Americans who believe they live in a country with a free and open media are deceiving themselves. LinkedIn, a social media site supposedly dedicated to professionals looking to highlight their experience and expertise, last night removed without any explanation a column of mine within hours of me posting it. My column, which can be found here, highlighted a Covid vaccine commentary by Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Allysia Finley and appeared on track to become the most popular commentary I’ve ever published.

Unfortunately for me, LinkedIn apparently deemed my column “misinformation,” despite being based on a commentary published by one of the most influential publications in America, which in turn was based on studies published by scientists like Nabin Shrestha, a staff physician specializing in infectious diseases, and four of his colleagues at Cleveland Clinic, which is consistently ranked in the very top tier of all hospital systems in not only America but also the world.

Allysia Finley/Twitter photo

My column wasn’t a wholehearted endorsement of Finley, as I noted some issues with her previous reporting. My salient point was that Finley’s column was a watershed moment, as it was a rare, and possibly the first instance, where a major publication had published information very much at odds with the Biden Administration’s and mainstream media narratives about Covid vaccine safety and effectiveness. I expressed hope that Finley’s column represented a new era where Covid vaccine critics would no longer be smeared and ostracized, as scientific debate is critical to understanding and curbing the pandemic.

It wasn’t the first time LinkedIn censored me, and I was naive in thinking that LinkedIn would be loath to continue engaging in censorship given the recent alarming disclosures about Twitter being in cahoots with government agencies and silencing critics of the Biden Administration’s pandemic policies. I recently posted a commentary about how Twitter censored Stanford professor and physician Jay Bhattacharya, a critic of Biden’s pandemic policies from the get-go, and LinkedIn surprisingly let the column remain.

Earlier columns of mine that LinkedIn removed included this one I posted on August 20, 2021 about Israeli data indicating that vaccines possibly were increasing the risk of severe disease in that country among those who received early vaccinations. A reference to the data was buried in this New York Times story and my column also linked to this paper posted on the National Library of Medicine’s website  warning that vaccine boosters could trigger increased risk for severe COVID disease rather than reduce it. Notably, the source who alerted me to the paper was a physician banned on LinkedIn.

Another commentary of mine that LinkedIn removed was this one I posted November 3, 2021 about an expose by Paul Thacker, a former investigator for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and a specialist on corruption in science and medicine, raising questions about the integrity of some of Pfizer’s vaccine trials. The expose was posted on the BMJ, a respected peer-reviewed medical journal published by the British Medical Association. BMJ received considerable flack for publishing Thacker’s piece, but the publication refused to retract it.

BMJ, November 2, 2021

It takes a certain audacity censoring content based heavily on a column published in the Wall Street Journal. claims to reach 42.4 million readers per month, the majority of whom are college educated. Subscribing to WSJ is expensive; the cost of my WSJ subscription is more than double what I paid to subscribe to the New York Times and Washington Post. That’s understandable because the Journal institutionally strives to adhere to higher and more ethical standards of journalism. I’m confident in saying that Washington Post disgrace Taylor Lorenz, who previously worked at the Times, will never find employment at the Journal.

The Journal is really two publications that share the same masthead and platform. There is the news side of the publication with its own editors and reporters that routinely crank out impressive work. One recent example was the publication’s detailed account of how former Disney chief Bob Iger, with the help of the company’s backstabbing CFO Christine McCarthy, wormed his way back into his former job. Another example was Christopher Mims’ feature putting into perspective the relevance and Silicon Valley stakes of Elon Musk’s revamping of Twitter.

By comparison, the Times recently ran a story revealing that there was a shortage of toilet paper at Twitter’s headquarters because of Musk’s cutbacks and that body odor and lingering smells from takeout food had also become a problem because office space has been consolidated. It took the combined talents of three Times reporters to produce such insights, one of whom was Ryan Mac, who made a statement being photographed with Taylor Lorenz protesting Elon Musk briefly banning them on Twitter.

Hard to believe this a photo of prominent reporters working at the New York Times and Washington Post.

