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Saturday, 21 November 2020

Covid Free Speech NOT Under Attack

Professor Carl Heneghan is incandescent. He has been called out by mere fact checkers. He has been censored, well, actually, he hasn’t, but in his eyes, and those of the FREEZE PEACH and KBF brigades, he has really. Prof H has been judged in the Facebook fact check balance and found wanting. So what was his sin?

Carl Heneghan. What a happy soul

Well, Heneghan, despite his grand title of “Professor of evidence based medicine at the University of Oxford”, has been a trenchant critic of lockdowns, circuit breakers, the statistics, the science, and just about everything else that is in the scientific mainstream regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. So he’s featured in the Spectator magazine.

That’s because the increasingly alt-right publication and its routinely dishonest editor Fraser Nelson have been in the vanguard of what they like to call “lockdown scepticism”, but others call out as plain vanilla denialism. Heneghan’s article was titled “Landmark Danish study shows face masks have no significant effect”. Right up the Speccy’s street.

It was then labelled “False information” by Facebook’s fact checkers. Heneghan protested “Here's what happened when I posted our latest [Spectator] article to Facebook - I'm aware this is happening to others - what has happened to academic freedom and freedom of speech? There is nothing in this article that is ‘false’”.

Maajid Nawaz saw the bandwagon and leapt out in front of it. “‘Professor Carl James Heneghan (1968) is a British general practitioner physician, director of the University of Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and a Fellow of Kellogg College. He is also Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine’. The Facebook said no”.

James Bloodworth explained what was happening: “Because his article misrepresents the finding of the study it’s purportedly about”. Study: “The findings should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in a community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, because the trial did not test the role of masks in source control of SARS-CoV-2 infection”. Heneghan: “As a result, it seems that any effect masks have on preventing the spread of the disease in the community is small”.

So that should have been that. But it was not. Not for the increasingly wayward Allison Pearson of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. “So the Professor of EVIDENCE BASED medicine at Oxford is censored by Facebook. For sharing EVIDENCE. Heads must roll”. Dan, Dan The Oratory Man responded simply “Bloody hell”.

And the loathsome Toby Young whined plaintively “This is what happens when Her Majesty’s Opposition apply pressure to social media companies to censor dissent from public health orthodoxy. Happy now, [Jon Ashworth]?” Perhaps the Free Speech Union will take up the case on Heneghan’s behalf. Or not, as it’s Facebook.

The only surprise is that Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago, has not yet weighed in on Heneghan’s behalf. The Prof got a little too enthusiastic and misrepresented the study’s findings. Facebook saw him coming. That is all.

Fortunately, there were “only” 341 Covid-19 deaths reported today. Stay safe, everyone.

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Anonymous said...

All Heneghan proves is that the Oxbridge crew contains far too many tory arseheads.

The Spewctator is of course owned and staffed by seedy wannabe nazis.

Anonymous said...

We're probably a few months away from being able to end the pandemic. Several vaccines that appear to work, better treatment, all its going to take is a bit more caution for a few months over winter and we should be done. As a handy bonus the things we've learnt and extra capacity may help with other illnesses once covid is reduced to background noise.

Soooo... Had a look at the DM today and we have monumental ass-hat Ross Clark insisting all those nasty scientists are wrong:


And the front page is an article about anti-lockdown protesters which is getting 99% praise in the comments.

So even at the point of vanquishing this disease, the DM (and others) still feel the need to be arseholes and encourage arseholes using dubiously sourced 'articles'.

Normal people will never forget this shit, British press.


David said...

I rather get the impression that you are opposed to Prof Heneghan due to your well known and entirely understandable dislike of of some of those who claim to follow him. Nevertheless quoting James Bloodsworth, (politics, Nottingham), former Trot and now supporter of Scruton is not without its dangers.

From the prof's tweet I read the Spectator:

in which he talks about the government's refusal to provide evidence one way or another on masks, claiming it couldn't be done, and wilfully disregarding useful trials from previous infections.

Well, the Danes did it and the trial and paper were entirely about mask wearing Contrary to the claims of the superannuated Trot.

Of course, Heneghan doesn't get on well with at least one government adviser due to the later not declaring his conflicts of interest.

Batarde said...

Conflicts of interest? Byline Times threw a bit of light on that a couple of months ago, and there's been more since then:

Senua said...

Strange that this lot keep claiming their being censored whilst simultaneously promoting themselves on various platforms.

Bwana Mrefu said...

On the other hand, credit where credit is due. Here's a Tory MP taking down the The Mail's latest There Is Noe Second Wave and CV19 is Just 'Flu. I think that Mail story is worth your attention Tim, it is egregious.