C2C Journal: Balanced, Fair and Accurate???

In an article published in C2C Journal on May 26,”The Virus, the Vaccine, the Victims, Margret Kopala writes that the COVID vaccines have “proven useless against Covid-19;” that the death toll from COVID-19 vaccines is “utterly shocking;” that a study by the renowned Cleveland Clinic found that COVID-19 vaccines actually increase the risk of COVID infection: and that the arch anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “is mounting a credible campaign for the 2024 Democratic Presidential Nomination.”

All of these factual assertions are demonstrably false. Yet C2C Journal refuses to publish any rebuttal to Kopala’s article, including one written by me. In a gracious email explaining this decision, C2C Journal Editor-in-Chief George Koch wrote: “Since some people are bound to take issue with anything we publish — sometimes from two or three different perspectives — if we made a habit of publishing rebuttals, our output of new stories would need to be reduced. That is one reason we don’t publish rebuttals.”

Furthermore, Koch wrote: “Nearly all articles reflect, broadly speaking, the views of C2C’s editors. If someone wants to attack us in a different publication, that is fine, but we don’t intend to begin rebutting ourselves. When we think something is wrong, we don’t publish it to begin with.”

Of course, no responsible editor would publish anything he thinks is wrong, but that is not the point. Editors, like lesser journalists, sometimes make factual errors and when they do so, they should be eager to safeguard their reputations for accuracy by assuring that corrections are promptly corrected.

C2C Journal professes: “We strive for balance, fairness and accuracy in our reporting and commentary.” In conformity with this avowal, Koch should be willing to publish a rebuttal proving that specific factual allegations in an article published in C2C Journal are patently false. If the author of the article plausibly disagrees, let her publish a surrebuttal. Such back-and-forth exchanges would make for a much livelier and more interesting publication.

Consider, in this regard, the recent article and following series of informative rebuttals and surrebuttals published by National Review.  The exchange began on May 16 with an encomium to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., written by NR contributor Matthew Scully and entitled “The Real Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Tough and talented, the long-shot candidate has earned respect.”

Scully’s NR colleague Pradheep J. Shanker, a radiologist whose articles focus on health policy, took strong objection to such praise for Kennedy, so he promptly wrote a rebuttal headlined: “The reality of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Conservatives shouldn’t let his opposition to Covid-19 public-health tyranny absolve him of a long record of damaging charlatanism.”  In this piece which was published in National Review on May 20, , Shanker charges: “RFK has repeatedly distorted facts that turned out to be wrong during the pandemic…. For example, he claimed that one out of every 39 children were injured by the Covid vaccine, based on misunderstanding of the U.S. VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) data. He went so far as to call the Covid-19 vaccine the deadliest vaccine ever made.”

Shanker added: “As I myself have written [in a previous article for National Review], VAERS data does not work that way; it is a system simply to keep note of possible reactions, not confirmed ones, and only further investigation can confirm if the reports sent to VAERS are true adverse reactions or not. The vast majority of events are not related to the vaccines at all.”

Kopala, in her article for C2C Journal, noted that Dr. Peter McCullough, a prominent critic of COVID 19 vaccines and former professor of cardiology at the Baylor University Medical Center, observed in a recent public lecture that VAERS has recorded “17,071 deaths within a few days of taking the COVID 19 vaccines.” On the basis of such reports, McCullough deduced that there is “sufficient evidence to indicate a recall of Covid-19 vaccines.”

Any such deduction is — or should be — obviously false. As I point out in my rebuttal of Kopala, “To deduce that (a) must have caused (b) because (b) occurred shortly after (a) is a commonplace logical fallacy. The fact that someone died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination does not prove that the vaccine caused the death. VAERS warns on its website: ‘When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established.’”

To determine if a death reported to VAERS was caused by the vaccine, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) examines each death in view of autopsy reports, medical records and other related evidence. By means of such detailed assessments of reported deaths after COVID-19 vaccination, the CDC has concluded: “People receiving COVID-19 vaccines are less likely to die from COVID-19 and its complications and are at no greater risk of death from non-COVID causes, than unvaccinated people.” 

Correspondingly, Health Canada reports that as of May 26, 2023, the Canadian Adverse Events Following Immunization Surveillance System (CAEFISS) had received preliminary reports of 442 deaths following a COVID-19 vaccination, but upon review of each of these reported deaths, Canada’s Advisory Committee on Causality Assessment (ACCA) has established that only four were probably caused by the vaccine.

Given such readily verifiable facts, it is not surprising that Scully did not attempt any surrebuttal of Shanker’s article. However, RFK Jr., undaunted by evidence of the facts, boldly submitted a lengthy critique of Shanker’s article that was published byNational Review on June 16. That set the stage for a final article in the NR series entitled “A Reply to RFK Jr.’s Reply,” in which Shanker pointed out: “Virtually every mainstream scientific outlet has ridiculed RFK’s positions on vaccines for years. In 2017, Scientific American published a scathing article that denounces RFK far more than I ever did.” 

Shanker concluded: “Simply put, the evidence against Kennedy’s theories is immense. One could easily spend a thousand pages of research undermining his shoddy theories and unscientific arguments. But I think you get the idea.”

Note that Shanker, in his criticism of Kennedy, is asserting certifiable facts, not just his personal opinions. And the same goes for my critique of Kopala’s article. Facts are things that are known or can be proven to be true. They are not merely matters of opinion: They are either true or false.

It said that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Of what value, though, is an opinion that contradicts the facts? A man might state that in his opinion, the earth is flat, but that assertion does not make it so. Likewise, McCullough might claim that VAERS data prove COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe, but he is plainly wrong: The facts are against him.

Like all reputable journals, National Review publishes cogent rebuttals of erroneous articles. In sorry contrast, C2C Journal will not publish any critique of any article the journal has ever published or will publish.

That is an absurd policy. It robs C2C Journal of all credibility and belies the magazine’s commitment to strive for “balance, fairness and accuracy.”

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