Bad Faith Actors, and Understanding Political Weaponization and Media Bias, Through a Singular Case Study: Covid-19 and the “Injecting Bleach and Sunlight” Hoax

All Standards of Journalistic Integrity have been Abandoned by “Activist Journalism,” Intentionally Pushing an Agenda by Framing Tactics, with Mainstream Narratives Forged Through a Biased and Anti-Trump Lens. 

 

Let’s get one thing straight: the media is biased. This has always, in many ways, been the case; but in the Trump era, we have entered new territory. Not only is there bias, but it is exceedingly lopsided. This isn’t conjecture, and there have been numerous studies demonstrating a significant left-of-center, and more importantly, Anti-Trump bias. It is certainly true that the same issues affect the right, and “fake-news,” plagues both sides — whose audiences unconsciously seek out confirmation bias — the vast majority of sources not only lean left, but the most authoritative and “trusted,” sources, who present themselves as neutral, are biased. Accusing Fox News of a conservative-bent is fair; but they’re open about it. Tucker Carlson would never deny the biases in his political commentary. But we don’t see this from, say, CNN, and someone like Don Lemon, who are at least equally, if not significantly more biased. What we now have are journalists no longer pursuing the truth, but behaving as bad-faith actors as megaphones amplifying left-wing activism. It is all through a “Trump bad,” lens; these sources actively seek to take the opposing stance to anything Trump says or does. I’ve yet to see a single positive comment. Trump hasn’t started a war — is it so hard to acknowledge that as a good thing? Whereas, the more neutral or right-of-center, and even biggest Trump supporters, will at least criticize him when necessary.

And one of those moments deserving criticism? TRUMP TOLD EVERYONE TO INJECT BLEACH!!!

Except he didn’t. Now let’s be clear, his comments that led to these accusations are more than worthy of criticism. But the media failed to critique his comments, or analyze his intent, in good-faith. They made their motives clear: Trump isn’t just an idiot, but he’s dangerous, killing people, even. But to anyone who’s remained fairly neutral, maintained their capacity to think critically, continued doing extensive research, and… you know… actually listened to his full comment at the press conference, the truth is far more nuanced, far more fair on President Trump, and yet, still able to criticize him. What the media did here was nothing short of a coordinated misinformation campaign to further push their narrative of Trump as a bumbling, moronic, ignorant, and dangerous buffoon. A proper analysis of these comments would have meant journalists actually behaving as journalists — something they are more and more incapable of — so I’m here to do it for you.

Trump’s comments weren’t the brightest. Later commenting they were “sarcastic,” didn’t help his cause. But he didn’t say what the media told you he said (and in fact, misconstruing it that way was far more dangerous than Trump’s remarks. Clarifying them with the proper analysis would have followed journalistic standards and benefitted public health and safety… but they wouldn’t have made a monster of Trump; and that is my point: they are not journalists anymore, and have an agenda: Tell the public every day what an evil, moronic monster he is. 

So what did Trump actually say?

“So I asked Bill a question some of you are thinking of if you’re into that world, which I find to be pretty interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn’t been checked but you’re gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re gonna test that too, sounds interesting. And I then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way you can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that. So you’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me, so we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it goes in one minute, that’s pretty powerful.”

This took an active effort, no doubt. Nobody walked away with the same thoughts echoed in the mainstream media, until the mainstream media told them to. That doesn’t excuse the fact that these weren’t the brightest comments, but let’s consider a number of things:

First, Trump ad-libs, he riffs, he casually converses (in these press meetings) with the medical experts he knows and is aware are smarter and more informed than he is on these specific matters — that’s why he placed them on the Task Force, and asked them questions. There is no teleprompter, no pre-written speech, and thus, an unfiltered Trump sometimes says some not-so-smart things. But he never once said to inject bleach — in fact, he never said to do anything. He simply asked about some possible treatments; and dumb as they may initially seem, they aren’t absurd, nor were they never mentioned.

In fact, it is likely precisely because he had already read or heard about a few specific, and real, treatments being researched that he brought them up, even if he misinterpreted or misrepresented then. The same thing happened with Hydroxychloroquine: this wasn’t Trump’s idea, nor one he took credit for — he read about it as a possible treatment (perhaps even in an earlier peer-reviewed research article written by none other than Dr. Fauci that presented it as a viable treatment to coronaviruses), and then went on to talk about it. The rabid media then attributed it to Trump, and did everything in their power to demonstrate just how stupid he really is, even discrediting a safe and effective legacy drug as “deadly,” and “dangerous,” (which was irresponsible and dangerous itself). Good journalism would have shown otherwise: Trump actually keeps very up-to-date, looks into all possible avenues, and — knowing he isn’t a medical expert — then asks the team of experts that he assembled about what he had read.

