When Journalists Become Big Brother

In 2021 and 2022, during the disastrous Covid lockdowns, the U.S. government gave professors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison upwards of $5.7 million to develop software to help correct other people’s “misinformation” when it appears online. The fact checking engine they have built, called “Course Correct,” is supposed to help journalists identify trending scientific and political “misinformation,” and ‘fix’ false claims in real time. It uses machine learning and natural language processing to check social media posts.

“Challenges of misinformation are not restricted to elections or Covid or to a particular community,” said one of the professors who got the grant. “Countering misinformation will require vigilance and adaptation.” What it ought to require is strict oversight by people committed to the First Amendment. In fact, the National Science Foundation is funding the research.

Presumably this search engine is being developed for that time when Facebook or Twitter cannot be relied upon to censor views that are at odds with the preferred establishment narrative. It’s pretty daring of the Feds to do: The revelations about how the FBI and CIA were sent to work with social media/tech companies, to censor online views that did not comport with the Administration’s chosen explanations, have not gone over all that well.

Slavery is freedom.

It must be asked: what is misinformation? Is it a genuine, factual mistake? 2+2=5? Or is it just a difference in opinion over what the facts are? To ask is to answer. In the wake of the aggressive censorship that accompanied the developing knowledge of Covid-19 and the attendant disagreements over masks, vaccines, lockdowns, social distancing, and school closings, we know that the government was rabid in suppressing anything that challenged its preferred narrative of the moment. People were kicked off social media and worse for suggesting that the Covid virus originated in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The New York Times reporter Apoorva Mandavilli, called that view "racist." These days the lab leak theory is the preferred explanation of the FBI and many fellow agencies.

So how legitimate is it to use tax dollars to develop “Course Correct,” which, if we are being honest, exists in order to more efficiently suppress information, whether it is factually incorrect or merely a politically incorrect point of view? After all, one wonders why it's such a big deal if someone gets a fact wrong – even a fact pertaining to science – in online discussions? People have been wrong about things forever; the truth emerges from contention not reflexive agreement. On the other hand, it is clear why the government would be politically challenged by seeing people assert as factual things that challenge its preferred path of action regarding a pandemic, or climate change, or the way inflation works. Even more so about elections, which is another potential field for the application for Course Correct.

“Democracy and public health in the United States rely on trust in institutions,” the grant announcement states.

Skepticism regarding the integrity of U.S. elections and hesitancy related to Covid-19 vaccines are two consequences of a decline in confidence in basic political processes and core medical institutions. Social media serve as a major source of delegitimizing information about elections and vaccines, with networks of users actively sowing doubts about election integrity and vaccine efficacy, fueling the spread of misinformation.

The king of misinformation.

Apparently, the Biden administration regards it as a crisis that many citizens question the integrity of some U.S. elections and are skeptical of Covid-19 vaccines. Indeed, half the country believes there was cheating in 2020. And a great many people have come to mistrust the mRNA vaccines, which have had deeply problematic side effects, and have provided relatively little protection to those who got or were forced to take them. But the Biden administration chalks it all up to misinformation, instead of legitimate disagreement. “Both of these crises are fueled by online misinformation,” according to the grant document.

Sometimes, of course, skepticism regarding government actions, and diminished trust in government institutions, has been earned by government behavior. Such skepticism is valuable. It should prompt the government to do better. It should help other parties to get elected. The views, opinions, and counter-narratives, many of which may well be true, should not be wiped away because an administration or bureaucracy is unhappy that the public does not trust its information. In our democracy, we have always lived with conflicting narratives about the nature, reasons for, and appropriate response to whatever is happening. Course Correct sounds a bit too Orwellian for comfort.

Nor is it clear how Course Correct determines what is the truth about a question or situation. When queried by the conservative reporter at “The College Fix” the researchers at Wisconsin did not provide an answer. Yet we are to accept that the program transcends bias?

The saddest fact about Course Correct is that the $5.7 million, and the idea itself, are but drops in the bucket of new U.S. government technology and personnel put in place to monitor and control the speech and thought of the American people. The State Department’s Global Engagement Center was designated by President Obama to run the U.S. counter-disinformation campaign. That has cost billions. It is a leviathan with tendrils reaching into all corners of the internet. And it has thoroughly overridden whatever remaining protections inherent in the Privacy Act of 1974, which was meant to prohibit government from spying on U.S. citizens.

