Twitter CEO Elon Musk criticized The Washington Post on Saturday after one of its reporters was called out for her comments claiming some scientists had a “covid denialist agenda.”
Technology reporter Taylor Lorenz responded to a tweet that criticized the Norfolk Group, a group of scientists pushing back on the effectiveness of the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The scientists — Jay Bhattacharya, Leslie Bienen, Ram Duriseti, Tracy Beth Høeg, Marty Makary, Martin Kulldorff, Margery Smelkinson and Steven Templeton — addressed a number of issues, including what could have been done to better protect higher-risk Americans from the virus and why schools were closed despite early evidence that they were not major sources of the virus’ spread.
Lorenz claimed in a Twitter thread in response to the newly-formed Norfolk Group that reporters had stopped covering COVID-19 disinformation when President Biden took office in January 2021.
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“It’s disappointing that the biggest disinfo reporters in media completely stopped covering covid disinfo when Biden took office, because these groups pushing a far right, anti-science Covid denialist agenda behind the scenes continue to amass unchecked power, $, influence,” Lorenz wrote.
She added that it’s “very worrying that so many top ‘disinfo’ reporters have abdicated covering the biggest radicalizing event of our time.”
Bhattacharya then responded to Lorenz by questioning whether The Washington Post backs its reporters “making false, baseless smears against scientists.”
“Does the @washingtonpost support its reporters making false, baseless smears against scientists?,” he asked in a Tweet. “What on earth is a ‘covid denialist agenda’? Does the Post not want a real inquiry into the failure of public health to protect the public from covid & collateral harm from lockdowns?”
University of Miami psychology professor J.D. Haltigan responded to Bhattacharya’s tweet by saying the newspaper is “an absolute disgrace” and that Lorenz’s post “is a disgusting, despicable, hack job.”
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Musk then replied to Haltigan in an apparent agreement, saying The Washington Post “needs a thorough housecleaning.”
A number of Twitter users replied to Musk by suggesting he purchase the newspaper. Several users simply said he should buy The Washington Post while others noted that they would like to see a Twitter-style cleanout, referring to changes at the social media giant since Musk took over as chief executive.