This week, YouTube deleted footage of a COVID-19 roundtable discussion between Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and medical experts from Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard. The doctors and medical experts reportedly disputed Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance that children wear masks in school to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Cody McCloud, DeSantis’s press secretary, condemned the move as “another blatant example of Big Tech attempting to silence those who disagree with their woke corporate agenda,” NBC News reported.
“YouTube claimed they removed the video because ‘it contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities,’ yet this roundtable was led by world-renowned doctors and epidemiologists from Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, all of whom are eminently qualified to speak on the global health crisis,” McCloud argued. “Good public health policy should include a variety of scientific and technical expertise, and YouTube’s decision to remove this video suppresses productive dialogue of these complex issues.”
Indeed, the panel included Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University; Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School; Sunetra Gupta, an infectious disease epidemiologist and epidemiology professor at Oxford University; and former Trump White House COVID-19 advisor Dr. Scott Atlas.
The roundtable had been embedded in a WTSB TV’s news story. Jeffrey Tucker, editorial director at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), first reported the fact that YouTube had removed it.
Tucker praised DeSantis for taking the lead in rejecting lockdowns. He argued that the governor “became a master of knowledge and erudition on matters of public health and the cell biological issues concerning immunity,” and he praised DeSantis for following the Great Barrington Declaration, which AIER sponsored. He faulted YouTube for its policy on removing “misinformation” that contradicts the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
“YouTube has clear policies around Covid-19 medical misinformation to support the health and safety of our users,” YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez said in a statement. “We removed AIER’s video because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
While YouTube allows videos “that otherwise violate our policies to remain on the platform if they contain sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context,” the platform apparently decided that the roundtable with scientific experts whose advice helped DeSantis make policy decisions on the COVID-19 pandemic did not fall under the “educational” umbrella.
“Our policies apply to everyone and focus on content regardless of the speaker or channel,” Hernandez insisted.
NBC News — which put “free market” in air quotes while describing AIER as “a ‘free market’ think tank” — suggested that the video violated YouTube’s rules when the medical experts questioned the wisdom of requiring children to wear face masks in school.
“Uh, children should not wear face masks, no. They don’t need it for their own protection, and they don’t need it for protecting other people either,” Kulldorff argued.
Bhattacharya argued that mask-wearing “is developmentally inappropriate and it just doesn’t help on the disease spread.”
“There’s no scientific rationale or logic to have children wear masks in school,” Atlas added.