Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) became a recent target of Big Tech's censorship and suppression when he received a one-week suspension from YouTube. As Houston Keene with Fox News reported, the ban and removal of videos were over experimental treatments to the coronavirus, such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. Keene wrote:
The video in question is of a speech Johnson gave where he torched the Biden and Trump administrations for "not only ignoring but working against robust research [on] the use of cheap, generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID" and noted he held two hearings on the matter.
Sen. Johnson addressed the suspension during a press conference with other senators concerned with the role of Big Tech in suppressing certain viewpoints about the virus. This includes the cozy relationship Dr. Anthony Fauci appears to have with the industry, which Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) spoke to Townhall about.
Also pointing out that the mainstream media has pushed false narratives only to then fail to correct the record, Sen. Johnson shared that "when it comes to COVID, I have personal experience with censorship and suppression that I believe has cost tens and thousands of Americans their lives."
Speaking to such treatments he questioned "why did our health agencies, why did Anthony Fauci, why did the mainstream media, suppress and censor doctors that had the courage and compassion to treat patients early with cheap, repurposed, generic drugs?"
The senator pointed out that "there is growing evidence," which is "not being reported on by the media" that ivermectin treatments are having success in parts of Mexico and India.
"Where's reporting on that," Johnson asked with emphasis, as he provided a reason why he doesn't think there is any. "We've seen studies where 50 to 85 percent of lives could have been saved. If it prevents that much death, apply that to the 600,000 Americans that lost their lives, which is why I believe the news media will never admit their complicity and why they will never admit they were wrong here."
President Donald Trump touted the hydroxychloroquine treatment when he was office. He has cited it as one of many reasons he "was right about everything."
Trump was right. pic.twitter.com/6LAmxVVXKF— James Lindsay, batshit sane (@ConceptualJames) June 12, 2021
As Katie covered earlier this week with with some in-depth reporting, "A New Study Shows, Again, That Hydroxychloroquine Works."
While a YouTube spokesperson did respond to Fox News about the actions taken against Sen. Johnson, the reasons provided were hardly comforting:
A spokesperson for YouTube told Fox News the website took down the video because it violated its COVID-19 "medical misinformation policies."
"We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus," the spokesperson said.
"YouTube doesn't allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19," the policy reads.
Specifically, the company will remove content promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin unless there is enough countervailing context, a YouTube blog post explains.
The blog post Keene cites likens so-called "COVID-19 medical misinformation" with "hate speech, graphic violence, content from violent criminal organizations." From that blog, emphasis mine:
We do not automatically give exceptions to a video just because it is being presented as part of a news broadcast or contains footage from a conference. The educational or documentary intent needs to be clear by providing context. For some categories — like videos containing hate speech, graphic violence, content from violent criminal organizations, or COVID-19 medical misinformation — we have a higher bar, given the dangers they present to the public. First, we require the context to be in the imagery or audio of the video itself (having it in the title or description is not enough). Second, it has to be clear to the viewer that the creator’s aim is not to promote or support the content that violates our policies. For example, content telling people that the COVID-19 does not exist is allowed only if the content’s audio or imagery also directly refutes these claims or gives greater weight to the consensus from health and medical authorities that the claims are untrue.
If social media platforms can shut down the sitting president, they can do it to anyone, including a sitting senator. And the reasons given remain chilling.