everyone in Congress makes an ass out of themselves at some point when they to to address technology issues. Most of them are more incompetent than Apple boomers and I’m being generous.

          If you steer away from the insanity of political office and just talk to people in your friends, family and social groups, most people detest Twitter and media in general. Left or right, people are turning off TV news, avoiding everything on social media other than animal and baby photos, and keeping serious conversations behind closed doors.

          It doesn’t change the fact that the sense of revulsion people like Hawley feel towards private censorship is well intentioned. You SHOULD feel disgusted when private companies censor because the Constitution really is just a piece of paper. If people don’t believe it in, rules will be enforced regardless of what it says. Look at the eviction moratorium. Trump wanted it, Biden wanted it, Constitution be damned. Biden surprisingly admitted he knew it wasn’t legal, but did it anyways hoping it would work for a while before the system overturned it.

          The situation in this country is going to become very dire if that sort of political brinkmanship becomes the go-to for accomplishing anything in government.

  14. Has he been any more wrong than Fauci, Ferguson or many of our other public health clergy who’ve flipped positions numerous times and rarely relied on actual studies for their policy positions? It’s difficult to say he has, though I do think he’s off base on his vaccine stance and should have stayed on more solid footing opposing lockdowns.

  15. Reason has turned into such garbage over the past few years that at this point when they accuse someone of lying, I take that as an endorsement of his honesty.

    1. Reason hasn’t changed, you have. Stop believing that Trump bullshit and come back into the fold.

      1. Hey look, a bot with the simplest of programming defending a publication that is decreasingly veiled controlled (occasional) opposition.

        Totes convincing.

      2. Reason has absolutely changed and this is a garbage take by Robby.

      3. What was your old screen name from before?

  16. A silver lining is that Berenson stopped making false fearmongering claims about marijuana in newspaper editorials and television talk/news shows after the covid pandemic began.

    And during the spring and summer of 2020, Berenson appropriately criticized Fauci, CDC and other covid pornographers for some of their many fearmongering lies.

    1. Last night Berenson was on Fox News claiming Twitter banned him to prevent sales of his new novel.

      He’s gone from being totally wrong about marijuana, to being mostly correct about the Democrat’s covid lockdowns, to being an anti vaxxer, to trying to sell a novel based upon his covid related tv appearances the past 18 months.

      1. If it weren’t for covid vaccines, Dead & Company (the most recent evolution of the Grateful Dead, which is requiring vaccine cards or negative covid tests for admission) wouldn’t be playing their best music yet.

        Their first two songs (The Music Never Stopped and Easy Answers) from Saturday’s concert in Hershey) begin at 24 minutes at
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlSYacgaMJI

        Some of the best music I’ve ever heard.

        1. Gonna go way out on a limb and say it has more to do with certain people cleaning up their own act.

      2. He isn’t an anti-vaxxer, he is correctly stating the vaccine is more of a treatment than anything else at this point. The same thing the CDC is now saying.

  17. “He has used his Twitter platform to peddle the absurd notion that vaccines might be causing severe illnesses and even deaths.”

    The statement that this is an absurd notion is, itself, absurd. The vaccines have caused some side effects. Some of those side effects have been severe. I’m not aware of any deaths, but I haven’t spent a bunch of time looking for them.

    Statements like this are why there is no public trust anymore. Everyone knows, every vaccine has side effects for some people. Instead of saying, “THE VACCINES ARE TOTALLY SAFE AND YOU’RE STUPID AND PEDDLING MISINFORMATION,” be upfront and clear about what the known side effects are, and what the likelihood of experiencing them are, like every other fucking vaccine in the world.

    Just be honest for once. Instead of labeling questions or challenges as “misinformation,” answer the fucking question with some solid facts and data and then let people make their own choices. It’s not that fucking hard.

