Truth-telling is dangerous, even within the Fourth Estate.
By Gary Scarrabelotti
Summa cum laude!
“With the highest praise”.
That fine Latin acclamation was something one used to hear at university graduation ceremonies for the work of those who had accomplished striking distinction in their scholarship.
The phrase jumped into my mind when I read a piece published in The Australian on 17 April, by Adam Creighton, entitled “Challenging Covid’s tyranny came at a heavy personal price.”
It was a remarkable article to be carried in a newspaper which had quashed, until recently, discussion about medical interventions against Covid, their safety and effectiveness – and some of whose writers, moreover, had mocked, as opportunity presented, those who doubted the wisdom and effectiveness of the Covid vaccination campaign.
Creighton’s article was heralded by a series written by Christine Middap highlighting the cases of people who had suffered injury to their health — and, in some cases, death — after being injected with experimental anti-Covid ‘vaccines’.
To Middap’s welcome safety and effectiveness theme, Creighton had already responded on April 3 with a piece entitled “Media to blame for vaccines’ wall of infallibility.”
Given the conformism typically exhibited by The Australian in its handling of the Covid story, this was a striking bit of work. Creighton slated the media – with, maybe, some of his own colleagues in mind — for covering up holes in the official Covid story:
“ … the vaccines attained an almost exalted status that ensured any critics – no matter the quality of their evidence – were unfairly disparaged as ‘anti-vaxxers’, ‘cookers’ or simply ignored.
“Why this was so remains hard to explain, but some fault must lie with a too credulous, incurious mainstream media, naïve to the political and financial forces that pushed governments to eschew the more sensible path of voluntary Covid-19 vaccination.”
Reading “Media to blame …” made me wonder: could News Limited really be retreating from its complicity with the global Covid fear campaign and vaccine propaganda?
Even now it is with a gasp that I recall the instance in which one of The Australian’s old hands suggested, early in the panic, that Covid was such a mysterious, virulent, untreatable pathogen that the only resort left to governments the world over were “medieval” methods – in our case, of masking up and locking down. So alarmed was the writer that I was left with an impression that our contemporary elites, like the aristocrats of old, were set to flee the fetid cities for their country estates leaving us plebs behind to die alone at home.
Bring out your dead!
In “Media to blame …”, Creighton pointed to unmentionable problematics in the Covid “narrative”:
“ … a scientifically novel vaccine, produced on a political timetable, against a disease that for the bulk of people was a bad cold …”
A neat triptych of fatal flaws that. And then:
“Governments and experts insisted vaccines stopped transmission when they clearly didn’t, even though Pfizer later admitted it hadn’t even studied that question.”
“There was never a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’. Breakthrough cases were never ‘rare’.”
“ … a big chunk of those dying from or with Covid- 19 had been boosted. It remains an awkward fact that far more people have died from or with Covid-19 since the vaccine rollout …”
And there was more.
None of it was new to those who, noses down, had been scouring the rambunctious alternative media which proved, about Covid, more informed and more analytical than anything to be found in the mainstream media. Which is why Creighton’s article stood out. The taboo had been broken.
What this reader was not prepared for, however, was what was to follow: “Challenging Covid’s tyranny … ”
Let me say, parenthetically, that I had long looked to The Australian as a reliable vehicle for reporting and analysing news that other media were reluctant to treat in the round. The Oz, I told myself, could critique conventional wisdoms before which others adored. Like some people who were said to be “rusted on” to the ABC, I was “rusted on” to The Australian. Yes, I had reservations. These, at first, were roused in fits and starts and then settled into a chronic state of slowly rising aggravation. But, notwithstanding, I had been reading The Oz daily since 1980. Then, on 2 May 2021, I ended my (lately purchased) subscription.
Now, to be candid, the proximate trigger for my decision was something Creighton himself wrote around that time. He had expressed the view that, rather than be compelled to conform to Covid mandates, those who chose vaccination should get a certificate verifying their status and be left to get on with their lives. That was a blow.
