Recently, the left has desperately attempted to double down on censoring anything deemed to be COVID “misinformation,” even if it’s factual. Unsurprisingly, the liberal media continue to defend these actions. On Wednesday’s OutFront, host Erin Burnett and leftist guest Paul Begala attempted to justify the recent suspension of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) from YouTube because of his video accurately noting the ineffectiveness of cloth masks. Luckily, political analyst Scott Jennings was there to expose the “double standards” of censorship of conservatives.
Burnett started by asking Jennings whether or not this suspension would happen if the video was of a Democrat. His response revealed the obvious politics at play:
No, I don't, and this is what has conservatives all bent out of shape is the double standards of all this, because it's not just the Fauci email that you referenced but there have been other respected people other than Rand Paul who are actually Democrats or have been affiliated with Democrats who said much the same thing. Michael Osterholm, who was Joe Biden's COVID advisor, University of Minnesota, respected guy, told Christiane Amanpour, who works here, on August the 3rd, when you look at a face cloth covering, those cloth pieces, they actually only have very limited impact, then told CNN on a later interview that we know today many of the cloth coverings people wear are not very effective.
Desperately trying to justify YouTube’s actions, Burnett argued that “Senator Paul has flouted COVID guidance frequently.” According to Burnett, “this context” justifies the suspension.
Jennings then exposed how this context was just a tactic used to single out Rand Paul and conservative viewpoints:
It matters if you want to single out Rand Paul, but if you just want to talk about politicians in general, it should not matter, and it’s why you should err on the side of free speech. If you want to talk about consistency, how many Democratic politicians have gone out and imposed mask mandates and said, hey, I'm following the science, and then they’ve been caught at public events or private events flouting their own rules? It's happened in California, it's happened all over the country, frankly.
Begala concluded the segment by claiming Paul was putting his constituents in danger and “violating the terms of service of a private company that is not a free speech issue because it’s not the government.” The obvious counterargument to Begala, previously outlined by Senator Paul, is that despite being a private company, YouTube acts like “an arm of the government.”
Below is a transcript of the segment, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront
7:32 p.m. Eastern
BURNETT: New tonight, Republican Senator Rand Paul suspended from YouTube for a week, seven full days. The company saying that these false comments about masks from the senator is why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Most of the masks you get over the counter don't work. They don't prevent infection. Trying to shape human behavior isn't the same as following the actual science, which tells us that cloth masks don't work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Senator Paul then tweeting, quote, a badge of honor, leftwing cretins at YouTube banning me for seven days for a video that quotes 2 peer-reviewed articles saying cloth masks don't work. Out front now, Scott Jennings, who was a special assistant to former president George W. Bush, and Paul Begala, who was counselor to former President Bill Clinton. Okay. Thanks so much to both.
Scott, let me start with you. Senator Paul loves this, he says it's a badge of honor, and I will -- I want to note here because I think that context does really matter, these questions are important. Back in early 2020, obviously before the delta variant, Dr. Fauci did say in an email the typical mask you buy in the drugstore is not really effective in keeping out virus which is small enough to pass through the material. Do you think that this suspension, Scott, would have happened if the video was from a Democratic lawmaker?
SCOTT JENNINGS: No, I don't, and this is what has conservatives all bent out of shape is the double standards of all this because it's not just the Fauci email that you referenced but there have been other respected people other than Rand Paul who are actually Democrats or have been affiliated with Democrats who said much the same thing.Michael Osterholm, who was Joe Biden's COVID advisor, University of Minnesota, respected guy, told Christiane Amanpour who works here on August the 3rd when you look at a face cloth covering, those cloth pieces, they actually only have very limited impact, then told CNN on a later interview that we know today many of the cloth coverings people wear are not very effective. So, Rand Paul is not on an island, and I recognize that there are people who vehemently disagreed, but he's hardly the only person raising these questions. So, for Republicans, they’re like why does somebody like Osterholm get to run out and say this and it's fine, but Rand Paul gets banned from YouTube. This is what has Republicans bent out of shape.
