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Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

Editorial: Discourse, of course!

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Ever since the pandemic erupted in early 2020, the narrative by the Western world’s governments, big pharma and complicit corporate media has been ever-present, and dominant.

Their focus has been entirely on vaccination as a way forward, and when taken in context of crisis management on a global scale, it would seem obvious that applying a one-size-fits all approach is the best way to get back to whatever normal is.

‘What ifs’, and ‘How abouts’ send confusing messages.

The rationale, of course, is that those who are immune-compromised (not just the elderly) need protection, given high mortality rates.   

Yet those who have questioned the vaccine-only solution, have, let’s face it, been hectored and marginalised.

Perhaps it’s worth acknowledging that in 2022, free speech and freedom of inquiry is now at serious risk for those living in countries that purport to support such ideals.

Accompanying the reduction in discourse, and an increase in contempt for opposing views, is diminishing civil rights.

When is the last time a politician (in power) championed civic rights?

Furthermore, legitimate questioning has been censored by ‘big tech’ for some time. There’s no shortage of examples where online accounts are suspended and/or deleted.

Some are silenced on mainstream social media platforms for suggesting that COVID-19 treatments and promotion of a healthy diet should be part of the virus solution.

Which leads to the most popular podcaster in the world, US based Joe Rogan.

Unhindered by a corporate overlord, he shows curiosity and a willingness to explore unpopular opinion.

It’s quite interesting seeing reactions to his name, especially by the thinking left.

Admittedly, it took a while for me to overcome some prejudice against some of his guests – Ben Shapiro and Ted Nugent, for example.  If anything it enabled some reflection around my own intellectual tribalism.

Like many others questioning the mainstream, his podcasts have been deleted by Youtube – though many clips still remain.

Most recently, YouTube and Twitter deleted Joe Rogan’s interview with Dr Rob Malone, one of the few qualified voices questioning how governments are responding to the pandemic.

Rogan has also recently had Dr Peter McCullough on his show.

As a distinguished US cardiologist, epidemiologist and author, he too has rattled the cages of the establishment around their response to, and treatments of, the disease.

Speaking your truth to power simply gets you booted off the larger conversation. That’s why rumble and other platforms are emerging.

Dr McCullough is very critical of the lack of protocols around early treatment by his colleagues and governments. As such, he developed his own.

He makes the claim that early treatment should include virucidal gargling and virucidal nasal sprays.

McCullough and Malone are just two doctors who are being silenced and de-platformed – they are well established, highly respected and pro-vaccination.

In a special message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950,  President Harry S. Truman said, ‘Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear’.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]


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  1. Where has this sudden lurch come from Hans? I don’t accept that it’s the case that ever since early 2020 “‘ their’ focus has been entirely on vaccination as a way forward”.

    Indeed for many months we were told that vaccines could be years away if possible at all. To varying degrees, according to jurisdiction, preventative measures like lockdowns, TTIQ and masks have been, and still are employed. At the same time research has continued furiously into a range of treatments with the best results seemingly only just emerging. Some were discarded along the way as ineffective.

    I really can’t understand the whole “big pharma” scam thing when vaccination is probably the cheapest and biggest bang for buck public health strategy. It’s constantly pushed but I haven’t seen any concomitant messaging to ditch the hand sanitiser.

    I think it’s way too simplistic and far from accurate to say “some are silenced on mainstream social media platforms for suggesting that COVID-19 treatments and promotion of a healthy diet should be part of the virus solution”. Who’s ever suggested a healthy diet is not desirable? Who’s ever condemned a multi faceted approach to prevention and treatment? What has been condemned is deliberate disinformation, and the use of algorithms to send hooked individuals further along its vortex.

    It’s fine to be a champion of free speech and civil liberties. It’s also crucial to understand the implications of living with the huge reach and Wild West, largely unregulated world of citizen journalism and social media. I’ve though the Echo has shown such an appreciation – now’s not the time to start straddling the fence.

  2. Thanks Hans for this comment. I note also that Rogan has switched from Twitter to Gettr because of the censorious nature of the former. Of course it’s hard navigating platforms that do allow greater levels of free speech as you’ll have to wade through a lot of nonsense of the conspiratorial and mischievous type but it’s absolutely worth it. As Milton said, free speech is as much about the right of the listener to hear as the speaker to talk. What self respecting person would say ‘yes, I’d like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg to decide what I can and cannot hear or read.’