      1. Either the vaccine is 100% safe and effective, or there is no point in taking it at all. If you say it’s a good idea then you’re saying it’s 100% safe and effective, and you’re wrong. Just to prove it people who’ve been vaccinated have died of the disease. That means it’s a joke. It doesn’t work at all for anyone. It’s all a big lie being pushed by Democrats who want to take away our freedoms. Don’t you know anything?

        1. Glad to see you straight repeating the same fallacies as Jeff now.

          Of course we have to all be forced to take vaccines due to the low death rate right?

          1. Yeah, mocking illogical comments means I want forced vaccinations. You got me. Derp.

            1. Who here is saying what you claimed they are saying? Not even Berenson is anti-vaxx, he is anti-vax mandates. He is simply saying they aren’t as effective as advertized. Literally nobody is making this claim:

              Either the vaccine is 100% safe and effective, or there is no point in taking it at all.

              The only reason to create this strawman is to push for a mandate. So what is your reason for the strawman except to do so? I know individual choices aren’t your favorite, given how you’d ruin people’s dinners for not wanting the steak the way you prefer, but you are using a strawman for some reason. The only reason you would use that one is to push for mandates or to get people to do what you want.

              So please, elucidate us with your intention of pushing that fallacy.

              1. Let’s see. You accuse me of creating a strawman, create an elaborate strawman to explain my strawman, and then expect me to defend or respond to your strawman as if it’s an argument I made?

                You’re fucking mental.

                1. I didn’t accuse you of creating one, I showed you creating one dummy.

                  Again, this is from you:

                  Either the vaccine is 100% safe and effective, or there is no point in taking it at all.

                  That is a strawman argument. Are you in complete denial?? You’re broken. I literally quoted what you said in your first post.

        2. it doesn’t have to be 100 percent effective to be worth taking. That’s idiocy.

          but even if it is 100 percent effective, you still need to weigh the costs vs the benefits.

    1. No, the side effects are 1000 times rarer than dying from covid if you are unvaxxed. If you wanna take those odds then fucking take them but quit pulling bullshit out of your asshole. It is misinformation.

      1. 80% of people who died of covid were obese. A diet can be the most effective. Let’s force diets on everyone next.

        1. That’s fucking dumb. Most of the people who died were old people. We need to ban old people. Problem solved.

          1. It’s as dumb as your strawman above. You do know I was being facetious right? Or are you too stupid to realize that?

            1. You do know I was being facetious right? Or are you too stupid to realize that?

              Coming from a guy who takes every comment literally and tells people that they’re serious when they explain that they’re not, those are some pretty funny questions.

              1. So you were too stupid to realize it. Just say so dummy. Now can you admit the following is your strawman?

                Either the vaccine is 100% safe and effective, or there is no point in taking it at all.

      2. Unless of course you’ve already had COVID and recovered. In which case your risk of dying from COVID is smaller than your risk of having complications from the vaccine.

        Also, you numbers make the faulty assumption that you are guaranteed to catch COVID in the first place, which further reduces the risk of dying from it.

      3. Canis yours is misinformation too as you know we made all decisions on the percentage to specific groups (sarcasmic and jess both in this thread allude to that) so saying 1000 times rarer is not true and misinformation since you don’t specify groups.

        1. That’s basically what he just said.

          1. whoops, wrong place

  18. “The pandemic has minted a new class of terribly misguided pundits”

    A. To be sure
    B. Misguided pundits is a problem that needs addressing exactly why?

    Your concern over “misinformation” marks you as a lemming.

    1. You do realize that lemmings are not actually suicidal, right?

      1. You’ve become a mute candidate

      2. When someone talks about a bird in the hand you do realize there is no actual birds, or even a bush, don’t you?

        1. Hint: it’s an idiom.

          Look it up, you idiot.

          1. Colloquial metaphor FTW!

          2. And it’s based on a false premise about actual animal behavior. Also, a grown frog will jump out of a water pot regardless of the temperature. (On this, they are actually smarter than many humans.)