BURNETT: So, it's an interesting point, and I want to ask about a possible reason for that in a moment. But, first, Paul, I want to give you a chance to respond here because I will point out, Senator Paul did say in the video, not the part YouTube says they're banning him for, but in the video that he believes N95 masks do work and as Scott points out, other medical experts, including Dr. Osterholm are now raising red flags about cloth masks. Here's Osterholm and others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL OSTERHOLM: We know today that many of the cloth face coverings are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out.
DR. LEANA WEN: It's really important for us to emphasize that masking does work. The quality of masks also matters. That at this point, we really should be wearing not a cloth mask but at least a three-ply surgical mask.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: The quality of the mask does matter, so if you get your hands on a KN95 mask or an N95 mask, that's going to afford you a lot more protection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So Paul, what do you say? Is it a case of Senator Paul says it so it's different and he gets banned? Is he right to complain? All right. It sounds like Paul can't hear me, so I'm going to ask him that question in a moment when we get him back. Scott, I want to follow up with you with the point that I was going to make, which is there are possible reasons why YouTube would pick on Senator Paul and not on Dr. Osterholm, right? And the primary one is that Senator Paul has flouted COVID guidance frequently, right? Especially on masks as you and I both know. He showed up for work while he waited for what ended up being a positive test result in March 2020, used the Senate gym while he was waiting for a result after he had been exposed. He ended up having it.
When he came back in May, he refused to wear a mask and that refusal has been on display with the Senator again and again and again, colleague after colleague, maskless as they are masked up. We just got a bunch of examples, right? So, it's not that he just said this the way Dr. Osterholm said it, he said it in this context, and he’s made views on masks overall extremely clear. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: If you've had the disease or you've been vaccinated and you're several weeks out from the second dose, throw your mask away.
There is no science to defend putting your kids in mask or parents wearing masks. No science whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Scott, that's the context for Senator Paul, right? And that's a context that doesn't exist for Dr. Gottlieb or Dr. Osterholm or Dr. Wen, who I showed on those soundbites. Does that matter?
JENNINGS: Well, it matters if you want to single out Rand Paul, but if you just want to talk about politicians in general, it should not matter, and it’s why you should err on the side of free speech. If you want to talk about consistency, how many Democratic politicians have gone out and imposed mask mandates and said, hey, I'm following the science, and then they’ve been caught at public events or private events flouting their own rules? It's happened in California, it's happened all over the country, frankly. So, I think Rand Paul’s a politician. Has he done inconsistent things or consistent things if you're a supporter of him? Sure. Have Democratic politicians done the same thing? Yes.
And so, if you're YouTube and you want to make that as the reason why I’ve got to ban Rand Paul today, then you really have to broaden that rule and say if I’m going to ban people who I consider to have done hypocritical or inconsistent things, you’ve got a whole other kettle of fish there, you know, you got to start banning. So, to me, that's why erring on the side of free speech is the right answer and unfortunately, that's not the route they chose.
BURNETT: So, Paul, I don't know if you could hear us. We couldn't hear you. But what’s your response when you hear this? Do you think Senator Paul has a point, that it's just a double standard, or does the context of his ridicule of masks matter?
PAUL BEGALA: He needs to stop whining and start worrying about public health. He's got 7,394 people in his great commonwealth of Kentucky who have died from COVID. Five hundred and two thousand have been infected. The vaccine rate in his commonwealth is lower than the national average. He should be preaching protection, prevention, wear a mask, get vaccinated.
And instead, he's endangering the public health and, by the way, violating the terms of service of a private company that is not a free speech issue because it's not the government. He doesn't have a right to get on YouTube any more than I have a right to get on CNN. It's a private company. If YouTube wants to have him, they can have him, if they don't, they don't have to. But he ought to be telling the truth about this. This is very, very dangerous what he's doing, trying to tell people not to protect themselves and their neighbors and their children.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time tonight.