Ron Johnson must come with a warning label

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Ron Johnson was back last week, spreading misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines. At a media event in Milwaukee, Senior Senator from Wisconsin raised doubts vaccine safety by skewing the data to suggest that the injections that tens of millions of Americans have received are more dangerous than doctors say.

It’s wrong. Vaccine specialists, infectious disease experts, public health officials and the media fact checkers all explained that Johnson is not telling the truth. After the senator distorted information from a database for Americans to report reactions to vaccinations – the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System—The National Committee for the Protection of Health Care struck down the senator for trying to “cast doubt on COVID-19 vaccines that could deter people from getting vaccinated and protecting themselves from the deadly disease. “

Making false claims about vaccines is always dangerous. But, at a time when the coronavirus is once again spreading at an alarming rate in parts of the country, doctors and researchers say the misinformation being spread by the increasingly publicized Republican senator poses a deadly threat.

According to an analysis based on data from Johns Hopkins University, CNN reported on the eve of the July 4 vacation that “the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases has been increasing for six consecutive days”.

Why, at a time when it seemed like the United States was turning a corner in the fight against the pandemic, are public health officials sounding the alarm again? “Looking at state by state and county by county, it is clear that communities where people are not vaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable,” said Dr Rochelle Walensky, head of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “All of this is true as we monitor the continued spread of the hyper-transmissible Delta variant. ”

Now is the time to fully understand the facts about vaccine safety. Unfortunately, Johnson is deliberately wrong.

“Senator Ron Johnson is putting people’s lives at risk here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and across the country with his relentless campaign to spread misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccinations that protect people,” said Dr Madelaine Tully, a family doctor from the Milwaukee area who joined a number of Wisconsin doctors in calling Johnson. “Instead of recklessly spreading lies, our senator should use his position and platform to tell people the truth, and that is, COVID-19 vaccines are safe, they are effective and they save lives. “

Johnson, who publicly announced that he will not be vaccinated, not gonna do that. In fact, he struggles to amplify his false claims.

Johnson is furious with YouTube, the video sharing and social media platform, which last month deleted a video in which the senator made extremely inaccurate claims about treatments for the virus and suggested that the Biden administration was “working against solid research” into drug therapies.

YouTube offers content that is often controversial. But the company is strict when it comes to videos that could put people at risk. Specifically, it says, “YouTube does not allow content that disseminates inaccurate medical information that contradicts medical information from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO) on COVID-19.”

After viewing a speech Johnson gave on June 3 to the Milwaukee Press Club, a YouTube spokesperson said, the platform’s monitors determined the senator had violated his standards. “We have removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical disinformation policies, which do not allow content that encourages people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus.”

It’s no surprise Johnson is in hot water for spreading medical misinformation. The senator embraces conspiracy theories regarding everything from the 2020 presidential election (which, despite what Johnson says, Donald Trump lost by 7 million votes) to the Jan.6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. United (which, despite what Johnson says, was a violent insurgency led by Trump supporters to overturn the election results Trump lost).

But his biggest lies have always been about the coronavirus pandemic.

Last fall, after Johnson chaired a series of Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearings that featured testimony from witnesses critics identified as “charlatans,” The New York Times reported, This is the latest example of how Mr Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who used his powerful panel of investigators to amplify baseless accusations made by President Trump, has now embraced the role of the main anti-Covid of the Senate. “

“Although some of his fellow Republicans have sought to use their platforms to encourage Americans to take precautions against the spread of the virus and to persuade the public that vaccines against him will be safe and life-saving,” he added. Time explained: ‘Mr Johnson has suggested that the dangers of the coronavirus have been exaggerated and overregulated. And twice in the past three weeks, Mr Johnson has used his hammer in the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee to raise voices that public health experts say represent fringe beliefs.

Now, as Johnson sparks more controversy by spreading misinformation about vaccines, a Democrat who challenges Senator, Outagamy County Executive Tom Nelson, said, “Ron Johnson lied about the Covid vaccine again. Unfortunately, this is nothing new — Sen. Ron Johnson has been spreading dangerous lies about Covid-19 from day one. “

Johnson gets angry when criticized for doing things wrong. And, of course, he plays the victim. “YouTube’s continued censorship of Covid proves they’ve amassed too much inexplicable power,” rants the senator.

It is true that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have accumulated too much inexplicable power. Monopoly companies, whether in the technological sector or any other sector of the economy, must be challenged, challenged, regulated and, if necessary and possible, dismantled. And yes, we have to worry about the censorship.

At the same time, certain standards must apply when it comes to spreading what could turn out to be deadly lies. What to do? Tom Nelson may have the answer.

After Johnson was called in by fact-checkers for his vaccine lies, said the democrat, “The CDC should label this guy as a public health hazard. “

Good idea.

Maybe YouTube doesn’t need to suspend Ron Johnson or remove his offensive videos. Perhaps the platform should just attach a tag that identifies the Senator as the deadly threat to public health and safety that he has become.



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