            1. I really hate to throw you for a loop. But lemming is also a term used to refer to actual human beings. It’s meaning is not limited to a specific rodent.

              lem·ming
              /ˈlemiNG/
              noun
              1. a small, short-tailed, thickset rodent related to the voles, found in the Arctic tundra.

              2. a person who unthinkingly joins a mass movement, especially a headlong rush to destruction.

              So your rigid spectrum act is even more of a fail than usual.

      3. You do realize he doesn’t accuse Robby of being suicidal, but of blindly following the herd to his own and everyone who is following him as part of the herd’s detriment.

        1. Lemming don’t jump off of cliffs as a herd instinct or out of desire for detriment, but out of a desire for better turf. The fact that some die in the course of doing so doesn’t make it suicidal.

  19. Just ask yourself the simple questions. If the vaccines were working, what would that look like in a country with 70%, 80%, 90% vaccination rate? What would it look like if they were not working?

  20. You know you’re living in interesting times when the fascists defend free speech and liberals are shutting it down.

    1. You know we’re living in “interesting times” when an ostensible opponent of censorship (although this Berenson case isn’t censorship) will also support hiring Afghan refugees to track down and “beat the shit out of libertarians.”

    2. You know you’re living in interesting times when the “fascists” defend free speech and “liberals” are shutting it down.

      FTFY.

      1. How do you figure scare quotes fix it? When people refer to themselves as fascists or liberals, I take them at their word. And these are the position taken by people who refer to themselves as fascists and liberals. No scare quotes needed.

    3. ^thread winner?

  21. “The pandemic’s wrongest man” can likely profit from martyrdom.

    I don’t know much about Berenson, but my understanding is he was banned for making a tweet that was essentially true- perhaps minus the ‘terrible side effects’ part of his statement.

    1. Half of the people I know who got the vaccine spent an average of 3 days sick in bed after the 2nd dose, and I know many. If that isn’t a terrible side effect profile, what would be? I don’t know of any other vaccine that is quite that bad for most people.

  22. Nobody here at koch reason should be taken seriously either.

    That said Twitter is a platform used by terrorists and far left fascists to promote dictatorship. Any use by anyone else is prohibited. It’s right there in the terms of service.

    But go ahead keep on defending amoral billionaires, trillion dollar companies, they won’t bother you right? Your platform and servers are all your own, of course.

  23. It’s a big web out there. He can just set his own blog up on his own server and release all the written diarrhea he wants. Twitter doesn’t want it on their site so that’s really all there is to this.

    1. @cuntis – now do Parler and onlyfans and backpage and….

      see a pattern?

      Not so big web out there when the masses do not call out twatter et al for such anti-American behavior…

      /side note: I feel like we are living the book “I am legend” and the “little l” libertarians are Neville. Guess who you are @cuntis?

  24. It’s one thing to oppose mandatory vaccination on the general principle that the government should not and cannot force people to undertake specific medical treatments. It’s another to cast doubt on vaccination itself because you think it doesn’t work, or is actively harmful. The former is perfectly appropriate; Berenson is doing the latter.

    It’s not enough to just not be racist in favor of vaccine mandates, we have to be actively anti-racist anti-vaccine.

    1. Very well played. That’s the impression I get of too many anti-vaxxers.

        1. That’s what bugs me – it’s like everyone has forgotten there are real anti-vaxxers out there, people like Jenny McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, Jr, who actively promote the idea that vaccines cause autism and you’re poisoning your children by getting them vaccinated. Calling people who (wisely, in my opinion) question whether the government knows half the shit they confidently claim to know about this novel coronavirus “anti-vaxxers” is as bad as calling Trump a literal Hitler. They’re not anti-vaxxers, they’re anti-government propaganda. And if you trust the government to not lie to you for their own purposes, you’re a fucking retard.

          1. There are people who honestly believe that if you don’t want something forced upon people by government, then you don’t want it done at all. So if you go out and get vaccinated, and encourage people to get vaccinated, but don’t want it mandated, then you don’t want anyone vaccinated at all.

