Elon Musk Accuses Major Media Outlet of Spreading COVID Misinformation, Ignoring Vaccine Injuries
By Lorenz Duchamps
Elon Musk has defended Twitter’s decision to terminate a policy where posts on the platform would be accompanied by a “misleading information” warning label if the content related to COVID-19, saying the pandemic “is no longer an issue.”
The microblogging service, which was taken over by the billionaire industrialist last year, said in a report that, effective Nov. 23, 2022, Twitter is “no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”
Musk commented on the matter during an interview with BBC reporter James Clayton that was broadcasted on April 11. In the confrontational interview, Musk pivoted Clayton’s question when the journalist asked the Tesla executive about the platform’s warning labels for false and misleading tweets related to COVID-19.
“Has the BBC changed its COVID misinformation?” Musk reacted fiercely to the reporter’s question.
In response, Clayton said that he was asking Musk about Twitter’s policies as the interviewer stressed that the discussion is about the social media company, not about the broadcasting corporation.
“The BBC does not set the rules upon Twitter, so I’m asking you,” Clayton said. “You changed the labels, the COVID misinformation labels, there used to be a policy, but it then disappeared—why do that?” he added.
“Look, COVID is no longer an issue,” Musk responded. “Does the BBC hold itself at all responsible for misinformation regarding masking and side-effects of vaccinations, and not reporting on that at all,” the SpaceX founder added.
Musk went on to say that the BBC allowed itself to be “put under pressure by the British government to change its editorial policy.”
“Are you aware of that?” Musk asked Clayton, who did not answer the question. Instead, he shifted the conversation to a different topic, while also noting that he’s not a BBC representative and is unable to speak on behalf of the company’s editorial policy.
NTD reached out to the BBC for comment.
Musk has been a longtime critic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, lockdowns, as well as other measures enforced by the government. In May 2020, the 51-year-old sent Tesla employees back to work at the automaker’s plant in California in defiance of local shelter-in-place orders, which he described as “forcible imprisoning.”
“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” Musk said in a post on Twitter at the time.
During an interview with TIME in December 2021, Musk said he and his eligible children are vaccinated against COVID-19 and that “the science is unequivocal,” but he also stressed that he is against COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Twitter’s policy, which was introduced to curb the spread of “harmful misinformation” related to the pandemic, resulted in nearly 100,000 pieces of content being removed from the platform and led to more than 11,000 account suspensions between January 2020 and September 2022.
Since taking over Twitter, Musk has vowed to dial back the platform’s censorship policies which many conservatives have alleged are discriminatory and amount to suppression of free speech. At the same time, Musk pledged that he would not allow Twitter to become a “free-for-all hellscape” where anything could be said, “with no consequences.”
Doctors Sound the Alarm
Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020, governments around the world and much of the media have insisted that the medicines developed in record time are “safe and effective.”
However, numerous studies and medical experts have disagreed with the government’s official messaging, suggesting COVID-19 vaccines can lead to an excess risk of spike protein-induced diseases.
Dr. Joseph Fraiman, an emergency physician based in Louisiana and the lead author of a peer-reviewed study that reexamined the original Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines, told the National Citizen’s Inquiry (NCI) on March 17 that the vaccines have been associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest in about one in every 565 people.
“That is quite a high number of serious adverse effects from a vaccine. We typically have withdrawn vaccines for one in 10,000,” said Fraiman, who spoke virtually at the event on the second day of the hearing held in Canada.
The authors found that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were, respectively, associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest of 10.1 and 15.1 per 10,000 vaccinated over placebo baselines of 17.6 and 42.2. Combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest in 12.5 per 10,000 vaccinated, or one in 565.
German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, meanwhile, said last month that adverse reactions can occur at a rate of “one in 10,000 [doses],” adding that COVID-19 vaccines have caused “severe disabilities” to German citizens. However, the country’s top health official also noted that he believes the benefits still outweigh the risks, saying: “It’s not like [vaccine] injury is common.”
“I’ve always been aware of the numbers and they’ve remained relatively stable … one in 10,000 [are injured],” Lauterbach said, citing official data (pdf) from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut that was released in December 2022. It has to be noted that the health minister said COVID-19 vaccines can cause serious injury in one in every 10,000 doses, not people.