How, I asked myself, could someone who didn’t believe that the virus was especially dangerous, who didn’t believe in the Covid mandates, and who had forecast their inflicting enormous economic and social damage, be open to vaccine certificates, especially when it was by then clear that a vaccination passport system – through which unprecedented social control could be exercised – was part of a Worldwide pandemic agenda?
Then, later, I reflected. Something’s up. Creighton’s under pressure. From his editors? Maybe, I speculated, he felt he had to write something like that to deflect the barbs directed at him. Anyway, I did not think more deeply about it, or about The Oz. We’d busted up.
Still, a couple of my friends seemed to pity my impatience and grumpiness and, from time to time, tactfully flicked me articles they thought of interest.
And, indeed, there were some notable explosions in The Australian’s columns, carried lateish in the Covid crisis, against lockdowns and their oppressive minutiae of social control. These were accompanied by biffs and bangs directed at clownishly solemn health ministers and their grimly be-masked Chief Medical Officers.
We should, in fact, welcome a reckoning day when those who made the Covid Thing must give an account.
Particularly good at this routine was Steve Waterson, The Australian’s commercial editor, who contributed blistering pieces directed at the mayhem and incompetence he discerned in state and federal Covid policies. I wanted to cheer but could not. While sticking the boot into politicians and bureaucrats, Waterson made sure that he dismissed ‘anti-vaxers’ with contempt: weirdos all!
Angry Steve couldn’t doubt “The Science”.
Less pyrotechnically, Chris Kenny offered a similar critical account of our Covid entrapment, albeit more focused on the herd instincts at work in The Australian’s media rivals. And yet, always, he assured us that the vaccine campaign offered an awakening from our Covid nightmare.
Meantime, I was sleeping more soundly than usual.
Prophet not heard
So it was, eventually, when a mate alerted me to Creighton’s “Challenging Covid’s tyranny ..,” I was full of admiration and, at the same time, shock – shock because I had not guessed at how much he would have to endure for not holding to the Covid line:
“Three years ago this month my life was turned upside down when I suggested in this column we might be overreacting to Covid-19.
“The column triggered a torrent of hate mail that lasted well over a year, and I began to receive persistent and violent threats. I was forced to change my name on social media accounts and my parents became seriously worried for my safety. Some of the attacks were so awful, I considered taking legal action.
“It was less than a month after England’s chief health officer, Chris Whitty, explained at a press conference that Covid-19 was not a particularly lethal virus, many wouldn’t get it, and of those who did the vast bulk wouldn’t know they had it, or suffer only a “mild to moderate” illness at worse.
“Those facts never changed, but it was too late. By mid-April, our ostensibly civil and rational society had lost its mind, consumed by an insidious culture of consent.”
What followed was a withering J’accuse in which the standout paragraphs were the following:
“Liberal democracies failed miserably during the pandemic, as our institutions, media, academia and bureaucracies careened into hysteria and authoritarianism, trashing human rights and traditional medical ethics over a virus that our grandparents would’ve barely noticed.
“You can only imagine what a slightly more lethal virus would have done. As a society we are far less rational and free than we claim.
“The gap between our civilisation and China’s has shrunk markedly, too, as government institutions worked hand-in-hand in the US (of all places) with social media companies to suppress dissent and bolster the “the science”, which turned out to be wrong on almost everything. The pandemic response in Australia and elsewhere was a harbinger of a totalitarian future that surely none of us want to encourage.
“In my view, those deserving the greatest contempt are the tenured academics and senior public servants who, unless they were mentally deficient, must have known from a very early stage in the pandemic that ‘the measures’ were failing, but continued to cheer them on anyway.”
No-one in Australia’s big corporate media has written words like these. They so thoroughly contradict the established account of Covid events that, were they to be widely believed, it would undermine confidence in our leading institutions and the people who direct them, including in our leading media and its commentariat class.
For which reason, it’s remarkable that “Challenging Covid’s tyranny …” ever saw the light of day. Truth-telling is a dangerous business, frowned upon even within the Fourth Estate when they’ve got it monumentally wrong.
We should, in fact, welcome a reckoning day when those who made the Covid Thing must give an account. But we’ll have to work for it – and, to get there, more of us will have to undergo the trial endured by Adam Creighton.