China lab leak likely being origin of COVID shows why we shouldn’t ban ‘misinformation’

The obvious danger of only allowing authorities to determine what’s true.

In 2021, if Facebook users posted an opinion or story about the origins of COVID-19 wondering if it potentially came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, those posts were labeled “misinformation.” The Biden administration worked with the platform to help censor those views.

In 2023, this week we learned from the Biden administration that, “New intelligence has prompted the Energy Department to conclude that an accidental laboratory leak in China most likely caused the coronavirus pandemic.”

Throughout the pandemic, Big Government, Big Tech and the entire political and media establishment worked overtime to suppress any COVID-19 information elites deemed incorrect. What was “correct” was based on what government authorities like top White House doctor Anthony Fauci, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and their state-anointed experts said was correct.

Never mind if there was an army of credentialed medical professionals who dissented from the COVID party line. Never mind if locking down America’s schools might have done more harm than good. Never mind that getting vaccinated still didn’t prevent spreading the virus even though for a time the government insisted it did. Never mind if natural immunity provided inoculation as good as the vaccine. This common sense morsel wasn’t finally admitted to be true until last week.

And never mind if there is much evidence to suggest that COVID-19 originated in a U.S.-funded lab in Wuhan, China where controversial and seemingly dangerous gain-of-function research was reportedly taking place.

No one was allowed to speculate about this. It was shot down immediately as “misinformation.”

Now even the U.S. government posits that it’s likely true a lab leak led to the pandemic

At some point in American history (my own view is that the existence of President Donald Trump broke so many elite brains, throwing sanity and basic ethics out the window) journalists and others in positions of authority seemed to decide that their primary civic duty was to protect the public rather than inform them. That meant there had to be an official – aka “correct” – view of things as opposed to untruths, conspiracy theories, and “misinformation” spread by non-experts.

Then the pandemic ratcheted up this elite mindset significantly. Who cared about freedom of speech, thought and debate when the upper echelon of society had to protect the ignorant masses from themselves? All hands on deck. Forget the old rules.

The mission of elites became protecting central authority, its inherent wisdom and necessary power. Thy will be done.

We can always expect the government to promote and protect its own narratives, but journalists themselves, who in most other eras would be expected to challenge the government, seemingly came to the same conclusion. In the public interest, the media decided it should parrot what the authorities believed about COVID-19, the Ukraine conflict, Hunter Biden’s laptop, or any other major story of the day. Big Tech had largely taken the same approach with its policies.

But banning or refusing to cover alternative views is not only an affront to liberalism and free speech, it prevents us all from arriving at any kind of tangible truth. There have been many suggesting that coronavirus might have come from a lab leak abroad for over two years now, but establishment gatekeepers have dismissed them as cranks or worse. They dismissed debate, period.

Now, by their own admission, elites say that the lab leak theory is likely true.

It is absolutely right that “misinformation” can mean information that isn’t true. It happens. A LOT. Don’t believe much of what you read on the internet.

But “misinformation” also can be – and was, and frequently is – information that actually is true that central authorities simply don’t want to be true. They often resist admitting it until it becomes undeniable.

Broadly speaking, journalists have become an entrenched faction in elite resistance to uncomfortable truths. Today, the media are more often government protectors than questioners. For them, actual truth becomes secondary or less. Official narratives become primary.

For the public good, we don’t need less “misinformation.” We need more. Clearly.

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunterhttp://LibertyTree.com
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for Rare.us.