So where did these ideas come from? So, Trump made these comments on April 24. On April 21, Aytu BioScience issued a press-release into the “Healight,” technology they were working on — a UV light therapy. It is more likely than not that Trump had read about this. It was on his mind a few days later when he brought it up at a press conference. As for injecting bleach? Well, he never said that. He mentioned disinfectant (of which there are far many more than just bleach, which apparently nobody knew) and then asked if there was a way to inject it or get it into the body. Somewhat a crazy proposition, sure… but far from something he pulled out of thin-air. While not proven, there have been clinical trials carried out by the Asociacion Ecuatoriana de Medicos Expertos en Medicina Integrativa that showed efficacy in intravenous chlorine dioxide (a disinfectant) in treating Covid-19.

So while these comments certainly weren’t brilliant, and defending them as “sarcasm,” was probably the worst tactic Trump could have employed, they were all simple musings — a conversation with questions — between Trump and the experts he surrounded himself with, something Dr. Birx defended him on. And further, they were actually all grounded in real treatments, research, and clinical trials currently being conducted. 

But the media did the same thing they always do: rabidly attack Trump showing just how obviously stupid he is. “Can you believe he told people to inject bleach? Or that sunlight will cure this? He’s KILLING people.” But it turns out his comments were all grounded in reality, representing more than anything that Trump has been staying current and up-to-date, even if he doesn’t, understandably, quite understand the science or medical aspects behind it. So while his comments were certainly less intelligent than a medical expert’s who spent a decade in school learning about these matters, they weren’t reflective of what the media told you they were.

And what followed only further showed the coordinated efforts to paint Trump in such a manner. Just following these comments, as Twitter and the MSM went berserk, Lysol issued statements of warning (that likely, along with the “bleach,” narrative, combined to create a far more dangerous situation than the questions Trump asked in the first place. Had the media covered this ethically, the population would have understood the proper context, even if they still recognized the comments as a bit out-there).

While the outrage continued, Twitter and Youtube BANNED a video-post from AYTU BioScience, a publicly-traded Colorado-based pharmaceutical company, after it promoted ultraviolet (UV) light developed in conjunction with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a potential treatment for the Chinese virus. They eventually reversed the censorship, but the fact is, it’s pretty clear why this happened. The truth couldn’t be known. We NEEDED to believe Trump was a moron, and there was simply no possible way anything that the president was talking about could in any way be grounded in actual reality, with legitimate companies and scientists working on the kind of treatments Trump was alluding to.

And it continued on. NPR and other outlets then went on to say how Poison Control Sees Uptick In Calls After Trump’s Disinfectant Comments  which wasn’t the truth at all — or at the least, the implication that it was due to Trump’s comments was completely false. This is why I tell people to read “How to Lie with Statistics.” This is a perfect example of how to take real data, and then use it to create a false narrative, paint a subjective opinion, or even an outright lie, as an objective fact backed by data. The truth was, yes, there was an uptick in poison-control calls, and it started long before Trump’s comments. Its explanation was obvious: people were panicked about a virus, and were using chemicals like Lysol and bleach at insane levels, far more than normal. Inevitably, people accidentally inhaled or ingested (to some degree) toxic levels of these chemicals, but in no way correlated to anything to do with Trump’s remarks, especially given that this uptick, as shown by the data, occurred before Trump’s remarks on UV light and disinfectant.

As a singular event, this might not mean much to so many; but when you follow along daily on policy, politics, media coverage, and the negative framing typically used, it becomes so clear what is happening. Seeking the truth, presenting the facts, and letting the public decide — the job of the journalist — is no longer their aim. They are partisan activists hell-bent on framing anything and everything President Trump says or does as being moronic, racist, bigoted, dangerous, evil, or any other typical leftist trope we’re pummeled with every day. It started before he was even elected, when they took comments out of context to create the Big Lie that Trump is a racist. Imagine if they held Biden to the same standards? Biden has demonstrated, multiple times, with scores of public comments, that he is genuinely racist — but the media completely ignores it. We can all imagine how the media would have responded if Trump said any of the absolutely racist things Biden has said and done, but he gets a free pass, because it doesn’t align with their agenda. So while Trump gets branded as a racist simply for wanting to secure the border in an effort to protect us from traffickers, criminals, etc, Biden can go on making remarks about how the Black community doesn’t have a diverse culture, how Obama was the first articulate Black man, or how “you ain’t black,” if you don’t vote for him.