            Then there are those on this board who see the words “getting vaccinated is a really good idea” and read “SARC AND JEFF WANT GOVERNMENT TO FORCE EVERYONE TO GET VACCINATED!!!! LOOK THEY SAID IT RIGHT THERE!!! AAUUGHHH!!!” They’re just dishonest assholes.

            1. You didn’t understand a word jerryskids wrote.

            2. Those people are literally you.

              See your post: Either the vaccine is 100% safe and effective, or there is no point in taking it at all. Again. Your words.

          2. When someone calls themselves Anti-Vaxxers, I take them at their word, whether they are Jenny McCarthy, Robert Kennedy, Jr., Alex Jones, or ‘Q’ or any number of needlessly dead Conservative talk-show hosts.

            And if people are going to accuse vaccines of causing Autism and Mercury Poisoning, sterilizing Muslims, creating mind control for Bill Gates’ benefit, or keeping us from winning the war, it’s just a short step to calling pro-Vaxxers child abusers and treating pharmacies like McMartin Day Care or The Branch Davidian “compound.”

            Sometimes a vaccine is just a vaccine.

            1. And stupidity that thinks it’s profound or insightful is still stupidity.

        2. Define anti-vaxxer.

          Can’t speak for The Encogitationer but in this context, I intend it to mean people who are very specifically “against” the COVID-19 vaccines. Not the people who say, “Nope, I’m not sure I trust it so I’m not taking it and I don’t want it mandated.”

          No, I’m talking about the people who say, “EHRMAGHERRD!!! The global elite shadow cabal is trying to depopulate the planet by pushing the not-a-vaccine which is full of microchips and deadly toxins, but is also somehow just a saline solution which is why it ‘doesn’t work’ and it’s going to cause Super Mutant COVID because I read the terms ‘leaky vaccine’ and ‘ADE’ somewhere and they sound really scary, so everyone who gets the jab is just a moron who’s going to die!!!”

          1. So the exceedingly tiny minority of people who object to the institutional narrative and vaccine activism.
            Also, notably non existent in the threads here.

            1. So the exceedingly tiny minority of people who object to the institutional narrative and vaccine activism.

              I think that covers both groups above. Specifically I mean the people who have to claim the vaccines are not only of questionable value (they probably are for a lot of people) but is actively and obviously dangerous (they are objectively not).

              Also, notably non existent in the threads here.

              Yes, but you’d be shocked how many there are out there in the wild.

          2. But they are all anti-vax, just to different degrees and perhaps with different vaccines and different psudeo-science.

            1. Wtf do you even think you’re talking about?

            2. But they are all anti-vax, just to different degrees and perhaps with different vaccines and different psudeo-science.

              Not really.

              I can say, “I don’t like to eat sushi, because I’m never sure of the quality of the fish.”

              And that is VERY different from saying, “DON’T EAT ANY FISH!! IT’S ALL FULL OF MERCURY AND THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING IT ON PURPOSE IN AN ATTEMPT TO KILL HALF THE POPULATION, MIND CONTROL THE REST AND MAKE THEM READY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ORDER-666! HOPE YOU LIKE BEING A MINDLESS DRONE WORKING IN THE SALT MINES YOU RUBE!”

    2. ” Berenson is doing the latter.”

      An observation presumably meant to imply that the latter is somehow inappropriate.

      Without actually explaining why it is so.

      Which, to be sure, makes Berenson seem all the better than his critics. Because whether he is right or he is wrong at least he is willing to be honest and upfront about his own position.

  25. “The pandemic’s wrongest man” can likely profit from martyrdom.

    Don’t care. Fauci should be burned at the stake.

  26. The reason the Westboro Baptist Church is a laughing stock isn’t because the media censored them. It’s because the media gave them a heavy coverage, and people came to see their ridiculous and awful beliefs. The best way to marginalize stupid voices is to give them a microphone and put a camera on them.

