Home/Rod Dreher/Why Did YouTube Remove The Doctors’ Briefing?

Why Did YouTube Remove The Doctors’ Briefing?

Dr. Dan Erickson, from a medical briefing spiked by YouTube (Source)

Received this letter from Wyoming Doc today, which I post with his permission:

Over the last few days, I along with some 5 million other Americans watched a video of 2 ER doctors in California discussing our current status and situation regarding COVID. They had their own spin on the government’s own numbers. They said a few things that I categorically disagree with. I disagree with lots of things I read and see. That is part of having a human mind that can think critically. The ER docs’ overall take was that the current lockdown approach was not helping and very likely making things worse — not only with the viral epidemic, but certainly with our economy.

I will confirm for you that for the last three weeks, my number of COVID patients has been absolutely dwarfed by the number of patients with acute anxiety, depression, wife beating, child beating, suicidal ideation, and any number of young grown men crying like babies on televisits or in my office. Large numbers of people are losing their livelihood, and they are freaking out. We are headed for a severe tragedy in this society, and its name is not COVID.

I will also tell you that I am on a conference call every day with some of the pre-eminent epidemiologists and infectious disease doctors in this country. Just Monday, one of the brightest epidemiologic minds in this nation basically stated – and I am paraphrasing – “I am certainly not minimizing this virus. This thing is evil. But it, like its cousins, is not really amenable to our current approaches. The immunity response is looking more and more like it is variable and incomplete. Therefore vaccines and immunity testing are going to be very unreliable if not impossible with our current abilities. That may change in the future, but who knows how long that will take. More importantly, a fundamental aspect of public health — herd immunity — may be very different with this current virus than we have experienced before. This virus is most definitely not measles. We just do not know the extent yet, but things are certainly not going to be what we are used to. Because of this, the current lockdown approach may not be of any help at all; it may actually be making things worse. We just do not know — and the stakes are enormous. We absolutely have a tiger by the tail. We are walking through the undiscovered country.”

This statement had some things in common with the two physicians in California on their YouTube video. Nothing they said was inflammatory. They were not instructing anyone to harm themselves. They were doing nothing but questioning the current narrative and the current recommendations from the authorities. Again, a few of the things they said I categorically disagree with. If anyone has proof of what they said that was incorrect, I AM ALL EARS. This is called debate and investigation. In their own way, they were making some of the same points as the epidemiologist on my phone calls.

Rod, the very essence of medicine is that we have to evaluate current facts on a minute by minute basis with all of our patients — and often we have to make huge midstream corrections. Could it be that the current facts on the ground about this virus no longer support the extreme measures we are taking? Have we learned more about its nature to fine-tune our response?

But this morning was spine-chilling for me. Why am I so concerned? THIS ER DOC VIDEO WAS JUST PULLED BY YOUTUBE. Just like the UV light company, for reasons that are completely unclear.

My fear is that the docs were intelligently countering the prevailing narrative. They exposed 5 million sets of eyeballs to their take on things. They were making too much sense. Opponents of theirs have every right to put up their own YouTube videos. And they have. And the opponent video I have seen make very good points — and they also said things that I believe are categorically untrue.

However, the whole exercise has made me think and think hard about this whole thing. I know from my facebook feed that other doctors I have as friends all over this country are thinking hard too. Examining every angle — AS THEY SHOULD BE DOING. And they are often coming to the same conclusions. What if the official narrative is not entirely correct? Why are we NOT evaluating current data, and making course corrections? Why are the American people being exposed to a constant end-of-the-world narrative that may have been more in tune with data from two months ago, but certainly is not now.

I watched Rachel Maddow last week and wanted to go and blow my head off. It is the end of the world, you know. Ummm, no it is not Rachel. You, Rachel, would do so much more for your country by hosting a debate about these issues rather than putting up the same old talking heads on your side. FOX would do the country a favor by doing the same thing.

This is very scary for those of us who love the intellectual challenges and debates in medicine. It is only through these debates that progress is made.

I have watched this kind of thing happen in journals, lecture halls, conference halls, and classrooms my entire career. Debates are always clarifying and edifying. THEY MAKE US ALL THINK ABOUT OUR TIGHTLY HELD IDEAS, AND OFTEN MAKE US REALIZE HOW WRONG WE ARE.

I deeply admire both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. They are brilliant experts. I love to hear their side of things. It is expertly presented. However, to the surprise of many Americans, especially the cable TV lovers, there are actually experts just as bright who disagree with them in some aspects of this — and get little if any coverage at all on the national news. I would also add that I can guarantee you that both of these ER doctors individually have way more actual on the ground experience with COVID than Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx combined. All voices deserve to be heard in total.