The lesson that should be taken from this — whether you hate or love Trump — is to stop trusting the rage-bait headlines. Find other sources with different perspectives, and actively seek out if what you’re being told could be wrong. If you hold a position — whether left or right biased — always intentionally play devil’s advocate, and do everything in your power to disprove whatever narrative you initially believed, and see what side stands up. Intentionally seek out both left and right wing sources and forums, and both Pro-Trump and Anti-Trump forums to see what people have to say. Debate yourself by roleplaying both sides. As a former anti-Trumper, employing this method to every attack on Trump is what woke me up, and helped me realize that Trump isn’t nearly the…. whatever flavor-of-the-week negative stereotype attack the media tells us he is. This is one of many examples that demonstrate that, and I’ll provide more in the future [feel free to suggest any examples]. Wherever you stand, these occurrences have shown, at the very least, that Trump has been unquestionably right about the media. And whether you love Trump or hate him, he is the only logical choice right now, as the Left has gone so far off the deep-end that no sane person could support them, and the danger they pose to this country. Trump is not “one of them.” This is why he is hated by the establishment — left and right, republican and democrat — and that’s all you need to understand to know that he is the right man for the job right now. The more they push back, the more they lie, and the more rabid their behavior towards Trump — with actions clearly aimed to get him out of office — the more people are inclined to support him (with the exception of the radical ideologues that have already made up their minds that OrangeManBad).

The Toppling of Statues

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As a historian who’s spent more than enough time in public history, I will never be ok with statues being torn down by a violent mob. While still not a fan, I can get behind the removal of certain public statues through the proper means (which involves a standard diplomatic process between an organized group, or even an individual, working with the city, local historical society, and following the correct procedure to petition for its removal), and advocating for their display in a museum, with a replacement plaque explaining what statue once presided there, its historical significance, and reason for its removal.

That said, as a Northerner who holds obvious support for the outcome of the Civil War, I also have a far more nuanced understanding of the war, those who fought in it, and why people like Robert E. Lee were given statues, than most. As a society, we like to make villains of humans, focus on their flaws, and ignore the rest. The arguments many have made often include false-analogies to Hitler, which is a serious disservice to Lee. Many don’t know the history of Lee, that he almost fought for the Union, and his decisions to lead the Confederates had little to nothing to do with preserving the institution of slavery. While I want to make clear that this isn’t a defense of the Confederacy, or Lee, I would at least like people to learn their history a bit more, and understand the Civil War along with those who fought for “the bad guys,” with a more accurate and nuanced view. An unruly mob toppling statues isn’t only wrong procedurally, but does a massive disservice to so many, including President Lincoln. Lincoln gave full presidential pardons to Lee and other Confederates as part of a very calculated move. In fact, it may have saved the divided nation. This move helped reunite both factions of the country, and tearing down these statues in such a manner is spitting in the face of Lincoln and his brave and controversial efforts to restore unity.

But this is all irrelevant. One can almost forgive, or at least understand, an ignorant, historically illiterate mob, for tearing down the statue of a man who, to them, represents a goal of preserving slavery. But when statues continue coming down at such a speed that it becomes more and more apparent to be a coordinated attack, questions are warranted. And when it then extends to statues of our Founders, and an unruly mob is toppling the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and even abolitionists, outrage is the only warranted response.

When the men who gave us everything to create the greatest country on the planet, and even wrote the documents that paved the way for everything from emancipation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, never mind enshrining in the Constitution the very right that allowed these “peaceful protestors,” to peaceably assemble (apparently they missed the memo on the “peaceably,” part, as well as the whole “petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” clause) are having their statues violently removed, it is clear this is a coordinated attack against America, its history, and its values. And now, the attacks are moving to churches and Jesus Christ, himself. Being the man who taught us we are all born in sin, and we all have our flaws, it’s no wonder he needs to come down, too. After all, if we were to acknowledge that, perhaps we would understand our Founders, while still flawed humans, were some of the greatest people to ever live, responsible for some of humanity’s greatest achievements, and built more than these rioters ever have, or will ever be able to destroy.

