Honest Media


The Collapse of Mainstream Media (Part 3)



Part 3: COVID-19



This series covers how a freefall of public trust in the face of spin and censorship has led to the rise of new and independent media. It investigates how Russiagate (part 1), the 2020 presidential election (part 2), and COVID (part 3) specifically have eroded trust in legacy media and then analyzes the growth of other sources.


During a major crisis, the mainstream media has a duty to ask hard questions and scrutinize official claims and thus fulfill its responsibility to provide objective, accurate, and reliable reporting. During the COVID pandemic, however, legacy media became the mouthpiece of officialdom whose ever-changing and backpedaling claims were unquestionably parroted by their media assets. As a result, the public’s trust dropped, according to Gallup, who noted in October 2022 that “this is the first time that the percentage of Americans with no trust at all in the media is higher than the percentage with a great deal or a fair amount combined.”


As fears and hysteria over COVID grew and grew, the public looked increasingly to the media for information and assurances regarding the safety and effectiveness of the experimental mRNA vaccines that were rushed to market during Operation Warp Speed. In response, legacy media dutifully echoed the assurances from the authorities that the vaccines are “safe and effective.” However, these claims were ultimately proven false.


Honest Media has worked to hold mainstream media accountable for their remarkably biased reporting during COVID, including outlets such as the Associated Press and Mother Jones, both of whom have never corrected major errors in reporting dealing with the pandemic. To date, neither organization has made any corrections to their clearly flawed reporting.


The mainstream media narrative collapses on the fronts of both vaccine safety and efficacy. The historical record now shows that the COVID vaccines neither prevent infection, per a Cleveland Clinics study, nor transmission, as Tablet Magazine reported. Even the CDC finally admits that these vaccines do not stop transmission.


Vaccine injuries like bell’s palsy, anaphylaxis, pericarditis, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, cancer, and even sudden death are regularly reported anecdotally on local media and are frequently shared on X (formerly Twitter). Data analysis and scientific studies support the anecdotal evidence, including this systematic meta-review of original studies


Edward Dowd, a former Blackrock analyst, discovered a 40% spike in what the life insurance industry calls “excess deaths” for 2021 coinciding with the initial COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. He documented this data in his book, “Cause Unknown: The Epidemic of Sudden Deaths in 2021 and 2022” and discussed it on The Highwire with Del Bigtree.


A recent Science Magazine study of a cohort of 99 million vaccinated people “confirmed pre-established safety signals for myocarditis, pericarditis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.” In other words, the narrative of a safe vaccine, like the narrative of the Biden laptop being Russian disinformation, or lockdowns being good for society, simply doesn’t hold up.


Some of the concerns raised over the vaccines and censorship were recently taken up during an unprecedented Capitol Hill roundtable that was hosted by Senator Ron Johnson. Dr. Anthony Fauci himself recently revealed during Congressional testimony that the recommendation for social distancing was not at all science-based, as reported by the New York Post.


And perhaps most alarming, a recent study examining so-called ‘excess deaths’ released in January 2024 estimates the mRNA vaccine has killed 17 million people worldwide. Why does the mainstream media refuse to even engage with these questions?


Meanwhile, a slew of studies and a veritable tsunami of counter-narrative reporting from primarily independent media has opened up gaping holes in what is quite obviously a dying official narrative.


Despite this reality, Honest Media has yet to find any significant reckoning or review by the legacy media of the now-known facts, not to mention the complete evisceration of legacy media’s endlessly repeated COVID vaccine mantras. In fact, the ‘first draft’ of history is so unclear and full of holes, editors of Scientific American have called for a reckoning themselves, in the form of a COVID “truth and reconciliation commission” in a February 2022 opinion piece.


In addition, the (now retired) head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during the COVID crisis, Francis Collins, has reluctantly admitted that the COVID vaccine could cause side effects like myocarditis which “could in fact be significant.”


Rather than correct the record, or review such alarming findings, the mainstream press continues to invest their resources in deriding vaccine critics and promoting vaccine boosters, all the while ignoring the scale of vaccine injuries across the globe.


It’s therefore no wonder that trust in the establishment is crumbling and the corporate media is collapsing. In January 2021, Reuters reported on the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer global survey, which found that:


57% of people believe government leaders, business chiefs and journalists are spreading falsehoods or exaggerations. Trust in governments, business chiefs and media is crumbling amid a perceived mis-handling by leaders of the coronavirus pandemic and a widespread feeling among ordinary citizens that they are being misled.


Trust in ‘traditional media’ is at a near record low, according to Gallup (Post-Russiagate 2016 was the nadir). As Kaitlyn Seiter of University of Arkansas noted “trust in the news media is lower with COVID-19 coverage compared to general news coverage, with many participants believing news sources exclude COVID-19 facts.”


Might censorship be contributing to the perceived paucity of COVID-19 facts in legacy media coverage? If so, distrust could grow further should the collusion of the state and corporate media in censorship get a greenlight from the Supreme Court.


On March 18, in Murthy v. Missouri, the U.S. government went before the Supreme Court arguing that the First Amendment should not apply when it comes to questions of science. If decided in favor of the defendants within the Federal government, the lawsuit would effectively give the go-ahead to the growing censorship network. [For more coverage of the First Amendment issues in this trial, see Honest Media’s March 19 report, our February 13 report and watch the Rally to Reclaim Free Speech that occurred in front of the Supreme Court on March 18].


Understanding How It Happens

What is the shape of this censorship network? One of the earliest alarms over censorship was raised by Tablet magazine in September 2022 in a piece entitled “The U.S. Government’s Vast New Privatized Censorship Regime.” Tablet’s map of the new censorship regime has since been further documented in extensive reporting by Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, and others in the Twitter Files and CTIL Files reports, where the journalists and even U.S. Representatives increasingly refer to this network/regime as the Censorship Industrial Complex (CIC).


A recent report by the Congressional Select Subcommittee on Weaponization of Government has revealed that a non-profit called Meeden, funded by a $5.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, has identified “mistrust” as “misinformation” in the push to use AI to censor Americans. This finding suggests that any American or independent media outlet that expresses this “mistrust” could become a target for a new AI model of “scan and ban” censorship.


As revealed in CTIL reporting, legacy media revealed its own mistrust of the very people it is meant to serve by having colluded with the government during COVID, whether coerced or not. These two braided institutions that represent immense corporate and state power are increasingly seeking to control and limit the parameters of the debate around the issues at the heart of these events, to make sure the truth about Russiagate, the 2020 election and COVID is suppressed or muddled.


Instead of earning trust and subscription revenue by serving and informing the people, social media behemoths like Facebook/YouTube (Meta) and Twitter (now X) echo legacy media behemoths by engaging in their own censorship, propaganda, polarization, or canceling dissent. Their fear of the will of people drives the entirety of this censorship operation, a situation that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. addresses directly on the presidential campaign trail by quoting President John F. Kennedy who said:


We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.


The “open market” to which Kennedy referred has since collapsed into a corrupt merger of state, corporate media and NGOs that violates the First Amendment. This dynamic, in turn, has contributed to increasing distrust of legacy media by the public that seems to keep growing as the media refines techniques for spreading this propaganda while much of the public keeps sensing the spin and lies.


A broad spectrum of small, independent news outlets, podcasters, social media influencers and citizen journalists on a variety of platforms are filling this void. Here perhaps we can discern a positive unintended consequence of the collapse of legacy media.


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Honest Media


Honest Media is bringing together American citizens who are disgusted by what is now endemic corruption in our media. We work to hold the media accountable despite being captured by corrupt corporate interests.