Sadly, that age is long gone. And Course Correct is the least of it.

Best of 2022: 'Reality Intrudes Upon Biden’s Climate Hypocrisy' by Steven F. Hayward

The year of Our Lord 2022 has been a good one for us here at The Pipeline, which has seen the launch of our weekly Substack column; the release of our first book, Against the Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra the New World Order; and the publication of a lot of excellent content from our wonderful group of contributors. As the year comes to its close, we thought we would spotlight some of our best work, chosen from our most clicked articles.

Reality Intrudes Upon Biden’s Climate Hypocrisy

Steven F. Hayward, 5 April, 2022

It's time for a reality check. If you take a confidential survey of environmentalists, the candid ones will admit that the Obama administration was a great disappointment when it came to "climate change "and moving the country to “green” energy. Despite promising on election night in 2008 that the sea levels would stop rising because he’d deliver green nirvana, the Obama years saw the massive reversal in America’s long decline in domestic oil production, as the fracking revolution took Washington by surprise.

The fracking revolution happened quietly out of view; if Washington had been aware of what was happening, they would surely have stopped it cold. Like Uber when it shows up to challenge a taxi monopoly in a city, it is hard to kill off a thriving sector entirely once it has taken root.

Obama was an ideologue, but he wasn’t stupid. After the financial crash of 2008 and the slow-growth recovery that followed, the oil and gas sector was about the only sector that boomed aside from Wall Street. He likely knew that without the resurgence of oil and gas, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, he likely would have lost his re-election bid in 2012. Ironically the hated fracking revolution led in the U.S. to the largest decrease in carbon emissions anywhere in the world, as suddenly cheap natural gas outcompeted coal in the marketplace—all without a signing ceremony on the White House lawn.

In sum, the political agenda of the climate campaign largely ground to a halt during the Obama years. Ambitious new legislation stalled out on Capitol Hill despite large Democratic majorities before the 2010 election, and Obama’s regulatory strategy—the so-called “Clean Power Plan”—was blocked in court. The Paris Climate Accord was so weak that the founding father of climate alarmism, NASA’s James Hansen, called it a “bull----” agreement. The only exception to this litany of disappointment was lavish and solar subsidies, which both parties in Congress love to expand, even though they generate meager amounts of energy. By the time he left office, Obama was embracing an “all of the above” energy strategy that implicitly recognized the long-term necessity for fossil fuel energy.

Joe Biden took office apparently after gulping extra helpings of climate Kool-Aid, determined to strangle fossil fuels more seriously than Obama ever did. Halting the Keystone XL pipeline in mid-construction was an unprecedented step...


Four Kuestions for Klimate Kultists

The Kult of the Warmers™ insists that the Earth is getting hotter. And that this is a problem. They aren’t sure why it’s a problem. Or why (and here, here, here) it’s getting hotter. If, in fact, it is getting hotter (or cooler?). But they demand to re-arrange our entire global economy “to stop earth from getting hotter.”

Whoever is running President Biden has issued an Executive Order to take away from Americans 30 percent of America and “conserve” it to stop what is not going on:

…report to the Task Force within 90 days of the date of this order recommending steps that the United States should take … to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.

If the Warmists are correct, what’s the problem? Scientists are looking for habitable planets with an average temperature 5° (C) hotter than earth for a reason. If the ideal planet is 5° (C) warmer, we are panicking over an increase of 3.2° (C), because…? If the follow-the-scientists are correct, “…higher temperatures than currently existing on Earth seem to be more favorable,” and "Essentially, it would be slightly older, bigger, warmer and wetter than Earth." (Emphasis mine).

Now pay attention, kids.

Four questions.

  1. What evidence shows the Earth is getting hotter?

There isn’t any. This is a politico-religio fantasy lacking factual support. No temperature data set supports a warming earth. The data they use constantly are altered, both in the current time (to show it is hotter than it is) and in the past time (to show it was cooler than it was). This allows Warmists to insist that the curve is steepening and… we’re all going to die. Probably in twelve years.