No, this isn’t about George Floyd. This isn’t about slavery, social justice, racial equality, or anything with the semblance of being positive or worthwhile. This is a coordinated attack on America, and sadly, only those doing the attacking understand we are at war. How much longer will we sit idly by while being actively attacked by those who want to see this country, its values, its history, its traditions, and all of its greatness completely destroyed and permanently erased from history? Events like this are not new, just ask the USSR, or read any fictional dystopian novel (namely 1984). Every authoritarian government in human history rose to power after first dismantling everything that came before. Tarnishing its history, leaders, and heroes; demoralizing its population and convincing enough of them that their homeland is inherently bad, steeped in evil and immoral acts, deserving of nothing but maligned revisionism. Concurrently, they stifle free-speech, book-burn (or censor) to limit access to knowledge and history, and enable prejudice and hatred towards one specific group (race, or demographic), dehumanizing them by blaming all the nation’s ills on them (sound familiar?) thus justifying the most evil of crimes against humanity, so long as it’s aimed at “them.” Once this is completed, disarming the populace is a walk in the park, at which point there is nobody, or no way, left to defend freedom of speech, or any other protected right. This is when the country ends, or a civil war begins.

These riots are, by definition, riots; but their targets have made it clear that it is so much more than that. This is clearly no longer an emotional, irrational, yet somewhat understandable human response to an injustice. This is an act of war, an attack on America and everything good that it stands for; and yet, there are enough useful idiots defending it, cheering it on, or even participating themselves. By definition, Progressivism informs us this will continue, and even escalate, until action is taken; and then the cycle will repeat ad infinitum. What specifically that means remains to be seen, but it will likely get worse — far worse — before it gets better.

History from the Grave: Jonathan Bell, Goffstown’s Own Bunker Hill Hero

In Hillside Cemetery, row nineteen, in Goffstown, New Hampshire, lies the gravestone of Jonathan Bell, a colonist who fought Britain in the Revolution. His stone reads, from top to bottom: “Jonathan Bell. Died June 10, 1844. AE 89. He was in the battle of Bunker Hill, and afterwards served in the Army of the Revolution.” There is – what appears to be – a weeping willow engraved across the top of his stone. Along with his stone, there is a bronze grave marker identifying Jonathan Bell as a solider of the Revolution. These markers were standard for the tombstones of veterans, and are placed alongside every person in Hillside Cemetery who served in an American war.

With the help of the Goffstown Historical Society, I was directed to an organization known as “NH Roots,” to find some more information on Jonathan Bell. New Hampshire Roots utilizes online databases and works closely with local historical societies, to help provide an entry point into New Hampshire ancestral research. Additionally, I was able to find some information in the “Lineage Book – National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume 23.”

From these resources, a small amount of information could be obtained about Jonathan Bell, who was born in 1755. First, Chapter 4 of the online book on the website of NH-Roots states that: “In the month of August of this year it became necessary to pay some attention to the military affairs, and the quota of the town. Accordingly a bounty of 10 pounds for each man was offered for all those who should enlist, and be counted on the quota of the town of Goffstown, and the following is a list of the soldiers of Goffstown in Capt James Aiken’s Company, Col. Moses Kelley’s Regiment, who served under General Sullivan at Newport, R. I., August, 1778:” In this list of twenty-nine men from Goffstown, NH, is Jonathan Bell. It gives further information on each man, including some on Jonathan Bell, who at the time of enlistment, was “age 20; private; Capt. Samuel Richard’s Co., Col. John Stark’s Regt.; enlisted Apr. 23, 1775; Bunker Hill; time in service 3 months, 16 days; Capt. James Aiken’s Co., Col. Moses Kelley’s Regt.; enlisted Aug 7, 1778; expedition to Rhode Island.”  Along with this information, The American Monthly Magazine, under its “Revolutionary Records,” lists a number of obituary-like write-ups for a number of citizens, including one on Jonathan Bell, which states, “Bell, Jonathan, d. Goffstown, N.H., June 10, 1844, aged 89; was at Bunker Hill; also present at completion of Bunker Hill Monument, June 17, 1843.”

Through an archive, a document with Jonathan Bell’s name, among other soldiers from New Hampshire, can be found, listing each soldier’s rank, and annual allowance. Bell is listed under the Massachusetts Militia (Though documents make it unclear as to whether he served under the New Hampshire or Massachusetts Militia, or both) as a Private with an annual allowance of 36.44. He seems to be lower on the pay scale, with the lowest earners making around 20.00, and the highest earning roughly 400.00.

The gravestone itself, while beautiful, is typical of ordinary gravestones from this time, and resembles the large number of the common stones found at Hillside Cemetery. This seems to indicate that Jonathan Bell came neither from wealth, nor poverty, but was somewhat middle-class (for this time), also referred to as the “middling-sort.”. Documents show that he, as well as his son, were landowners. And while the maps are too difficult to identify the exact locations, as they were drawn over 200 years ago and no longer match the landscape of Goffstown, it can be found that the Bell family did own more than one property in Goffstown, which was passed on generationally, until being sold by Jonathan Bell Jr’s widow in 1848 to Thomas Richards. NH Roots lists Frank E. Page as the current owner of this particular home, which has since been moved to a new location in Goffstown.

