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Stanford student newspaper interprets Scott Atlas ‘rise up’ tweet against lockdown as inciting violence

Failed dictionary gotcha

How do you think it would have responded when Martin Luther King Jr. called on black people to rise up against the Jim Crow South?

The Stanford Daily ran a thinly veiled hit piece on Scott Atlas, the anti-lockdown representative on President Trump’s coronavirus task force and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, in response to an Atlas tweet against new COVID-19 restrictions unilaterally imposed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept,” the former Stanford Med chief of radiology (above) wrote, appending the hashtags #FreedomMatters #StepUp. Atlas was referring to a report that Whitmer had imposed a three-week “epidemic order” that shut down schools, restaurants, theaters, stadiums and non-professional organized sports.

Whitmer and others idiotically claimed Atlas was inciting violence against the governor, leading Atlas to retweet himself the same day with the disclaimer that he was obviously not “talking at all about violence” but rather voting and peaceful protest.

In other words, the exact same message progressive activists have been conveying for months. And the exact same message that ordinary Michiganders have been conveying against Whitmer, whose lockdown policies have been among the harshest and most arbitrary in the country.

MORE: Stanford refuses demands to retaliate against Hoover

The Daily went to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in a pathetic attempt to gotcha the doctor. Its entry for “rise up” is actually the idiom “rise (up) in revolt,” and it means “to fight against a ruler or government.”

In the United States, of course, fighting against a government means nonviolent resistance, civil disobedience and voting in disapproval of rulers such as Whitmer. The Daily said it asked Atlas to comment on this dictionary definition that doesn’t remotely suggest incitement to violence, and to his credit, he ignored the propaganda rag.

It’s all part of the Daily’s campaign, along with hundreds of faculty, to coerce Stanford into slurring Atlas as the Voldemort of public health and distancing itself from the Hoover Institution. The research center has supported the work of another lockdown skeptic, Stanford Med’s Jay Bhattacharya, a co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration on COVID-19.

Stanford so far has resisted the bait, all the while emphasizing any given employee’s views shouldn’t be conflated with Stanford’s institutional view.

MORE: Harvard, Stanford Med professors decry ‘pointless shutdowns’

It went a little further this time in response to the “rise up” charade, issuing a statement that said Atlas is speaking neither for Stanford nor Hoover:

The university has been asked to comment on recent statements made by Dr. Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who is on leave of absence from that position.

Stanford’s position on managing the pandemic in our community is clear. We support using masks, social distancing, and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing.  We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities.

Left unspoken, of course, is that Atlas is backed by Bhattacharya and John Ioannidis, the Stanford epidemiologist who first called out the shoddy data being used to justify lockdown policies back in March.

Stanford’s affirmation that it disagrees with Atlas’s recommendations wasn’t enough for faculty including literature professor David Palumbo-Liu, an author of a faculty letter asking for Stanford to reassess its relationship with Hoover.

“It contains no moral outrage or any sense that he has done anything at all objectionable,” the non-scientist groused to the Daily. “It is pathetic.”

Another non-scientist, Chinese history professor Thomas Mullaney, blasted the administration for not denouncing an “unequivocally wrong” viewpoint (apparently forgetting the point of academic freedom). He called Stanford’s statement “insipid and spineless. Gmail’s AI auto-responder could have done a better job.”

Read the hit piece.

MORE: Ioannidis finds low COVID fatality rate even in ‘hotbeds’

IMAGE: Scott W. Atlas/Twitter

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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