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Youtube blasted for censorship after removing video of US doctors critical of lockdown

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  • From Dail Mail:
  • The lengthy video was removed Monday for violating ‘community guidelines’
  • In it, Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi criticized California’s shutdown
  • They presented statistics which many called skewed and inaccurate
  • YouTube said their viewpoint disputed ‘local health authority’ guidance
  • Company said that with additional context, the video would be allowed 
  • But critics blast YouTube for ‘censoring’ the video after it got 5 million views 
  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said videos against WHO policy will be taken down
  • Facebook and Twitter have also been criticized over ‘misinformation’ policies

YouTube is facing backlash for removing a video interview of two California doctors who argued that coronavirus shutdowns have gone too far, after the streaming video platform said it would not allow content that ‘disputes the efficacy of local health authority guidance.’

Here’s Tucker Carlson laying into Youtube’s latest censorship.

The nearly hour-long video, which was taken down on Monday, features Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, who run a private urgent-care clinic in Bakersfield, California.

Although the doctors rely in part on faulty statistical analysis to make their arguments, their contention that stay-at-home orders are doing more harm than good drew a massive audience, garnering more than 5 million views before the video was removed by YouTube.

They argue that the mortality rate for coronavirus is minuscule, in their analysis, and that lockdowns are disruptive to normal healthcare provision and the functioning of healthy immune systems, in addition to devastating to the economy. 

The doctors also share anecdotes, which they say come from colleagues in hospitals, claiming that there is pressure to add COVID-19 as a cause of death to unrelated fatalities to artificially boost the death toll. 

‘It’s time to open back up. The science says it is. The models we’ve been using from predictions, to predict the amount of disease, are not accurate,’ Erikson said in the press conference.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, an increasingly outspoken critic of lockdowns, shared the video on Twitter before it was taken down, adding the comment, ‘Docs make good points.’

It comes as social media giants Facebook and Twitter are also coming under increasing scrutiny for removing posts that they say contain health misinformation or calls to break stay-at-home orders.

The video’s removal from YouTube drew vocal protests and accusations of censorship.

‘This. Is. Censorship. On what is arguably the most important media platform in the United States,’ tweeted Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter who has emerged as one of the strongest skeptics of the lockdowns.

In a blistering opening monologue on Tuesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson also railed against the ‘ludicrous’ measures by big tech companies to control what they call misinformation during the pandemic.

‘When this is all over, it’s likely we’ll look back on this moment, what YouTube just did, as a turning point in the way we live in this country, a sharp break with 250 years of law and custom,’ Carlson said.

‘The doctor’s video was produced by a local television channel. It was, in fact a mainstream news story,’ Carlson continued. ‘The only justification for taking it down was that the physicians on-screen had reached different conclusions than the people currently in charge.’ 

Last week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN that ‘anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy.’

‘Consider that for a moment,’ Carlson responded. ‘As a matter of science, it’s ludicrous. Like everyone else involved in global pandemic policy, the WHO has been wrong in its recommendations. In January, WHO told us that coronavirus could not spread from person-to-person. In March, they told us that face masks didn’t work. Those are lies and they were welcome on Google’s platforms.’

Former CNN producer Steve Krakauer said in his Fourth Watch media newsletter that this was an ‘egregious censorship effort on the part of YouTube’ that should make all journalists concerned. 

He added: ‘YouTube can take down this video, of course. But should they? Absolutely not.

‘These doctors weren’t calling for people to cough on other citizens. They weren’t even questioning whether injecting disinfectant might be a good idea. 

‘They were using data to suggest a Sweden model of eased lockdown may be effective. That’s not damaging to the public to watch.’ 

In a statement to DailyMail.com, a YouTube spokesperson said: ‘We quickly remove flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance.’

‘However, content that provides sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic (EDSA) context is allowed — for example, news coverage of this interview with additional context,’ the statement continued.

‘From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had clear policies against Covid-19 misinformation and are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time,’ the company added.

YouTube points out that news coverage of the doctors’ press conference, which adds commentary and analysis, is still allowed on the platform. 

The doctors in the video, Erickson and Massihi, co-owners of Accelerated Urgent Care, which offers Bakersfield’s only private walk-in COVID-19 testing site.

In the video, which is a recording of a press conference that the duo held on April 22, the doctors said 12 percent of Californians tested for coronavirus so far have had a positive result.

They used that figure to extrapolate an estimate that millions in the state have already contracted the virus, and thus speculate that its mortality rate is much lower that believed.

The doctors speculate that coronavirus has a case fatality rate as low as 0.03 percent, or roughly one-third of the mortality rate of the common flu. 

Experts point out that the coronavirus testing the doctors refer to was not random, and was administered mainly to people who had symptoms or believed that they had been exposed. 

Randomized antibody testing in New York suggests a case fatality rate of 0.5 to 0.8 percent, or five to eight times higher than the flu.

Read the Daily Mail article here.