I will tell the story of one of the best examples of “official narrative” in my career. The man who wrote the standard historical textbook of endocrinology was a very old man when I was a resident in the early 1990s. At the time we were giving out female hormones to every single menopausal woman in the country — literally handing them out like Halloween candy. A lecturer from the OB GYN department at Harvard ( a worldwide expert in hormonal replacement therapy ) was at our school for Grand Rounds in 1992. The thesis of her presentation was that we were not giving women enough hormones, that the dose needed to be doubled or tripled. It was also her opinion that we should not wait until menopause: hormones should be started the very day a woman decided to no longer have kids.

The use of hormones was so ingrained in all of our minds at this time that no one even thought about saying a word. This was standard operating procedure. This old man endocrinologist — 92 years old at the time — stood up – hobbled to the front, ot his finger pointed at her face, and said, “YOU ARE GOING TO RUE THE DAY YOU ARE RECOMMENDING THIS. GIVING WOMEN EVEN ONE DROP OF HORMONES IS A DISASTER FOR THEM!”

He was laughed off the stage by all the OB docs. One even said men could just never understand. He was also lambasted for using data and facts from the 1950s. He stood his ground with them. Valiantly. All of the arguments verbalized against him that day — every one — were cultural, gender-related, emotional or political. NONE were medical or scientific. But no one listened to him. At that time hormonal replacement was the OFFICIAL narrative. If you did not toe the line, you were a misogynist, a moron or worse.

I learned a lot about ad hominem attacks that day. But I also learned way more about projecting your political beliefs onto medicine. As time went on, my complete respect for that professor has blossomed — because he stood his ground against all the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the official narrative.

Of course, we all know the result of that debate. The wanton use of hormones did indeed prove to be a disaster. It killed and maimed literally thousands upon thousands of women. These drugs easily killed exponentially more women than COVID ever has. We have looked back on the studies that supported the use of hormones, and found complete disregard for the scientific method, complete deception about the data, and injection of a political/ cultural debate into science where it most definitely never belonged. This whole affair will be a stain on medicine forever. Those that knew the problems like my old professor were laughed at and silenced by their colleagues with dishonest agendas, the drug companies, the politicians, the medical establishment and the media.

Have we as a society learned a thing from mistakes like this? Absolutely not. It is clear to me the advent of electronic media and the complete control of that media by a few Silicon Valley oligarchs has multiplied this assault on ideas exponentially.

My blood turned cold when I found out about YouTube disappearing this video today. If anyone of your readers knows more about the reasons, I would really like to know. This is antithetical to the scientific method. This is against everything this country — indeed Western Civilization — is founded upon. It is critical that we debate one other in any endeavor that involves science. And it is very scary to me that one side can just be disappeared. We are entering territory that is a very slippery slope.

It is completely disheartening to see a debate — probably one of the most critical in our nation’s history — stopped by a Silicon Valley company disappearing one of the combatants, for no other obvious reason than someone daring to question the prevailing media narrative.

I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING IN THE USA.

Rod, I really would like your take on this. The good the bad and the ugly are being brought out in us by this pandemic. This to me is a very concerning step on a slippery slope.

Here is a link to the website of the California television station that aired the briefing. You can watch the entire briefing there. The station says it went viral, and had received over 5 million views. The station acknowledges that YouTube took down its video of the briefing, and says it was given no reason for the act other than the briefing violated YouTube standards.

Not knowing why YouTube took down the briefing, I am hesitant to say anything. But I absolutely believe that it’s wrong to censor what qualified medical professionals (read: not quacks) are saying about the crisis, which is so unique in our experience as a nation. A strong lockdown was necessary at first. If there is good medical evidence that the lockdown, and related public health strategies, might be doing more harm that good at this date, then let’s hear that argument.

UPDATE: A reader sends in this official statement from the American College of Emergency Physicians:

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) jointly and emphatically condemn the recent opinions released by Dr. Daniel Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi. These reckless and untested musings do not speak for medical societies and are inconsistent with current science and epidemiology regarding COVID-19. As owners of local urgent care clinics, it appears these two individuals are releasing biased, non-peer reviewed data to advance their personal financial interests without regard for the public’s health.

COVID-19 misinformation is widespread and dangerous. Members of ACEP and AAEM are first-hand witnesses to the human toll that COVID-19 is taking on our communities. ACEP and AAEM strongly advise against using any statements of Drs. Erickson and Massihi as a basis for policy and decision making.

