Misinformation abounds in Gizmodo piece on NFL star

January 6, 2023

By Tim Worstall

In a new piece, Gizmodo creates its own disinformation while reprimanding others for spreading disinformation.

The problem is about Damar Hamlin and what people are saying about his collapse. Some are suggesting that it’s all a result of the vaccine. Others are pointing out that cardiac arrest as a result of a severe blow to the chest does indeed happen. Rarely, but it does. Where Gizmodo goes wrong is in this piece, headlined, “Tucker Carlson Uses Damar Hamlin’s Collapse to Spread Vaccine Disinformation.”

“Prominent right-wing pundits and social media influencers have used the NFL player’s health emergency to further anti-vax rhetoric,” according to the piece.

The entire piece is about how awful everyone is for even mentioning that this might be something to do with the vaccine. That people who even raise the question are guilty of disinformation.

The thing is, that’s not really true. Not on its own and alone it’s not. Because of this that Gizmodo themselves tell us:

“But here’s the thing: We do know that the risk of heart inflammation and other cardiac problems is significantly higher with coronavirus infection itself, than from the vaccine,” according to the article. “Myocarditis, or heart inflammation, is a documented, rare side effect of the vaccine.”

This is true. It may well also be true that COVID itself is more likely to cause myocarditis than the vaccine. But that’s an irrelevance here. If the vaccine is known to produce myocarditis, then if someone gets myocarditis then it’s legitimate to ask whether it was caused by the vaccine.

Think through the logic. It’s true that the usual causes of falling down stairs are being elderly or drunk. But some people are thrown. Therefore, when someone falls downstairs it is appropriate – not just allowed but appropriate – to ask whether they were elderly, drunk, and even if they were, were they thrown?

The vaccine sometimes causes myocarditis. The question of whether this particular incidence of myocarditis was caused by the vaccine is not disinformation, it’s a sensible thing to be asking.

Now, whether it was caused by whatever is another thing. But to shout that it’s disinformation to even ask is both the wrong answer and in itself becoming disinformation. Because it’s preventing people from asking appropriate questions and we never will come to grips with a complicated world unless we’re allowed to ask and then get answers.

Gizmodo ranks at No. 34 for computer and tech media outlets and gains some 24.8 million visits a month from that position. It’s a major outlet and given that it’s dedicated to tech and science we’d expect a rather better understanding of technical matters like this. Something we don’t get.

Asking what caused something is not disinformation. It’s the very basis of science itself, the only method we’ve got of making sense of the world around us. Demanding that no one ever ask questions about known side effects of vaccines is in itself disinformation. Because it prevents that very scientific discussion which is the thing we actually need.


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