One credible datapoint of warming does exist. Cities are heat islands. This makes sense both from the standpoint of human density (offices, apartments, suburbs) and human activity (manufacturing, distribution, riots, data centers, transportation of millions of people). Remove metros from the averages and we actually may have global cooling:

Since consistent record-keeping began in 1895, the average temperature in the United States has increased by 1.3 to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 to 1.1° Celsius).


City regions can typically have air temperatures warmer than surrounding rural environments by anywhere from 1 to 15 degrees F.

If the national median temperature has increased 1.6° F, and if cities have increased (median) 7.5° F, simple arithmetic would say the rest of the country (world?) may well be cooling.

If solar radiation occurs in conjunction with water availability, summer conditions cause strong surface urban heat island intensities due to high rates of evaporative cooling in surrounding rural areas. The rural areas grow cooler by a few degrees, while the urban area … grows much warmer.

If this brings to mind the 1974 Time magazine article, “Another Ice Age?” or the 1975 Newsweek piece, “The Cooling World,” welcome to the club.

Perhaps only our SUVs are preventing Snowball Earth? If it is only the warming cities keeping us from being squashed under two miles of ice – buy another Suburban. Please.

Warmer or colder?

  1. What are their suggestions to reverse said warming?

Well, they have quite a few. Not that they actually believe in any of them. If they did, you’d see them following their own suggestions. Al The-Earth-Has-A-Temperature Gore would not live in a mansion and use more energy than 21 average families and Barack The-Rise-of-the-Oceans-Began-to-Slow Obama would not buy a $15 million mansion on a tiny, low, flat Atlantic island.

  1. Why is working to stop warming a positive good?

The Kultists say it will help the economy. But it won’t. It will create lots of good-paying “green” jobs. Actually, there is less evidence of this than of warming – so, no. (Here's the real answer.) We can move on to more modern technology – like electric cars. Umm…. Doesn’t seem like it… 

  1. What are the reasons they say that warming is bad?

Well.. they say we’ll have more and more violent storms. The IPCC itself refutes this:

There is low confidence that any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity are robust…

They say we’ll have less food. Not true.  That the global coffee crop will collapse. Nope.  That more people will die of heat than of cold. Uh-uh. That the oceans are rising and will flood-out billions of people.

Let’s look at that last one for a moment. This has been a driver of the Warmists for decades. Ever since the now-thoroughly-debunked “Hockey Stick” fable and pictographs first were told around a campfire.

Liar, liar, hair on fire.

Just under half-a-billion people live within two vertical meters of sea level. If the oceans were to rise two meters via melting ice caps or major storms pushing before them a huge surge, these people would be flooded out. Ergo, we must stop the rise of the seas!

But, wait! One of the same major governmental agencies coloring outside its lines to sell us global warming (NASA - I’m still looking for “oceans” or “warming” in the words “National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” but I digress) now tells us that the moon … wobbles. (Yes, this is the same cohort looking for a planet that is warmer…)

For those who missed elementary school this might be news, but for the rest of us: The moon always has wobbled. It’s what happens when 704 quintillion tons of rock collide with 6 sextillion tons of rock, blasting off a sixth of the combined volume to coalesce into 80 quintillion tons of rock a quarter of a million miles away with no outside force acting to slow the wobble, and a few massive, constantly-moving items (Sun, Jupiter, Earth) tugging in ever-different directions acting on it to increase the wobble.

If the wobble increases, the tides magnify and... coastal flooding occurs.

If moon wobble is going to flood the coastal plains regardless of how many Chevy Suburbans we buy, how many gasoline vs electric vehicles transport us, how many cubic miles of the earth we tear up while strip-mining rare earth elements to make solar panels with which we virtue-signal one another for a few years before throwing these toxic things into in a landfill, and of how many 300-foot-tall bird Cuisinarts (573,000 chopped birds annually in the USA) we install Not-In-My-Backyard… what then?

I don’t know what then. Call Bekins? But deep down in the quiet recesses of my mind I see generations of new protestors demanding we “Stop The Wobble!” We can call them “Wobblies.”

As the man said – everything old is new again.