    Those who have a hard time understanding how this works trend towards the progressive. It’s a function of progressive contempt for average people. They think we’re stupid because we don’t believe everything they tell us, but believing what progressives say requires average people to be far stupider than they are.

    1. Being a progressive requires contempt for the average person, and being a conservative requires contempt everyone who isn’t a conservative.

      1. You probably get more shit than you deserve, but a comment like this certainly makes it seem like you relish the attention.

        1. Pretty sure he doesn’t get half the shit he deserves.

        2. You’re going to tell me that Ken doesn’t hold everyone who disagrees with his politics in contempt? That seems to be the general rule on these comments. Tow the TEAM RED line or be accused of being a progressive leftist. Libertarians? They don’t support TEAM RED without question, which means they support TEAM BLUE without question. It’s fucking stupid.

          1. So, you respond to their broad overgeneralizations with your own?

            1. Are you saying I’m wrong? If so, how?

              1. LOL. Keep digging. Oh wait, you’re the forever victim.

          2. You’re going to tell me that Ken doesn’t hold everyone who disagrees with his politics in contempt

            I’m going to tell you that Ken holds Progressives in contempt, and that he made no mention of the superiority (or lack thereof) of conservatives – in fact, his example of something losing popularity as its views were given greater airtime is a church with retrograde views on homosexuality.

            That you responded to this well-known position the way you did? It’s like you’re trying to get your fangirls shrieking. You might as well have mentioned peanuts, or wingnut.com.

          3. “You’re going to tell me that Ken doesn’t hold everyone who disagrees with his politics in contempt?”

            I’m going to tell you you are incapable of making an intellectually honest argument.

            Ken and I have disagreed from time to time. But when we have it has been substantive, and usually boiled down to a difference of opinion or prioritized value judgement. Because reasonable people can disagree without resorting to point scoring, rank dishonesty, or disruptive trolling.

          4. Yes, I think most everyone here would say that Ken doesn’t hold everyone who disagrees with his politics in contempt.

    2. The funny part is by banning the cranks as well as the average dissident to the preferred narrative they only leave the narrative to be dissected and mocked. I can’t compare Fauci’s lies to any other perspective and so mockery and lies within the narrative lead to distrust of the institutions being defended.

  27. “The pandemic’s wrongest man” is a pretty bold claim as long as Andrew Cuomo is still alive.

    1. Cuomo, Newsome… I’d mention Whitmer too but, apparently, Robby’s an anti-trans, anti-woman bigot.

  28. Twitter IS “misinformation”
    Having an account is a sign of mental instability, the inability to think for yourself.

  29. Ironically, the only person who has been consistent on vaccines from the beginning has been Donald Trump.

    Last year, when Trump claimed a vaccine would be ready by Christmas, the media found no shortage of doctors and scientists willing to say he was full of shit. That it normally takes 10-15 years to develop a vaccine, and even if some of the steps could be condensed we were still looking at a year and a half to 5 years before a vaccine could truly be proven safe and effective.

    Joe Biden and the Democrats were busy casting doubt as well, claiming that they wouldn’t trust a vaccine developed or approved under Trump’s administration.

    Then mysteriously, right after the election, the Democrats and the media made a 180-degree turn on vaccines and anyone who didn’t rush out to get the shot was a science-denying monster who wants to murder your grandmother.

    Meanwhile, Trump willingly and publicly got the vaccine, even though he had already had Covid and developed natural antibodies. And he has consistently encouraged people to get vaccinated every time the subject comes up, even after leaving office.

    1. A little mentioned part of this has been how some of our government “experts” seem to go out of their way to help Pfizer. For example, they are talking about approving a 6 month booster of the Pfizer shot in a few weeks when it is already shown to be much less effective against the current variant, let alone any new ones. Meanwhile, when results are released that show the Moderna shot MORE effective against the Delta variant, Fauci was quoted as disdainfully saying “it’s just one trial”.