  3. This is in response to the editorial by Hans Lovejoy;
    Disappointed to see this unsubstantitated opinion be published , it adds nothing to the body of accurate information people need at the moment.
    Having said that , it does show how opinion can be dressed up as something substantitive.
    This is not “information” but more antivax diatribe.
    Here’s some highlights;

    “Yet those who have questioned the vaccine-only solution, have, let’s face it, been hectored and marginalised.”

    Maybe because what they are saying is wrong and perhaps even outright dangerous.
    Please provide evidence of ANY government or academic research institution that says VACCINATION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION. This is a fallacy promoted by US conspiracy theory orgs such as QAnon. As is BIG PHARMA.
    There will be no evidence forthcoming as every established organisation (CDC, DEPT HEALTH AU etc) say vaccines are ONE method of a multipronged approach including ;
    • Vaccines
    • Hygiene
    • Testing
    • Isolation
    • Distancing
    • Ventilation
    “As a distinguished US cardiologist, epidemiologist and author, he too has rattled the cages of the establishment around their response to, and treatments of, the disease. ”
    *Texas A and M University fired him for making unsubstantiated anti vaccination and pro natural remedy claims about Covid -19.
    * Baylor University Medical Center sued McCullough end of July 2021 claiming he had breached a separation agreement reached in February 2021 by continuously identifying himself as a member of BUMC or BSSW.
    * he is not an epidimiologist- no records of any formal qualifications found.
    * depending on your definition of an “author”; he is not a scientific author. His name is not listed as an author in any peer reviewed Medical Journal. It is common on many WORDPRESS sites, blogs and linked websites . His claims of hundreds of medical articles appear to be FICTION. Maybe before the pandemic he did publish articles about Cardiology…..who knows?

    “McCullough and Malone are just two doctors who are being silenced and de-platformed – they are well established, highly respected and pro-vaccination. ”

    What is the basis for this claim? Who are they respected by? Viewers of their You tube vids or Facebook posts. They are definitely not respected by Doctors and the medical research Profession.
    Some commentators are suggesting they have been silenced and de platformed because they put their economic interests ahead of the interests of their patients and the general public. You decide.
    They make their living by telling and promoting lies about the vaccination program and Vaccines. I can t see any evidence to the contrary.
    To say they are Pro Vaccination is ludicrous.
    What exactly is the purpose of this article? Was it to inform Echo readers of some important FACTS or INFORMATION?
    Obviously not.
    Was it to provide some balance in Editorial articles? I would suggest not.
    Unless this was written as a Satirical Piece (went over my head) , I would suggest that it was done by the Editor- “because he can”.
    We have enough “real” things to think about without having to see this less than accurate opinion piece presented as FACT.

    best to last;
    “and creates a country where everyone lives in fear’”
    I live in FEAR; fear of having to listen to/read the absolute hogwash being given out by the Conspiracy Theorists.
    What’s the Echo doing to stop this?
    ECHO RATING ; 1/10 ;
    ECHO ; lift your game please these types of articles are not balancing the debate but confusing it with unsubstantiated opinion.

  4. I am surprise at your thinking above. You are an editor and one supposes editors have staff. Therefore as the boss, it is incumbent upon you to lead motivate and control your team. I too have led large teams. I am supposing that you, like myself, encouraged discussion and ideas from your team. Inevitably, in time, you will have a staff member whose views, in spite of reasoned debate, are intransigent in their position. If possible you may work around this position when the consequences are not prohibitive. However there are time when opposition causes ill feeling and harm to the other members of the team. Then what?
    Do you go ahead with majority decision (democracy) and over-rule the dissident? Choose to support the dissenting voice and upset the majority (Authoritarian)?
    This is called leadership and it is an onerous task, often with no clear winners.
    Leaving aside the legal ramifications; imagine if a staff member refused to wear a seat belt as it inhibited their freedoms and was controlling by government? So you say “your life you can do as you please”. If that person then is involved in a car smash and is left as a paraplegic. You now don’t have a staff member, and all tax payers will have to foot approx. $2million per annum for life.
    It’s not overly black and white, but leaders have to make decisions (not on their own but supported by experts) which may tread on peoples choices, sensitivities and “rights” in the real world

  5. Sorry, loss me when you mentioned joe Rogan, right wing conspiracy theorist.only thing of interest here is the link between extreme right wing and the promoters of alternate treatments. When he had Covid Rogan used some very big pharma products to deal with it, like monoclonal antibodies. The abuse didn’t come from vaccine promoters but from the so-called freedom fighter manipulated by the right wing media like Rogan.

