Why are some people reluctant to get vaccinated against Covid 19? According to the British Medical Association, ‘there is no simple answer to a complex problem’.
Prince Harry knows better, though. For our ‘Duke of Epidemiology’ the answer is simple: vaccine hesitation is all the fault of the ‘news’ media – and no doubt the British press in particular.
After all, it was Wednesday night at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards in London that the prince – turned up in a black tie and tuxedo – made a surprising appearance via video link from his California mansion.
He was there to present an award to the brilliant team behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
But His Royal Wokeness wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to bring the boat to the media in front of a star-studded audience.
Speaking at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards in London on Wednesday night, Prince Harry (pictured) said hesitation over the Covid-19 vaccine is the fault of the ‘news’ media
Everywhere, he said, families are “overwhelmed by mass misinformation through “news” and social media, where those who [sic] lies and fear are causing vaccine hesitancy and ‘undermining trust’.
In scandalously lumping the ‘news’ media with social media, it was Harry the hypocrite who could be accused of spreading misinformation.
His carefully placed quotes around the word “news” – as evidenced by the official transcript of his speech published on the GQ website – were clearly intended to get the message across that the mass media are liars, no more to be trusted than the craziest. anti-vaxxer on Twitter or Instagram.
It was the prince’s umpteenth display against the water’s self-defeating and increasingly insane hostility to the press.
If Harry ever read the news, he would know that there has been no ‘mass misinformation’ about the benefits of vaccination in our mainstream newspapers and their online outlets. On the contrary.
And the vast majority of the UK public has welcomed the rollout of the NHS vaccination – over 79 per cent had received their second dose yesterday.
The Prince’s blatant, two-sided attempt to tarnish the news media with the brush of “disinformation” smacks of the kind of cynical propaganda he likes to accuse the press of spreading.
He said families are “overwhelmed by massive misinformation across ‘news’ media and social media. Pictured: People protest the Covid-19 vaccine in Trafalgar Square on July 24
In contrast, of course, there is a lot of toxic waste about Covid and the vaccine in particular spread through social media and elsewhere on the internet.
Ironically, when Harry and Meghan updated their media relations policies last January, Harry and Meghan signaled a shift away from a system that “predates the dramatic transformation of news reporting in the digital age,” which they claimed made it difficult for them. to ‘personally share moments in their lives directly with members of the public’.
They also pledged to “work with grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists.”
In a nutshell, they embraced exactly the kinds of sites and apps that have been most responsible for giving way to conspiracy theories about Covid vaccines.
Harry and Meghan hate the “news” media because, unlike their mocking social media fan club, its vile journalists will insist on questioning what they say and do and point out the inconsistencies.
Why did the British press last month have the nerve to accuse Harry of hypocrisy for giving censorship lectures on carbon emissions before flying back from a charity polo match on a private jet.
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left Britain, they insisted they wanted to reclaim their privacy in a location free from media interference.
So they moved to “celeb central” California, staged a global all-encompassing interview with Oprah Winfrey, and then aired endless revelations about their most personal feelings and family relationships.
It is now clear that what they really want is not privacy, but PR – the ‘freedom’ to tell ‘their truth’ without the fear of being questioned or contradicted by journalists. And woe to those who don’t play their PR game.
Harry and Meghan hire the most aggressive of media lawyers to instill the fear of m’lud in their critics, and will even threaten to sue the awakened BBC news if it strays from the Sussex party line, as it did in the dispute over whether or not the Queen had endorsed the couple by naming their daughter Lilibet.
It was undoubtedly pure coincidence that Harry chose to launch his latest commercial against the ‘news’ media at a celebrity event where MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan was in the audience.
It was undoubtedly pure coincidence that Harry chose to launch his broadside against the ‘news’ media at an event where MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan (pictured) was in the audience
The event took place the same day Ofcom acquitted Morgan of violating the broadcasting rules on Good Morning Britain, with his coruscating criticism of Harry and Meghan’s version of events, before and after the wedding, as told to Oprah.
Meghan even directly appealed to ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall – a former chief executive of The Guardian, by the way – to censor Morgan, and he was in fact forced to leave GMB for refusing to creep up on the Duchess.
Ofcom’s verdict — a strong defense of free speech — concluded Morgan was entitled to “hold and express strong views that rigorously question their account,” even if some found his views “highly offensive.”
Banning such views would be “an unjustified and horrifying restriction on the freedom of expression of both the broadcaster and the public.”
Like all awake warriors, Harry and Meghan wouldn’t recognize “freedom of speech” if they found it in their organic granola. They demand the “freedom” to impose a “chilling restriction” on the free press and deny the public the right to judge the truth for themselves.
Press freedom in Britain was won by a hard-fought battle against royal censorship, which only ended when Crown licensing of the published word was abolished more than 300 years ago.
The last thing we need in the 21st century is a wakeful version of headstrong press interference by a prince of hypocrites venting misinformation about the news media.
Mick Hume is author of Trigger Warning: Is The Fear Of Offensive Killing Free Speech? edited by William Collins.