      I wonder how much of this has to do with Pfizer waiting until a week AFTER the election to report the positive results of their trial (at a time they had 147 cases) , when the actual stated trial marker they were supposed to report at was 90 cases (a marker they hit weeks before the election but if announced would have given Trump a huge PR win)?

      1. Scott Gotlieb is on both the Pfizer board and Biden’s covid panel.
        And I believe he was head of the FDA just a year or two ago.

      2. Meanwhile, when results are released that show the Moderna shot MORE effective against the Delta variant, Fauci was quoted as disdainfully saying “it’s just one trial”.

        I thought Fauci was financially tied to Moderna, no?

  30. This tool that Berenson calls “a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy” makes dying of COVID-19 an exceedingly rare occurrence.

    Good thing dying of Covid was an exceedingly rare occurrence even before the vaccines came out. And it is precisely a therapeutic. Never in history have what these things are been called “vaccines”.

  31. My multi-decade support of “free minds and free markets” will continue but support of this outfit is sadly nearing an end. Anyone here know of a think tank that maintains support of free minds and free markets when it’s difficult (e.g. s when they are under direct government and societal attack?).

    1. Claremont institute?
      The one Victor Davis Hansen is part of is what I’m thinking

    2. The Statists have been probing for years. With each victory, they are emboldened. And haven’t they had a lot of victories since 9/11? Now they smell blood as whole communities cave to the fear. Supporting free minds and free markets will take more than a think tank soon, and I’d bet three to one that half the staff at Reason would be pointing, if just with a tilt of their noses, to the barn with the unvaccinated hiding in it.

    3. I’ve been a fan of the AIER

  32. Robby, and his defender socks, are just jealous Berenson steals all his thunder and gets more credit.

  33. …even though Berenson is indeed a serial spewer of misinformation.

    Today’s misinformation keeps turning out to be next year’s well-yeah-about-that-there-might-be-something-to-that.

    1. Conspiracy theory has become synonymous with spoiler alert

  34. Robby, you are better than this.
    “… the absurd notion that vaccines might be causing severe illnesses and even deaths.”

    What makes this an absurd claim? Are you saying no one has had a severe adverse reaction? It seems your claim is quite a bit more absurd then Berenson’s.

    1. Actually he’s not better than that.

      The simple fact is that every person who gets a dose must be monitored for at least 15 minutes afterwards due to the risk of adverse reaction. If the reactions were always and everywhere minor this would be unnecessary and wasteful.

      Ignorance has never been a bar to Rico shooting his mouth off.

      1. monitored for at least 15 minutes afterwards

        I believe this is medical SOP for any/most shots.

        1. You can believe that if you wish, but that does not make it a fact.

          Because it’s not a fact. e.g. Fifteen minutes of monitoring is not part of the manufacturer directions/protocol for trivalent influenza vaccine.

  35. Banning dissent is for cowards and those who can’t win the argument on the merits.

  36. This is hilarious. 8 paragraphs calling Berenson wrong, an idiot, and even trying to “profit off his martyrdom”. And then 3 paragraphs trying to defend free expression- with one of those split with the “private companies” clause.

    Mr Soave, when you spend 75% of an article attacking someone’s speech and then 25% of the article with a lame defense of free expression, people kind of figure out where your priorities really lie.

  37. In a few months the ‘experts’ will be forced to admit what Alex said and what we already know — the jab doesn’t stop transmission, so the bug will circulate through the population regardless of how many people are vaccinated.

    This is the last chance for them to push the jabs before the winter wave reveals the fact they’re basically worthless.

    1. Something like 90% of the people dying are the unvaccinated.

      Maybe science isn’t actually a conspiracy to oppress you.

      Fucking morons. What are you gonna do? Let them kill us all I guess.

  38. “Always trust government”– reason.con
    Seriously, reason, your source is NPR? Whose source is Fauci and the Lois Lerner of the CDC?
    Go Libertarians! Always trust government!!!!

