This article is by a journalist who has decided to come clean about the sort of pressures put on him on how to report on the Covid scare. The pro-lockdown cheerleaders in the mainstream media have been following No.10’s orders and wrongly branding all lockdown sceptics as nutty conspiracy theorists – but the tide is turning. More and more people are coming round to realise lockdown has been a major mistake. Yet newspapers and TV, here in the UK at least, are still loyally hounding down dissenters and tarring each one as some sort of lunatic who needs, well, locking up.
Those sceptics who it was hard to place in a loony bin, such as Lord Sumption, one of the most brilliant minds in Britain, were simply ignored. When the former Supreme Court head wrote in The Times on March 31 that the UK was “sliding into a police state” after Parliament was granted unprecedented powers in the Coronavirus Bill (which was rubber-stamped with no debate in the Commons), did this liberal-minded intellect get heaps of press attention? No, of course not. It was palpably quiet. The mainstream media was simply not interested in any other narrative than the official, exaggerated danger of the virus.
The media has failed to do its job properly, unless that job is to be the government’s cheerleader-in-chief. Other than a few brave exceptions, the job of their reporters has been to report every (literal) cough and scare as a grave threat to life and limb, all the better to generate online clicks. Every new death, any new medical scare story, was quickly written up and thrown online with sensationalist headlines. The warnings by the likes of Jonathan Sumption, whose profession is to actually think for a living, that this was all damaging “hysteria”, were buried.
The modern press does not have the mental wit to take on an intellect like Lord Sumption. The rest of us have been easier targets.
When there was a relatively large gathering of lockdown sceptics at Trafalgar Square late last month, the media was far from kind. Many of the headlines were along the same lines as the Evening Standard's: “Thousands gather in Trafalgar Square to promote coronavirus conspiracy theories at 'anti-lockdown' protest.”
And later in the article he explains his role in the relentless propaganda we have been all exposed to 24x7 for months now. No wonder people are scared.
While working for a certain mainstream publication in our scorching spring, when people were only allowed an hour’s exercise a day, my editors revealed they were asked by Downing Street to “hammer home the message” that people shouldn't be enjoying the sunshine on weekends.
All reporters were told they were on no account to publish anything which could go against the government line. This was coupled with self-censorship, an editorial decision to not report on anti-lockdown protests so as not to “legitimise” their platform – while giving plenty of reporting space to Extinction Rebellion and BLM.
It has all the hallmarks of the sort of un-free press found in a despotic state. After all, what does totalitarianism really look like? For most people, they will think of the USSR, Nazi Germany or North Korea. The kind of brutal regimes that inspired George Orwell's ‘1984’.
But another novel, ‘Brave New World’, written by Aldous Huxley many years before in 1932, foreshadowed a different kind of dystopia. A scientific dictatorship in which people blindly follow authority and actually love their servitude.
Like in the USSR, where dissenters were classed as mentally disturbed, today any dissenter is branded a conspiracy theorist. Their opinions are pathologies, not legitimate points of view to be taken seriously, about our de facto police state, or about the exaggerated threat of coronavirus, or about the appalling damage done to our economy and our health by lockdown. Instead, we are dangerous, eccentric heretics that only deserve to be jeered at, scorned, and pushed out of mainstream society, while the rest don their masks and applaud the police for cracking down on non-conformists.