Why Does the Media Ignore the Anti-Lockdown Movement? | Adam Jaeckels

As the world marks the two year anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions on basic freedoms and liberties, public support for such measures has begun to wane whilst vocal opposition has grown on a substantial scale. Protests against vaccine passports, lockdowns and mask mandates have taken place across the globe, from Manchester to Melbourne, despite intense crackdowns on gatherings. However, while hundreds of thousands join together in support of freedom, the media has largely remained silent, either ignoring the demonstrations entirely, or brandishing participants various slurs:  “conspiracy theorists”, “unhinged”, or their favourite “anti-vaxxers”. Whilst the presence of potentially dangerous individuals on these marches should not be ignored, the vast majority of participants simply support individuals making a free choice on the medical procedures they undertake, without coercion or consequence as well as an end to damaging restrictions. So, why is this a message that the media find so unpalatable?

It would be easy to attribute the concealment of protests in the media to a worldwide globalists plot to conduct a ‘Great Reset’, and there is no doubt that such a notion will be popular in certain online circles. Yet, once again, the question remains: why? Perhaps it is to silence dissent and to present further restrictions, particularly on the ‘opposition’ (the unvaccinated) as universally popular amongst general society. It is widely accepted that key figures in the mainstream media are generally supportive of government measures, with questions at Downing Street Press Conferences often including the phrase: “Why didn’t you go further?” Voices challenging such a narrative are, by definition, challenging the mainstream media itself.

It would certainly appear that the media have a vested interest in government policy decisions, ‘a horse in the race’ so to speak, resulting in hostility towards any individual or organisation willing to dissent. Such a notion would also explain the evident smear campaign waged against those opposed to restrictions, with the little coverage given to anti-lockdown protests often accompanied by images of police in riot gear, water cannons, flaming cars and the like. This is not, however, simply a tactic used by the media to quell opposition, but, on an increasing basis, one used by politicians and government officials as well. Perhaps most notably, individuals who have chosen to not take the vaccine were labelled as “racist” and “misogynistic” by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Quite what evidence Mr Trudeau has for such an accusation is yet to be seen.

That is not to say that certain prominent individuals within the anti-lockdown movement have not expressed somewhat concerning views. Piers Corbyn’s suggestion that supporters should burn down the offices of MPs who voted for COVID restrictions mere weeks after the tragic murder of Sir David Amess, is one that should not, under any circumstances, be condoned, no matter what ideological differences one might have with said politicians. However, despite the presence of fringe individuals like Mr Corbyn, the anti-lockdown movement as a whole is one concerned about the loss of freedoms rather than obsessed with conspiracy theories.

The success of such a smear campaign, perpetrated by the mainstream media, is something that must be taken into account. As the American political strategist Mark Shields once said: “The problem with smear campaigns is that too often they work.” It is practically undeniable that the media is a powerful tool, either as a soapbox to platform those with whom they are in agreement or a weapon against those whom they are not. However, with the increasing importance of social media, especially platforms like Twitter, the control once held by traditional outlets over public opinion appears to be weakening. Despite this, the de-platforming and censorship of vocal lockdown critics, both on traditional platforms as well as on social media, still presents a serious threat to the fundamental principles of free speech and debate in a public forum the West is established upon.

Left unabated, the media’s apparent war on freedom of speech is one that is of great concern for many. With social media censorship becoming a regular feature of daily life, the greatest threat to Western principles appears to no longer be one foreign, but rather one domestic. The intended purpose of Big Tech and mainstream media was always to provide a platform – a voice for the masses. Yet, at a rather alarming rate, this voice appears to no longer be speaking on behalf of the people. Instead, it is speaking to them, instructing them, directing them. By solely pushing one message, the preferred narrative, while simultaneously ignoring, silencing and de-platforming critics, the media has lost any claim to impartiality.

It would be a rather pessimistic conclusion to say that there is no longer any hope of media integrity. However, despite the concerning rise of censorship, there is certainly no reason for complete despair. As the number of individuals willing to criticise the narrative increases, their voice will be increasingly difficult to silence. Furthermore, the growing population of alternative media platforms presents a viable threat to traditional outlets, forcing them to adapt if they wish to stay relevant in a world hungry for opinion and debate. If the media continues to ignore individuals critical of lockdowns and other restrictions, then they may swiftly find themselves ignored by the population at large.

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