The stone itself is adorned with what appears to be a weeping willow (though there is a chance it may be corn/maize). In its most simplistic symbolic interpretation, the weeping willow is representative of mourning, or sorrow. The weeping willow became a common gravestone symbol around the 1760s. The colonists, and then United State’s citizens, became fascinated with Ancient Greece, along with their art and architecture. This influence found its way in to funerary art (though it touched nearly every facet of American culture, from architecture, right down to the formation of the government following the Revolution), which is why so many tombstones with weeping willows, as well as Greek urns, obelisks and monuments, can be found from this era. A famous Grecian poet, Orpheus, was known to carry willow branches with him. A common phrase then was “she is in her willows,” which demonstrates a female’s mourning for a lost loved one. Additionally, willows have a reputation tied to renewal, often being the first vegetation to appear at a disrupted location. They are fast growing trees mostly unaffected by conditions. Additionally, they are known to root easily. Perhaps this is a symbolic representation of those who fought in the Revolution, as helping to renew a recently destroyed location. Additionally, these soldiers and patriots can be seen as tough, resilient, and helping to seed a new beginning of growth with strong roots.

While today we may look at someone like Jonathan Bell as a hero (as he very well may be), in his time, he was seemingly ordinary, and likely a general reflection of the common New England resident of the time. He was a colonist, and helped fight, like so many others, for American independence. While he doesn’t appear to be wealthy by any means, he was a landowner, and therefore at least had a relatively decent social status. His tombstone, while not terribly ornate or large, is meticulously carved, and adorned with art, which also demonstrated that he was at least comfortable, economically, as tombstones were an expensive object to have commissioned. Though much of his story remains a mystery, we are able to piece together some of it, thanks to current cemetery preservation efforts, along with our ancestors affinity for documenting… well, nearly everything!

The Raids on Fort William and Mary

​Four months prior to Paul Revere’s famous “Midnight Ride,” he made a lesser-known, though still important, ride to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, arriving into the snow-covered port around four in the afternoon on December 13, 1774. At the end of 1774, talk of revolution was in the air in Boston. The city’s network of patriots and rebels learned that King George had recently issued a confidential order prohibiting the export of arms and ammunition to the colonies, and ordered authorities to secure the Crown’s gunpowder and weaponry. After catching wind of the new policy, Revere made his way to Portsmouth to warn the people of New Hampshire that the British were sending personnel to Fort William and Mary (now Fort Constitution) in nearby Newcastle. Ironically, the British hadn’t planned to head to the fort until learning of Revere’s presence in Portsmouth. A messenger was sent to Boston to inform Governor Gage, who then ordered a vessel of marines to travel to Fort William and Mary. They wouldn’t arrive in time.

​The next morning, a gathering of patriots, lead by John Langdon and others from local chapters of the Sons of Liberty, marched through the streets of Portsmouth, organizing in what is now known as Market Square, spreading the plan to seize gunpowder and munitions from Fort William and Mary. The crowd reached roughly 400 men by noon when Chief Justice and Secretary of the Province, Theodore Atkinson, arrived and warned that any attempt to raid and remove gunpowder from the fort was an unlawful act of treason. His warning had no effect.

​In the early evening, the 400 or so men endured another snowstorm, some marching towards the fort, while the rest paddled down the Piscataqua River. When the men arrived, there were met with just five soldiers, and one officer, Captain John Cochran, who were stationed there. Greatly outnumbered, Captain Cochran boldly refused the mob’s demands. As colonists rushed the fort, Captain Cochran ordered cannon and musket fire. Still, they were greatly outnumbered. The raiders restrained Cochran and his soldiers for a short period of time, took 97 barrels of gunpowder, and proudly dismantled the British Flag atop the fort, before releasing them. No deaths occurred during the raid.

​The following day, on December 15, Major John Sullivan and additional forces overran the fort a second time, taking 16 cannons, muskets and other supplies. Much of these supplies would end up at the Battle of Bunker Hill. As Emma Demeritt, descendent of Captain John Demeritt, states in an article from 1910, “It was stated on the best authority that had not the powder arrived at so opportune a moment, the fate of the day would have been far different. For it was with this powder that the New Hampshire troops, with two regiments from Connecticut, guarded the flank at Bunker Hill twice driving back the British.”

[Next in the series] More NH ties to Bunker Hill, from Goffstown, NH (research inspired by a walk through the graveyard across from my house)