Commentary

Looking at the phrase “informed consent” on a page, it’s obvious it contains two interdependent words. There’s the noun “consent,” which means, well, agreement. And there’s the adjective “informed,” which means you know everything possibly necessary about what you’re agreeing to.

As phrases go, it’s not that complex. So why, when it comes to the medical-political matrix of COVID-19, has the Canadian and U.S. mainstream media apparently decided that the “informed” part of the two-word binary is pretty much dispensable?

Put another way, why are so many otherwise fine and fully functional journalists furiously fixated on pushing the ideology of “mandated consent” when their actual job is to provide the “informed” part?

Put another way still, why do I have to get behind the paywall of a tiny Ottawa-based subscription news service to learn what should be top of the newsfeeds from now until COVID no longer overwhelms water-cooler conversation?

Last week, for example, I discovered, thanks to the indefatigable folks at Blacklock’s Reporter, that my federal government has budgeted $75 million as “compensation fund including burial expenses” for victims of extreme adverse COVID vaccine reactions. Citing Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) data, the news service detailed just how many of those extreme adverse reactions there have been.

“A total 29,091,447 Canadians have received at least one COVID shot,” it reported. “The Agency said it was aware of 4,675 ‘adverse events following immunization reports that were serious’ including 545 cases of temporary facial paralysis, 148 strokes, 126 heart attacks, 83 cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that can cause paralysis, and 37 expectant mothers who lost their babies due to ‘spontaneous abortion.’”

Blacklock’s also reported that the PHAC is investigating up to 195 Canadian deaths that might—it’s not yet certain—be the direct result of COVID vaccination.

Now, you can play those numbers any way you wish in the great vaccination debate of 2021 (on which I am partially on no side and all sides, by the way). One friend to whom I mentioned them, an unwavering vaccine opponent, said word is that those numbers are way too low. Another friend took out his trusty calculator and noted the adverse events represent .0000065 percent of vaccinations.

Fair enough all around. That’s what information does. It gives you the means to develop an informed opinion, if only as a form of practice in case you should ever be faced with the need for giving informed consent. It lets you make your judgments rather than having someone else arbitrarily make them for you.

Its opposite is what the linguist, cognitive scientist, and celebrated left-wing agitator Noam Chomsky called “manufactured consent” in a book that came out just before the Gulf War fiascos of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Those wars were, of course, the first and only time in human history that a government was caught convincing an entire population to go along with utterly wrong-headed policy by deliberately refusing to provide essential information so that people—including wholly co-opted journalists—could make judgments for themselves. OK, I made that part up. Lying by omission is what governments have done for millennia. They can’t help themselves. As in the famous story of the scorpion that stings to death the frog carrying it across the lake, it’s their nature.

But it is supposed to be the nature of journalism, most emphatically in democratic countries, to provide the antidote for the toxin of government lying and information obfuscation.

So, again, why did I have to rely on tiny paywalled subscription service Blacklock’s to learn that one of my federal government’s own websites featured a legal opinion dating from 1996 (the entry apparently has been removed) that mandatory vaccination is unconstitutional in Canada?

“Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution,” states Health Canada’s “Canadian National Report on Immunization,” Blacklock’s reported, adding that health officials would not comment on their own website’s content.

Wasn’t there a popular phrase last year that “silence is violence”? Well, whether it is or not, it’s obviously a go-to move in the political violation of informed consent.

And moving beyond COVID, why must I read The Epoch Times to feel I’m getting the full picture of what is going on with Canada-China relations, for example? Why must I feel like so much of the mainstream media information I get on that issue is filtered through a sock puppet’s mouth? I guess the simplest answer is that I must… because… I must. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be informed.

The good news is that through the proliferation of independent outlets such as The Epoch Times, Blacklock’s, Substack newsletters, and so on, I need just accept the half-offerings of institutional journalism that seems to have decided its job is to help manufacture consent.

In a phrase, I can dissent from that redefinition of consent and inform my judgments for myself.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Peter Stockland
Peter Stockland is a former editor-in-chief of the Montreal Gazette and co-founder of Convivium magazine under the auspices of the think tank Cardus. He is also head of strategic communications for Ottawa’s Acacia Law Group.

October 19, 2021 12:45 pm

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