Robert Mahoney on *The Infodemic*

Robert Mahoney on *The Infodemic*

Robert Mahoney
Show Date
December 13, 2022
COVIDCivil LibertiesIndividual Rights
Committee to Protect Journalists
“The COVID-19 pandemic could do for biomedical surveillance what 9/ 11 did for wiretapping.” Joel Simon and Robert Mahoney, in The Infodemic: How Censorship and Lies Made The World Sicker and Less Free

I’ve done about a dozen shows about how COVID became the pretext for innumerable violations of our economic liberties. My book Essential Liberty: How to Stay Sane in a Post-COVID World distilled the best of these interviews into a single volume, which can be further distilled into an even shorter quote from Benjamin Franklin:

“Those who would give up their essential liberty to purchase a little temporary security deserve neither.”

My guest, Robert Mahoney, may or may not agree with that statement. His new book with Joel Simon is titled The Infodemic: How Censorship and Lies Made The World Sicker and Less Free, and it begins with a crucial meditation on the meaning of the word “freedom.” The authors go onto describe the test the pandemic posed to both positive and negative liberties, and how governments around the world failed that test. In particular, they look at how censorship took on both new and old forms as incompetent leaders tried to cover up for their errors – whether by ignoring the severity of the disease, or implementing draconian policies that restricted people’s every move.

In some case, Mahoney and Simon show that these errors really weren’t errors at all, but calculated decisions by authoritarian leaders to seize power while democratic nations had their own bigger problems to manage.

Mahoney, director of special projects at the Committee to Protect Journalists, joins me to explain the new face of censorship, and how it relates to the biomedical surveillance apparatus that was erected over the past three years. Think the crisis is over? Think again.


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