My guess is that YouTube was contacted by ACEP, which asked YouTube to take down the briefing. As Wyoming Doc attests, herd mentality is a thing in medicine. Maybe ACEP is right, though. I’m in no position to judge that. I would imagine that YouTube deferred to the organization’s expertise. I can’t help wondering, though, why unconventional medical speculation by a couple of physicians merits this kind of treatment by YouTube, which otherwise allows all kinds of videos through.

Is there something I’m not understanding here? Seriously, help me out.

UPDATE.2: Just approved all the comments that had been building up. There are lots of links there criticizing the scientific information and reasoning of these two docs, for what it’s worth.

UPDATE.3: This just in from Wyoming Doc:

Rod – I would like to say a few words about some of the things your commenters are saying.

I agree with their statements – they have found the exact same glaring problems I did when I first saw this video.

That does not mean they should be banned from the Internet.

I have 30 years of sitting through medical lectures galore where people were obviously spewing misinformation.

My job as a CRITICAL THINKER is to find the truth but more importantly the chestnuts they may impart and give me – TO MAKE MY MIND THINK.

And this video did exactly that – It has made me think. It has made me question assumptions.

More importantly, based on my Facebook feed of 843 friends and family members – it has made lots of Americans think. I applied gentle redirection in a few cases this weekend to the obvious errors – but normal non-medical thinking Americans were coming up with chestnuts about what these 2 said – that made even me think.

What is wrong with us? We have a crisis of the ages – and we are afraid of our citizenry thinking through problems? Really? Is it that bad?

One commenter talks about epidemiology and how most doctors do not know anything about it. WRONG. I sat through an entire hour a day for 2 years doing epidemiology and medical informatics. I guarantee I know a lot more about it than Lady Gaga who seems to be a go to expert on MSNBC. Or Dr. Phil on FOX. Some of the medical “experts” – not really MDs – on both side’s media have been laughably incompetent. It is really hard to be scientific when you are trying to inject politics into something this complicated. And they prove it constantly.

The coup de grace however is the statement from the ACEP – I urge each one of you to go look at it.

I. COULD. NOT. HAVE. MADE. MY. POINT. BETTER.

OMG. THE SMUG ARROGANCE. IT BURNS.

This small little statement is the very definition of an ad hominem attack. It should be used as an example in law schools and logic courses everywhere. My little gray cells take me back to my undergraduate days and my LOGIC 101 course. The wizened professor’s first syllabus page. AD HOMINEM ATTACKS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED IN THIS COURSE. TO ENGAGE IN THEM INDICATES TO ALL THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY LOST YOUR ARGUMENT.

When the ACEP is resorting to name-calling as their only line of defense, you know they have a big problem. They have placed zero evidence of any kind in this piece. They do not even bother to point out what the evildoers said that were “reckless and untested musings”. What part of the official narrative has been tested in a controlled trial? Please tell me.

I know you say you care about the public and their health, ACEP – Well 5 million of the public looked at this video this weekend – and many of those people are now thinking about this situation much more critically – and appropriately so. Their very lives and livelihoods depend on what we do next. Before attempting to destroy your own member’s reputations – at least one by one point out the problems you had with the video – and PUT YOUR OWN EVIDENCE FORWARD. IN DETAIL. REFERENCES PLEASE – They cannot – because there is precious little evidence for anything about COVID. I just cannot believe you took the step of bashing two of your member’s reputations. And criticizing anyone for not producing peer-reviewed evidence at this stage of the game is IMBECILE. There is no peer-reviewed anything – we have not had the time. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx say things all the time that are not peer-reviewed.

This kind of thing is exactly why the doctors on the ground in this country have increasingly zero patience with these big national medical organizations – their endless money draining from members, the constant meaningless testing (MOC), the million and a half dollar salaries, the 6 million dollar condos.

And financial interest my ass. You and your minions are probably already looking for ways to de-license or de-board these 2 guys. How dare they say a word about the official narrative.

Friends – I want to harken back to my original letter. This kind of tripe is exactly how the ACOG and the ABIM behaved when the research started going against them in the hormone replacement therapy trials. Multiple small statements like this full of ad hominem venom were commonplace from both of them. This is specifically why I put the words “medical establishment” in my letter to Rod.

This response is not the response of a serious medical organization grounded in science – they are showing the true colors – the official narrative must be protected no matter what. SHAME ON THEM – ALL OF THEM.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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