      • On April 23, Rogan encouraged “healthy” young people not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, saying, “If you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I’ll go no.” According to The Verge, Spotify reviewed these comments but did not find them in violation of any policies, thus leaving the episode live. Public health experts and White House officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci condemned Rogan’s comments. Whilst he may not be completely ‘anti-vax’ there are a lot of examples like this cited by his critics to show he spreads COVID misinformation.

  6. Oh Hans, have you really drunk the cool-aid?
    I’m very sad to read this editorial.
    It’s ill-informed, dangerous and promotes the batshit crazy- things I’d never expect from you.

  7. Through the pandemic the Echo has been just as bad as the mainstream media.
    Heavily pro vax and definitely not publishing any views criticising the Echo..

  8. Oh dear…..it’s like being on Facebook. Opinion bereft of facts. Kind of surprised so little investigation went into these many claims. I have no idea who said vaccinations were the only way out – they’re part of the proposed solution and nearly every medical expert I’ve read has said it’s a multi-pronged approach and they’re not the full solution nor should be depended on solely. As for silencing other doctors, the ones quoted here are rife on the internet across all social media. How are they being silenced? If their posts are taken down, it only serves their narrative that they’re being “silenced”, which in turn makes them even more…er…”famous”. Maybe these platforms are the only ones left to them as most scientific forums have discredited them. Indeed, it’s difficult finding recent studies by them that have any relevance. Dr Malone continually claims he invented mRNA. Seems scientists also have egos no matter how erroneous they are. Such a pity the Echo’s gone this way. Good luck in 2022.

    • Rogan’s show thrives on this stuff, according to Alex Paterson, a researcher at Media Matters who analysed 350 hours of his show it is … ‘a cesspool of toxic masculinity that discusses elk hunting, mixed martial arts, anti-trans views, and harmful health information about the coronavirus pandemic’… ‘He’s the darling of the conservative right in the United States’. You can read his analysis on theverge.com. Sure, that’s also mere opinion, but I’m thankful to Paterson for actually enduring it so I don’t need to.

      • Wow, I don’t think you’re even aware you’re being ironic!
        “Sure, that’s also mere opinion, but I’m thankful to Paterson for actually enduring it so I don’t need to.”
        God forbid that I should ever relish the idea of out sourcing my cognitive abilities to another.

  9. I do not believe Hans has stepped out of line. Truman’s run with ‘silencing
    the voice of opposition’ is a dead duck for all of us if speech is no longer free.
    I’ve refused to be lead by any Social Media due to its ‘trendiness, interviews
    & brain-dead assertions. These are no more than a ‘view’ of MeMe that I
    can pick-up on ABC should I choose to bend an ear on a subject of interest.
    The world needs questions & answers empowering the dirge of subjects
    these days. Sure – we are all ‘strung out’ considering plague 1/2/3. Try a
    bit of kindness & common sense… it won’t bite you.

  10. Hans, your editorial opinion might be your own, but you represent the largest of the independent media voices in the Northern Rivers, and this sort of message is dangerous. It reeks of entitlement. A private enterprise has its terms of service, and these covid-denying voices continue to breach those terms. This is not censorship. I have just made a previous comment about people who view themselves as progressives, disseminating ideas that are repeated and amplified by those on the far-right. You are doing the same. Malone and McCollough (and most people interviewed by Rogan) are darlings of the conservative media. Their claims have been continually debunked. This is not difficult information to discover.

    That an editor cannot seem to demonstrate any basic digital literacy skills, is deeply, deeply troubling. The rest of the country looks at this area with undisguised bewilderment because of behaviour like this – and they’re right to do so. This editorial will hopefully see a flood of complaints to the Press Council; I will certainly be contacting them to discuss.

