Unsafe at any screed

Matt Taibbi has just published the subscribers-only post “Looking Back on the Sadism of the Covid-19 Shaming Campaign” at his Racket News site. He draws on Matt Orfalea’s new video (at the bottom) to argue that “apologies are due for the media campaign against ‘the unvaccinated,’ which unveiled open cruelty as public policy strategy.” Taibbi defends the right and the wisdom of thinking for yourself:

In this case one didn’t need a microbiology degree to recognize something about Covid-19 messaging was off. From flip-flops about masks (an “evolving situation,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said) to unwillingness to be frank in discussing natural immunity or risks to children, even casual news-readers saw confusion in the ranks of senior officials. Later, a series of reversals on key questions — first about whether the vaccine prevented contraction, then about whether it prevented transmission — left even people who wanted to follow official advice unsure of what to do.

I hope [Orfalea]’s video survives as a warning. There is still a lot of investigation to be done, in particular about the origins of the pandemic — certain segments of the national audience may still be in for a shock or two there — but as Matt shows, we already see a cautionary tale about faulty information being used to gin up real hatred.

People who once prided themselves on empathy, patience, and forgiveness in recent years have embraced public displays of sadism….

While Taibbi judges the campaign against the unvaccinated to be “sadistic,” he also applies evidence from the Twitter Files to the case:

Now that the Bidens, Faucis, and Rochelle Walenskys turned out to be wrong about so many questions, the lack of apology about the sadism is glaring. Perhaps that’s because this campaign worked as intended. In the #TwitterFiles we saw anti-disinformation “experts” appearing to consciously blur lines between genuine disinfo (“garlic, ginger, honey, and lemon” cure Covid-19) and healthy skepticism (vaccines do not prevent infection). We also saw efforts to describe what the Stanford project called the “vaccine passport narrative” as anti-vaxxer propaganda-by-proxy. Once people accepted the emotional imperative of hating and shunning, officials found all sorts of uses for the emotion, including fury at resistance to authoritarian measures.

The accompanying video by Matt Orfalea is accessible and worth a look. We are certainly unsafe from the herd mentality it so vividly depicts.

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