The Journal’s editorial writers march to the tune of their own and often radically different drummer than their news side colleagues, which over the years has caused considerable friction. I must disclose my fondness for editorial page editor Paul Gigot and his team stems from personal experiences, dating back to my PR days when I represented former New York Stock Exchange chairman and CEO Dick Grasso.

Grasso was celebrated for being a hero after 9/11 for promptly getting the stock exchange up and running, but in 2004 former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, looking to promote himself as “The Sherriff of Wall Street,” filed charges alleging that Grasso was overpaid and bullied and manipulated his way to get his pay package.

The allegations were bogus, particularly as the NYSE’s board was comprised of sophisticated business and political persons. Moreover, the NYSE was owned by its millionaire owners, few of whom expressed much, if any, outrage about Grasso’s pay package.

Nevertheless, the mainstream media took up Spitzer’s cause, repeatedly publishing lies and innuendo the former AG fed them. The experience was a personal watershed moment, as it awakened me that the U.S. media had changed and was more focused on landing dubious “scoops” than serving as the public’s watchdog against government wrongdoing and overreach.

Gigot and his colleagues immediately saw Spitzer for who he was, and steadfastly defended Grasso on the editorial pages, going so far as to criticize the Journal’s Spitzer coverage. Long story short: Spitzer’s case was dropped, Grasso never was required to return even a penny of his compensation, and the Journal reporters Gigot and his colleagues were critical of now work at the New York Times.

In February 2020, Gigot ran afoul of some of the Journal’s newsroom employees when he refused to apologize to China’s Communist government for a critical column and headline  that offended them. More than four dozen Journal reporters wrote to the publication’s top executives and editors urging them “to consider correcting the headline and apologizing to our readers, sources, colleagues and anyone else who was offended by it.”

Gigot refused to apologize, and the Journal paid a price. China expelled three Journal reporters in retaliation for the commentary; earlier this year News Corp., the Journal’s corporate parent, revealed that it was the target of a hack where emails and documents of journalists and other employees were obtained, an incursion the company’s cybersecurity consultant said was likely meant to gather intelligence to benefit China’s interests.

The attack impacted numerous publications and business units including the Journal and its parent Dow Jones; the New York Post; and the company’s U.K. news operations.

Journal columnists have repeatedly defied conventional journalism wisdom. When photos of Jeff Bezos’ penis leaked to the National Enquirer, the mainstream media uniformly picked up the unfounded allegations promoted by the Amazon founder’s Washington Post that Saudi Arabia played a role. Journal columnist Holman Jenkins virtually stood alone in noting how the media falsely made Bezos out to be a hero.

Readers of Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel appreciated long before it was proven that the Trump/Russia collusion story was a hoax promoted by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other Beltway luminaries. Strassel was all over the story early on; she also published a book called “Resistance (At All Costs)” in which she argued that those who allege that Donald Trump is a threat to American Democracy engage in tactics that undermine the country’s foundations. Not surprisingly, the book was ignored by the mainstream media.

Allysia Finley’s column citing research suggesting that Covid vaccines might not be performing as initially expected was very much in the tradition of Journal editorial writers speaking truth to power, which is why I applauded the commentary. There is a growing movement of experts who seem credible to me expressing concerns about the safety and effectiveness of Covid vaccines as mounting research becomes available.

One of them is Shmuel Shapira, the former head of Israel’s Institute for Scientific Research, an arm of the military. Shapira is triple vaccinated, but he says some of his concerns reflect his personal experiences.

Finley’s bio says she graduated from Stanford, making me wonder if that school might be a secret breeding ground for independent thinkers, despite its PC-correct “harmful language initiative.” In addition to Finley and Jay Bhattacharya, the Stanford professor censored by Twitter, another famous Stanford grad is Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, the ENT doc who also has been maligned in the mainstream media for medical protocols she insists have saved many lives.  

Speaking truth to power was once the deeply felt mission of every credible person working in American journalism. Today, Paul Gigot and his colleagues on the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page are the rare few with the guts and commitment to challenge the U.S. government, China, and an increasingly oppressive U.S. media that champions censorship of views not to their liking.

Mainstream journalists dismiss them as “right wing conservatives” but challenging powerful government and business interests was once a cause championed by far-left liberals.

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