    • And yet the Echo allows you to have YOUR opinion…(without having to log in to facebuuk and the likes)
      So shouldn’t it be ok to hear the opinions of others regardless of whether you agree or not?
      Thanks for sharing.

  11. I Would be most interested to hear what former Editors of the echo make of Hans opinions .are you a fan of Joe Rogan , Michael McDonald ???

  12. It’s genuinely bizarre to see people who have been sucked into a parallel media-propagandised universe where Peter McCullough is not an esteemed doctor, Robert Malone did not play a key role in the development of mRNA vaccines, early COVID treatments in the form of pharmaceuticals and supplements are dangerous and should be avoided, and we should just let hospitals fill up and presumably collapse under the combined pressure of staff shortages driven by vaccination mandates, COVID vaccine adverse reactions, and new incoming COVID cases.

    • Martin, mate, this discussion wasn’t about the credentials of McCullough and Malone. Exactly where has anybody spoken against pharmaceutical treatments or suggested supplements are dangerous? Maybe suggesting that some untested, untrialled herbal remedies are the best and only way to go, could be judged this way.

      It’s not the vaccine mandate that is causing the staff shortages in hospitals but the number furloughed or sick from exposure to the virus reported in the SMH today to be an “unprecedented” 5,200. Additionally: “A Liverpool Hospital ICU nurse – who spoke on condition of anonymity – said at least 20 intensive care nurses had left the hospital following the Delta wave”. Maybe the ones tired of abuse from the unvaccinated infected and their families demanding vaccination and/or ivermectin.

      Although Omicron is showing greater vaccine resistance, given that it is believed to still afford protection from serious disease, vaccination would still appear to be the best way to ameliorate strain on hospitals. How many people are actually in hospital right now for adverse vaccine reactions?

      We live in a post truth world but I reckon it’s still best not to just make things up. But thanks, I reckon your little diatribe has given us a wonderful illustration of the dangers of totally unfiltered BS on social media platforms.

      • My comment was partly as response to Vic From Mwbah, and the army of people out there who think like him. However, thanks for pointing out potential virus exposure as a fourth cause of hospitals being overloaded.

        • I didn’t say “potential” virus exposure, I said exposure.

          Hospital are overloaded due to the double whammy of an influx of admissions and a shortage of staff.

          There were two main reasons that the 5,200 staff were away that day: they were either infected themselves and had to isolate until considered not infectious, or they had to isolate because exposure to the virus had made them a risk. They were furloughed.

          Anything unclear about any of that?

  13. Journalism no – it’s a spectrum attempting to deal with the ‘stuffed up in-our-face
    hype on all levels’ & feed-ins from our ‘allowed’ Social Media that gets its kicks
    stirring the [should I say] those 2 sides of our selves! Journalism’s ‘kick in the gut’
    readership gets to hell & back on deliberate side-tracking in order to squash all
    topics. Like a flea storm the ‘topic’ is screwed due to the ‘meme’. I’ve had enough
    of being verbally stood-on once my ‘belief’ is on the page. If my article is on oranges
    that’s the sentiment. . . shove your belief on the afterlife & let’s play a political
    ham sandwich instead. Not good enough.

  14. An interesting editorial that upholds the reigning narrative while questioning the process. The echoing of controlled opposition with the appearance of independent cognition. Yet these doubts of cosy totalitarian ways scares the readership and shrill voices demand greater obedience to the narrative.

  15. wow … from ‘alternative newspaper’ to ‘alt-news’

    call me old fashioned … but i like real journalism and this just doesn’t pass the muster

    Echo just doesn’t cut it anymore … while there’s been some fond memories over the many years – you can stick this bs now

    people are dead … and people are killing themselves with this derp … time to snap TF out of it alt-Mullum

  16. Times have changed, Fred. All the ‘real journalism’ is not working because
    ‘readers are beyond reading & listening.’ Social Media swallows humankind.
    Real journalism is definitely still here. Read it. It would help as well to ‘quit’
    seeing the negative.

  17. The debunkings of Rogan’s Malone interview are varied and many. Here is one.

    It would take very little time to determine that both Malone and McCullough are not credible sources. Time that Hans Lovejoy has not spent because he surely would have mentioned that their views are not supported by mainstream medical establishment and are at the very least hugely controversial.


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