After announcing the restoration of his archive of articles in the form of a new Substack subscription, Dr. Joseph Mercola immediately came under attack by censorship advocates around the globe. He writes at Mercola.com:
Well, that didn’t take long! Mere weeks after my announcement that I was reintroducing my deleted article archives and moving them to the Substack Library for paid subscribers, the mainstream press started calling on Substack to censor and cull vaccine critics from its platform.
There are very good reasons why my content has moved to Substack under a Private Membership Agreement. All proceeds will be donated to our nonprofits, just like the profits from my book — there is no financial motivation for doing this. The reasons for doing this will be revealed in due time.
To their credit, Substack CEO Chris Best and his two cofounders have brushed off calls for censorship, saying that allowing “the presence of writers with whom we strongly disagree” is a “necessary precondition for creating more trust in the information ecosystem as a whole,”1 and that:
“We believe that critique and discussion of controversial issues are part of robust discourse, so we work to find a reasonable balance between these two priorities.”2
Hit Piece Parade
A recent hit piece by The Washington Post titled “Conspiracy Theorists, Banned on Major Social Networks, Connect with Audiences on Newsletters and Podcasts”3,4 highlights how, after social media platforms have been successfully scrubbed of counternarratives, alternative platforms like Substack are now beginning to face the same kind of scrutiny:
“Joseph Mercola, a leading anti-vaccine advocate whose screeds have been restricted by YouTube and Facebook, this month warned that the unvaccinated might soon be imprisoned in government-run camps. The week before, he circulated a study purporting to use government data to prove that more children had died of COVID-19 shots than from the coronavirus itself.
Shut down by major social media platforms, Mercola has found a new way to spread these debunked claims: on Substack, the subscription-based newsletter platform that is increasingly a hub for controversial and often misleading perspectives about the coronavirus.
Substack, which researchers from the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate say makes millions of dollars off anti-vaccine misinformation, last week defended its tolerance for publishing ‘writers with whom we strongly disagree.’
Prominent figures known for spreading misinformation, such as Mercola, have flocked to Substack, podcasting platforms, and a growing number of right-wing social media networks over the past year after getting kicked off or restricted on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.”
As noted in the article, there’s a fundamental difference between social media platforms like Facebook and platforms like Substack. On Substack, our information goes specifically to those who have opted in to get it. Those who want full access actually pay for that access. But even that is unacceptable to those who want to control every thought in your head.
According to the WaPo, censored content is censored because it could “potentially lead people to engage in behaviors that endanger themselves and others.” Hence, you shouldn’t even be allowed to get it even if you want it so badly that you’re willing to pay for it.
Mashable5 and The Guardian6 also recently published near-identical hit pieces, calling me out by name as one of the primary “anti-vax” profiteers on Substack. What these and other articles like them so clearly show is that when they can’t win an argument, or they’re on the wrong side of history, they simply try to shut the opposition down to cover up their own inadequacies.
On a quick side note, the rapid growth of paid subscription platforms has now led to Twitter and Facebook making plans for their own paid subscription-based newsletters. What they seem to have completely overlooked is the REASON why people are turning to paid platforms.
They flock there because that’s where the truth — the censored information — is. No one in their right mind is going to pay for more Twitter and Facebook propaganda.
Same Shady Propaganda Tactics as Always
As is the norm with hit pieces, the WaPo sent us a request for comment at 4:52 p.m. and then published early in the morning stating that “Mercola did not respond to a request for comment.”
Leaving no time to respond and then claiming no response could be obtained, as if they actually tried, is a classic move to avoid giving the person they’re defaming the chance to say something that makes THEM look like idiots.
Another classic propaganda tactic employed in this piece is the projection that closed forums, including newsletters, are “plagued with misinformation because they are essentially echo chambers in which users share similar viewpoints.” Meanwhile, calling for censorship is by default a call for the creation of an echo chamber!
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for the Richardcyoung.com free weekly email.