Opinion: Misinformation versus the First Amendment

In her weekly column, Nancy Churchill asks, ‘who decides what information is true or false?’

In her weekly column, Nancy Churchill asks, ‘who decides what information is true or false?’

Nancy Churchill
Dangerous Rhetoric

When looking for information on the health crisis, we often see “fact checks” and accusations of “misinformation.” But, who decides what information is true or false? Fact checking organizations frequently lie or post misleading information themselves, in order to support an official narrative. Only later does the truth rise to the surface of the public awareness. Truth comes forward due to investigative reporting, public testimony, and a free press.

Nancy Churchill
Nancy Churchill

The Founding Fathers considered freedom of speech to be vital for the proper function of our government and our society. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states (in part) that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

In 1949, in the case of Terminiello v. Chicago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote that the “function of free speech … is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.” (https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment/page/first-amendment-timeline). An open public debate serves a higher purpose; through conversation and public discourse, humanity collectively searches for better solutions to our mutual problems.

It’s not a new thing for those in authority to want to suppress information that threatens their authority and power. In an article about the development of the printing press (https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/printing-press), we learn that In 1501, Pope Alexander VI promised excommunication for anyone who printed manuscripts without the church’s approval. Twenty years later, books from John Calvin and Martin Luther spread, bringing into reality what Alexander had feared.

Between 1615 and 1633, Galileo was persecuted by the Catholic Church due to his support of Copernican heliocentrism (Earth rotating daily and revolving around the sun). He was tried by the Catholic Church, condemned by the Roman Inquisition and placed on house arrest in 1633 for the remainder of his life. Today, he is known as the “father of modern science!” Catholic authorities could condemn the man, but the ideas could not be suppressed forever.

Presenting scientific studies that challenge the status quo is not a personal attack on anyone. It is the duty of all people, regardless of their training and background, to be open minded and seriously consider available data. I recently heard in an interview that over 250,000 scientific studies on COVID-19 had been published by the end of September, 2021. At the very least, that’s a lot of data to review. There is NO scientific consensus on the effectiveness of the new shots or about their safety.

Concerned Americans fear that our government and our health systems have been captured by the medical-industrial complex, which is earning record profits. We are now facing a future filled with endless booster shots, which apparently will only be effective for a short time. We have legitimate concerns about the safety and efficacy of the experimental treatments. These concerns need to be investigated, not disparaged or swept under the rug.

We also have scientific news from other countries to consider. These countries have seen success using inexpensive alternative therapies that are currently unavailable in our community. If these alternative therapies are not effective, then why are El Salvador and Uttar Pradesh, India, seeing success using Ivermectin? (https://newsrescue.com/the-undeniable-ivermectin-miracle-indias-240m-populated-largest-state-uttar-pradesh-horowitz/) Unlike the mandated shots, Ivermectin has a 60-year track record of “doing no harm” ( https://covid19criticalcare.com/ivermectin-in-covid-19/ ). Why are these alternate medicines not available in the U.S.? It’s a valid question that deserves an honest answer and a congressional investigation or two.

If mask mandates and vaccine passports are vital to control this illness, why are countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden dropping those requirements? (https://fee.org/articles/how-finland-and-norway-proved-sweden-s-approach-to-covid-19-works/) Why are COVID treatments being forced on persons who already have natural immunity from a previous infection? Studies show that natural immunity is more robust than the mandated shots. (https://www.theblaze.com/op-ed/horowitz-15-studies-that-indicate-natural-immunity-from-prior-infection-is-more-robust-than-the-covid-vaccines#toggle-gdpr) Why not reserve those limited experimental treatments for those who really need them?

These legitimate concerns must be addressed persuasively with valid scientific studies and honest public dialogue. Remember, “the function of free speech … is to invite dispute.” As we’ve been told, “science evolves.” That evolution needs to continue in the public sphere without censorship. If public debate is being attacked and demeaned, it is to the benefit of some power structure. The question is, which one?

Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.

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Scott Hooper
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Scott Hooper
10 days ago

Well written. Thank you.

I could not agree more about free press and open dialog, and I whole-heartedly agree with our founders.

But, (there’s always a but), we have a new problem with information in our culture.

“Who decides what information is true or false” is your title, so let me answer: almost always, the experts; almost never those who disagree with them.

