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Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who tried to raise the alarm about the coronavirus in 2019 and was muzzled by the government before himself succumbing to the disease, has become a symbol of the way controls on speech can endanger the public. America’s civil liberties ensure that couldn’t happen here. But YouTube’s latest effort at politicized censorship of a reputable physician reminds us that such impulses aren’t unique to China.
On Friday Google’s YouTube platform notified Stanford University’s Hoover Institution that it had removed a 50-minute video interview with Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and Hoover fellow, that was published in June. Dr. Atlas has argued publicly—including in an interview in our pages—that the social harm from strict coronavirus lockdowns is severe.
YouTube’s notice to Hoover says “YouTube does not allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts the World Health Organization (WHO) or local health authorities’ medical information about COVID-19.” Note that YouTube has appointed the WHO as an arbiter for what Americans can see on the platform. The WHO has sometimes been swayed by China’s Communist Party, and as recently as January it relayed Chinese assertions that there is “no …
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