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What was it like to espouse views contrary to establishment narratives during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This week on “The Defender In-Depth,” the editor and four contributors to “Canary In a Covid World: How Propaganda and Censorship Changed Our (My) World,” shared their experiences countering such narratives and overcoming censorship.

Guests included the book’s editor, C.H. Klotz, internationally acclaimed novelist Colin McAdam, award-winning journalist Rodney Palmer, mathematician and physician Sam Dubé, M.D., Ph.D., and writer and blogger Margaret Anna Alice.

The guests described their own experiences being a “canary in a COVID world” and their inspirations in helping to turn the book into a reality.

‘Courageous’ authors ‘have a story to tell’

Klotz described the book’s 34 authors as “a vast collection of really kind people that have stepped forward, that are courageous, that have a story to tell.”

Klotz said:

“They’re just a cross-section of society. They’re doctors, they’re scientists, they’re lawyers, they’re journalists, they’re mathematicians, they’re bloggers, they’re judges, they’re vaccine-injured.

“We just thought that if we brought these incredible people together and have them sing as one, then the choir might be something that others will listen to.”

According to Klotz, one of the central themes that runs across most of the chapters in “Canary In a Covid World” is censorship.

“[The contributors] all have important pieces of information to share, and a lot of that information … was censored,” Klotz said. “[For] all of these people to stand up and be as courageous as they are, to talk about it and come forward and speak publicly about it, that’s what’s most impressive from a human standpoint.”

‘The power of fear is immense’

As a writer, McAdam is familiar with narrative techniques. One such technique he noted during the pandemic was the widespread instilling of fear by public officials and the media.

“If you can scare people as a storyteller, you have them in the palm of your hand, and the power of fear is immense,” he said.

McAdam said this narrative of fear inspired him to write his chapter.

“If we had been told from the beginning by those who dictate our lives, or dictate our movements that we should be brave in the face of this disease, we should be brave in our dealings with others — how different this all would look,” he said.

According to McAdam, one of the “clearest and most meaningful” messages of bravery he experienced during the pandemic came at the Canadian trucker convoy when it reached the capital city of Ottawa, where he resides.

He said:

“After two years of being told that we couldn’t breathe near each other and that we had to fear each other in the name of protecting each other, [it was] a beautiful thing to actually hug a stranger, something that doesn’t happen in the normal course of life but was happening all over on Parliament Hill that day and for many days to come.”

McAdam said the event brought him a feeling of great joy and celebration.

“The bravery of the convoy people was infectious to me. And since that point, I’ve wanted, at every turn, to speak out. Contributing to this book was one way to speak out,” he said.

Mainstream media medical experts ‘sounded like salesmen’

Rodney Palmer was a 20-plus-year veteran of Canadian mainstream media outlets, including national public broadcaster CBC. During the pandemic, he witnessed the “transition” of the CBC “from a public broadcaster that conducted news gathering, which I participated in, [to] a state broadcaster which conducts propaganda.”

Mirroring the title of his chapter, Palmer said that “the day journalism died” in Canada was when he witnessed longtime CBC journalist Adrienne Arsenault host what he described as a “Miss Manners segment about how to socially handle your father, should dumb old dad bring up at the family group chat that the virus came from a lab in China.”

Palmer, who covered the SARS outbreak for a year in China as the Beijing correspondent for CTV News, said he knew it would take months before the virus hunters would be able to determine the origin of the virus, particularly in China, where such investigations are “blocked every step of the way.”

“The icon of journalism in Canada, Adrienne Arsenault, was participating in propaganda, to convince Canadians of something that wasn’t true,” he said.

When Palmer listened to the doctors featured on CBC, they didn’t sound like doctors to him. “They sounded like salesmen” who “had corporate media training,” he said.

Palmer testified about mainstream media propaganda before Canada’s National Citizens’ Inquiry.

“I still don’t know necessarily who all was involved in this from the top down,” Palmer said. “I just know what I witnessed every day, and I felt it was important for me … to stand up and say what I know to be true.”

‘We needed a way to inform and educate and bring the truth out’

Dubé said his chapter was inspired by the experience of one of his close friends who was injured by a COVID-19 vaccine.

“One of my dear friends for 40 years took the shots unwillingly because his pay was being withheld, and he died full of clots with no comorbidities. He had the constitution of a bull and was just full of clots,” Dubé said.

“And many of us have had similar experiences, and that’s why I started, that’s why I continued, and that’s why we continue to be a voice,” he said.

“All of us had friends and relatives that were literally falling by the wayside, that were suffering, that were dying [on account of] listening to what was being put out there,” Dubé added.

Countering mainstream media and government narratives became a critical goal for Dubé. He said:

“We needed a way to inform and educate and bring the truth out. We needed to counter statements like ‘safe and effective’ and ‘two weeks to flatten the curve.’ None of us could sit by and let this happen. I truly felt that we had a moral obligation to use whatever talents, whatever platforms, whatever words we had to speak out.”

Dubé emphasized the role of “fact-checkers” in disseminating such narratives, describing them as “narrative enforcers” who were part of “a concerted effort” to promote “what was going to be effective in dealing with … the experimental gene therapy injections.”

“I truly hope that our experience as a planet with these injections and the propaganda surrounding [them] has somehow inoculated us against future attempts to manipulate and exploit,” he said.

“We have the moral authority … to speak out,” he said.

‘Mistakes were not made’

Alice said that her chapter came as a result of being censored.

“The irony is this chapter is actually my first Substack article, and it emerged from censorship,” she said. “Every time I tried to post a comment where I was exposing the propaganda … my comments or posts would just get ‘disappeared’ by the censorship fairies.”

This, according to Alice, was combined with “behavioral psychological techniques” such as nudging and “public opinion molding” — or the creation of made-for-media “pseudo-events.” These strategies were used to “engineer public opinion” and “control our perception of reality.”

Alice said that a silver lining of such censorship is that it brought her together with other like-minded individuals.

“The blessing of the censorship is that it caused me to find another platform where I was able to speak freely and more importantly, connect with all of these absolutely brilliant and amazing intelligent voices,” she said.

“We are trying to tell the story that mistakes were not made,” Alice said. “You do not have a globally coordinated propaganda campaign that just happens by accident.”

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