You cannot google your way to defeating those with 6+ years of college in their field and often decades of practical experience. To say that those people are lying to you is a conspiracy theory, and definitely something worth investigating in its own right, but start there–prove the conspiracy before you dismiss what they say. I mean, they are far rarer than most suppose, but they have happened in many venues.

And sure, occasionally someone who seems to have all the right credentials stands outspoken in complete opposition (for e.g. Plandemic), and who knows why: attention, money, maybe they just made an honest mistake. Nonetheless they are almost always proven wrong.

But, just take your example of Uttar Pradesh. Their cases (per capita) during the Delta spike were consistent with many other states, although yes, many were much higher. The article you linked said that in April they began giving ivermectin to people who were in isolation, yet their cases still spiked.

However, the WHO applauded that state for their massive effort to curb the pandemic, which included mandatory mask wearing, aggressive contact tracing and more recently a massive vaccine push. So here we have a state doing all the things Science tell us to do, and it working, but it seems some are ignoring that and focusing on the simple correlation of “State does good…Ivermectin.”

So, “Who decides?” It’s not you, or me, or someone googling. It’s the people who most certainly ‘should’ know.

Or, the vaccine. As of a bit more than a month ago there were just thread deaths in the U.S. from the COVID vaccine, all due to blood clotting (now treatable, by the way). Yet, people who are not part of those “in the know” continue to go to VAERS ( and other sources ) and mistakenly say that “thousands have died from the vaccine,” because they do not understand what they are reading there.

Open discourse is good. Skepticism is good. Misinformation is bad, and I suspect most of it is coming from people who think they know better than the professionals, but just don’t.

Oh, and the vaccine is not experimental. Besides an amazing record in the clinical trial, it is now in billions of bodies with practically no serious side-effects. This is why it got the full FDA approval.

A quick comment: imagine the turmoil if the vaccine studies had been as inconclusive as those regarding Ivermectin? Nearly nobody would get the vaccine, so I don’t understand why people would rather Ivermectin today.

Last edited 10 days ago by Scott Hooper
Living in the real world
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Living in the real world
9 days ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

Thank you for some intelligent info on a site that seems to thrive on misinformation.

Living in the real world
Guest
Living in the real world
9 days ago
Scott Hooper
Guest
Scott Hooper
8 days ago

Yes, I’ve seen poison control calls up over Ivermectin, and read posts from people who have shed the protecting lining of their intestines because of ODing on this.

Ivermectin is safe when dosed properly by a qualified clinician, but since there is no convincing evidence that it helps with COVID, most will not try it. Besides it being hard to understand the mechanism of action (it is used to treat parasites, which viruses are not), the oath to “Do no harm” that doctors take makes it unethical to give unproven treatments.

So, most of the damage is from people who have “done their own research” buying veterinary products and self-medicating.

Margaret
Guest
Margaret
8 days ago

Below are several reports of adverse health impacts or deaths after J&J innoculations
Exclusive: Healthy Young Mother Dies of Vaccine-Induced Blood Clot. Then Twitter Censors Her Obituary. • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)

John Francis Foley: 21-year-old University of Cincinnati student dead 24 hours after Johnson & Johnson shot – The COVID Blog

https://katu.com/news/coronavirus/oregon-woman-dies-after-getting-jj-vaccine-state-health-officials-say

35-Year-Old Woman Dies of Brain Hemorrhage 11 Days After Receiving J&J Vaccine • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)

18-Year-Old Undergoes 3 Brain Surgeries From Blood Clots After J&J Vaccine • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)

Healthy 43-Year-Old Man Suffers Stroke From Blood Clot Hours After Receiving J&J Vaccine • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)

A WA State Woman’s Struggle with J&J COVID-19 Vaccine Injury – Informed Choice Washington

Woman Regrets Getting J&J Vaccine After Suffering Blood Clots, German Scientists Say They May Know What’s Causing Clots • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)

Young Mother Suffers Brain Hemorrhage After Johnson & Johnson Vaccine – The Empoweror

Data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that between Dec. 14, 2020 and Sept. 24, 2021, a total of 752,803 adverse events following COVID vaccines were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
This week’s U.S. VAERS data, from Dec. 14, 2020 to Sept. 24, 2021, for all age groups combined, show:

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