After yet another shockingly stupid tweet from so-called “journalist” Taylor Lorenz, Twitter CEO Elon Musk called out the newspaper that, for some inexplicable reason, employs her.
“WaPo needs a thorough housecleaning,” Musk wrote on Saturday.
WaPo needs a thorough housecleaning
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 11, 2023
The remark came after The Washington Post’s “technology reporter” baselessly smeared a group of highly-qualified and respected scientists — some hailing from such institutions as the Stanford University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard — as “far right, anti-science” COVID-19 “denialist[s].”
The scientists — Jay Bhattacharya, Leslie Bienen, Ram Duriseti, Tracy Beth Høeg, Marty Makary, Martin Kulldorff, Margery Smelkinson, and Steven Templeton — are members of the newly-formed Norfolk Group, which convened to create “a blueprint containing key public health questions for a COVID-19 commission.”
“The world deserves an honest assessment of covid pandemic management. I worked with some beloved colleagues to set an agenda for a covid commission,” Bhattacharya tweeted last week. “Legislators — please use the Norfolk Group document for ideas on what to ask public health authorities.”
The world deserves an honest assessment of covid pandemic management. I worked with some beloved colleagues to set an agenda for a covid commission.
Legislators — please use the Norfolk Group document for ideas on what to ask public health authorities.https://t.co/VNXT1fsFR1
— Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) February 7, 2023
“The eight of us hold a wide range of political views and are not united by any particular political viewpoints,” the lengthy document states. “All the authors have voiced criticisms of how the pandemic was handled by government agencies and individuals appointed by and serving in both Republican and Democratic administrations.”
In its report, the Norfolk Group poses a number of “specific questions on specific topics related to COVID-19 pandemic responses in the United States.”
Included among the 10 questions are:
- What could have been done to better protect older high-risk Americans, so that fewer of them died or were hospitalized due to COVID-19?
- Why was there widespread questioning of infection-acquired immunity by government officials and some prominent scientists? How did this hinder our fight against the virus?
- Why were schools and universities closed despite early evidence about the enormous age-gradient in COVID-19 mortality, early data showing that schools were not major sources of spread, and early evidence that school closures would cause enormous collateral damage to the education and mental health of children and young adults?
- Why was there an almost exclusive focus on COVID-19 to the detriment of recognizing and mitigating collateral damage on other aspects of public health, including but not limited to, cancer screening and treatment, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, childhood vaccinations, and mental health?
- Why did the CDC fail to collect timely data to properly monitor and understand the pandemic? Why did we have to rely on studies from private initiatives and from other countries to understand the behavior of the virus and the effects of therapeutics, including vaccines?
- Why was there so much emphasis and trust in complex epidemiological models, which are by nature unreliable during the middle of an epidemic, with unknown input parameters and questionable assumptions?
- Could therapeutic trials have been run in a more timely manner? How was information on drug effectiveness and safety disseminated to doctors and clinicians? Were effective therapeutics easily accessible across the population? How did certain drugs become heavily politicized?
- Why did vaccine randomized trials not evaluate mortality, hospitalization, and transmission as primary endpoints? Why were they terminated early? Why were there so few studies from the highest-quality CDC and FDA vaccine safety systems?
- Why was the USA slow to approve and roll out critical COVID-19 testing capacity? Why was there more emphasis on testing young asymptomatic individuals than on testing to better protect older high-risk Americans? Why was so much effort spent on contact-tracing efforts?
- Why was there an emphasis on community masking and mask mandates, which had weak or no data to support them, at the expense of efficient and critical COVID-19 mitigation efforts? Why did the CDC or NIH not fund large randomized trials to evaluate the efficacy and potential harms of mask wearing? Why didn’t policy recommendations change after the publication of randomized trial data from Denmark and Bangladesh which showed no or minimal efficacy of mask wearing by the public?
Given the credentials of the scientists, the apolitical approach to the document, and 10 compelling questions, you’d think a reporter might want to do some research or investigating, but not WaPo star-reporter Taylor Lorenz.
That would take effort.
Instead, Lorenz thought she’d just dismiss the entire thing by slamming any media member who dares to question things and earn their paycheck.
“It’s disappointing that the biggest disinfo reporters in media completely stopped covering covid disinfo when Biden took office, because these groups pushing a far right, anti-science Covid denialist agenda behind the scenes continue to amass unchecked power, $, influence,” she tweeted, adding, “it’s very worrying that so many top ‘disinfo’ reporters have abdicated covering the biggest radicalizing event of our time.”
Grateful for the reporting @WalkerBragman and @pan_accindex are doing on this, but it’s very worrying that so many top “disinfo” reporters have abdicated covering the biggest radicalizing event of our time
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 10, 2023
Dr. Bhattacharya — an epidemiologist, health economist, and professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and the founding fellow of the Academy of Science and Freedom — brought Lorenz’s allegation to The Post’s attention.
“Does the @washingtonpost support its reporters making false, baseless smears against scientists?” he asked. “What on earth is a ‘covid denialist agenda’? Does the Post not want a real inquiry into the failure of public health to protect the public from covid & collateral harm from lockdowns?”
Does the @washingtonpost support its reporters making false, baseless smears against scientists? What on earth is a "covid denialist agenda"? Does the Post not want a real inquiry into the failure of public health to protect the public from covid & collateral harm from lockdowns? pic.twitter.com/b4mTfFdVmb
— Jay Bhattacharya (@DrJBhattacharya) February 10, 2023
University of Miami psychology professor J.D. Haltigan quote-tweeted the doctor and said, “The WaPo is an absolute disgrace & this is a disgusting, despicable, hack job,” prompting Musk’s remark.
WaPo needs a thorough housecleaning
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 11, 2023
“Yes, and I’m sure Bezos will sell it to you,” one Twitter user replied to Musk, referring to The Post’s billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame. “I’d go in cheap though.”
Yes, and I’m sure Bezos will sell it to you. I’d go in cheap though. https://t.co/XUtORkdhIO
— Terri Galvin (@TerriGalvin) February 12, 2023
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