  39. Your source is NPR? Whose source is Fauci and the CDC?
    Lol!
    Thanks for the laugh. I love that my libertarian(anarchist) betters refer me to reason.com who then refers me to the government. Hilarious!

  40. HERE IS WHAT THIS ARTICLE *SHOULD* HAVE REPORTED:
    The Israeli People’s Committee (IPC), a citizen-led group of Israeli health experts, has published its April report issuing an urgent warning that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine damages virtually every system in the body.

    Whilst most of the attention surrounding vaccines has been focused on the AstraZeneca jab, which is linked to deadly blood clots, the Pfizer injection is actually much more dangerous, based on the latest data.

    The IPC’s April report warns that being injected with the Pfizer vaccine could lead to catastrophic health issues, which has been evidenced by the countless Israeli lives that have been damaged by the jab.

    The report states: “Never has a vaccine injured so many! We recived 288 reports of deaths occuring in proximity to the vaccination (90% up to 10 days after the vaccination). 64% are men.”

    However, Israel’s Ministry of Health’s figures claims that only 45 deaths occurred in proximity to vaccination. As the report states, this “smokescreen”, lack of transparency and deception only leads to more deaths.

    If the figures contained within the IPPC report are valid, then more Israelis have died from the Pfizer jab than have Europeans from the AstraZeneca jab throughout the entirety of Europe.

    The report warns: “According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), during January-February 2021, in the midst of the vaccination operation, there was a 22% increase in overall mortality in Israel compared to the bi-monthly average mortality in the previous year.

    “In fact, the period of January-February 2021 is the deadliest one in the last decade, with the highest overall mortality rates, when compared to the corresponding months over the last 10 years.”

    https://rightsfreedoms.wordpress.com/2021/07/26/pfizer-covid-vaccines-destroy-every-system-of-the-human-body-warns-israeli-health-experts/

    1. What is the Israel People’s Committee? Why do they have more credibility than the American CDC?

  41. Porn is okay. Trans nonsense is okay. But questioning COVID policies? Not allowed!

    And the left called Trump an authoritarian.

  42. the author is drinking the koolaid. sounds like a covid nazi. talk about misinformed.

  43. The vaccines are a colossal failure.
    Maybe Reason should investigate the monumental conflict of interests among the ‘science’ class.
    All a bunch of corrupted hacks and quacks.

    1. Almost all current Covid-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated. You don’t know what you’re talking about. For the sake of your family, don’t you think you ought to be really sure you know what you’re talking about?

  44. Berenson sourced and cited every single one of his claims.

  45. Rich headline coming from Robby who is consistently wrong on the pandemic.

  46. It doesn’t stop infection.
    Or transmission.
    Don’t think of it as a vaccine
    Think of it-at best-as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS.

    All of that is correct.

  47. We’ve been lied to from the beginning. What counts as a covid death? Dying with the China Virus is not the same as dying from it. If the proximate cause is anything other than Covid it is not a Covid death.

    1. “I just want to be clear in terms of the definition of people dying of COVID. The case definition is very simplistic. It means at the time of death it was a COVID positive diagnosis. So, that means that if you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means that if technically even if you died of a clear alternate cause but you had COVID at the same time it’s still listed as a COVID death. Everyone who is listed as a COVID death—that doesn’t mean it was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of the death.”

      Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, admitting that COVID deaths are being grossly overcounted.

      https://www.facebook.com/annie.vereen/videos/3179971522027747/?t=0

    2. Everyone dies from lack of oxygen to the brain. The virus doesn’t actually want to kill you. It doesn’t want anything. It’s a virus. You’ll die because you’re fat and eat cheeseburgers for every meal. Covid will simply accelerate it.

  48. I don’t know why stupid people insist on being seen as right about things. How many vaginas’ difference could it possibly make?

    So many humans spend so much time doing things that only suited us in an environment when rocks and sticks were the only fascinating things around.

    1. I don’t know why stupid people insist on being seen as right about things.

      If you don’t know, nobody does.

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