A leading critic of the COVID-19 vaccines, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, has been permanently banned from Twitter for “repeated violations” of the social-media platform’s rules on spreading “misinformation.”
A Twitter spokesman confirmed the move to NBC News in a statement.
In a post Saturday night to his Substack page, Berenson pointed to a recent post that apparently was the last straw for Twitter.
“It doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission. Don’t think of it as a vaccine,” Berenson’s tweet said.
“Think of it — at best — as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS,” he wrote.
But Berenson, who presented scientific and government data daily on Twitter to back his statements, insisted in his Substack post that the tweet is “entirely accurate.”
He criticized Twitter’s move in a statement to the New York Post.
“We have reached a dangerous moment. Social media companies that have audiences which dwarf any other are now actively censoring reporters at the behest of governments,” he said.
“I will continue to fight to get out the truth and am considering all legal options.”
Berenson has self-published four booklets on the pandemic, “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates,” “Lockdowns: Part 2: Update and Examination of Lockdowns as a Strategy,” “Unreported Truths About Covid-19 and Lockdowns: Part 3: Masks” and “Unreported Truths About Covid-19 and Lockdowns: Part 4: Vaccines.”
A book is scheduled for release Nov. 30 titled Pandemia: How Coronavirus Hysteria Took Over Our Government, Rights, and Lives.”
Supporting Berenson’s skepticism about the “efficacy” of the vaccines, several Twitter users cited CDC Director Rochelle Wollensky’s recent admission that the vaccines don’t prevent transmission of the delta variant.
They suspended Alex Berenson for saying the vaccines can’t prevent transmission? https://t.co/1m2F4NnZj9
— Greg Pollowitz (@GPollowitz) August 29, 2021
Political commentator John Ziegler pointed out that on the day that Twitter banned Berenson, “highly-vaccinated Israel (the country where Alex went dramatically against the grain), set new all-time record for average news cases.”
Israel is now averaging five and a half as many cases and more than two times as many deaths as one year ago.
On day when @AlexBerenson gets suspended from Twitter, highly-vaccinated Israel (the country where Alex went dramatically against the grain), set new all-time record for average news cases.
They’re now averaging 5.5 times as many new cases & over 2X as many deaths as a year ago. pic.twitter.com/pFqGePoLQ5
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) August 29, 2021
Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, argued on Twitter that the tweet that triggered the ban is “entirely within the range of reasonable discussion.”
Jason Whitlock, a columnist, podcaster and digital TV host for Blaze Media, wrote on Twitter: “We’ve normalized censorship in the land of the free. And there are people who think this is a good thing.”
Michael P. Senger, describing Berenson a “probably the most-followed anti-lockdown voice,” noted Twitter “disappeared every tweet he’s ever posted.”
“Regardless of what you might think of Berenson, memory holing everything someone’s ever written is downright scary,” wrote Senger, an attorney and the author of “China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign.”
‘Silence those who dare to disagree’
Berenson previously was suspended by Twitter for advocating a “pause” on any federal mandates on COVID-19 as new research is studied, recalled constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley.
“Twitter has again showed that it will silence those who dare to disagree or even question its approved narrative and that of government,” wrote Turley on his website.
He argued that Berenson’s belief that the COVID vaccines should be regarded, at best, “as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS” is “an opinion that many share and one that can be debated.”
“I do not agree with Berenson on the vaccine but I would like to hear his views and see the response to them,” wrote Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University. “Like many, I do not want to simply read corporate or government approved viewpoints. Rather than respond to Berenson with reasoned debate, people demand that he be removed from platforms to prevent others from making up their own minds.”
Turley said the “most chilling aspect of this story is how many on left applaud such censorship.”
He pointed to a new poll that shows about half of the public support not only corporate censorship but government censorship of anything deemed “misinformation.”
Academics and members of the media are joining the call for censorship, he wrote.
“Faculty and editors are actively supporting modern versions of book-burning with blacklists and bans for those with opposing political views,” he said.
Turley pointed out that Berenson has never tried to silence others.
“He wants to have a debate so debate him or ignore him but do not silence him,” the professor wrote. “These advocates of private and government censorship are only undermining faith in vaccines with their aggressive pursuit of anyone expressing doubts or challenging policies.”
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