President Obama: I challenge you to a $1M debate on COVID-19 misinformation
President Obama, I'm willing to bet $1M that you (and your friends in the White House and CDC) are the misinformation spreaders and not me and my friends. Will you accept? Or do you agree I'm right?
President Obama correctly observed that COVID-19 misinformation is causing people to die. It’s a serious problem and we fully agree. We just disagree on who is spreading the misinformation.
However, just pointing out the problem won’t solve it.
If President Obama wants to actually do something meaningful to solve the issue, all he has to do is accept my very reasonable debate offer.
I’m happy to negotiate mutually agreeable terms on the debate and the incentive. If the monetary incentive is too low, we can raise it. If it is too high, we can lower it. We are flexible. But hopefully the incentive should be to save innocent lives. We do not need a monetary incentive to accept the debate.
My friends and I are the world’s biggest misinformation spreaders, so this is a unique opportunity for President Obama to “walk the talk” and solve one of the biggest problems of the pandemic and save millions of lives worldwide with a four hour investment of his time (or even less if he wants subject matter experts to defend his position).
Obama was at Stanford recently (which is right near where I live), but I read the text message about an hour too late to be there.
Here’s an excerpt (click the image to play the video):
He said “People are dying because of misinformation”
He is absolutely right about that. We agree.
But he’s the one spreading the misinformation (along with his friends in the White House, Congress, mainstream media, CDC, FDA, NIH, and the mainstream medical community) and not us.
I’m so confident of this that I’m willing to bet him $1M I’m right… that our side will easily win a fair debate between the two sides judged by the American people.
Mutually agreeable terms of the debate. Loser pays the winner. The American people who view the debate are the voters.
1:1 or N:N (you pick N)?
We can do it as a 1:1 debate, or you can invite as many people to help you on your side and I’ll invite the same number of experts on my side. So it’s completely fair.
This is exactly the type of open discussion that UCSF Professor Vinay Prasad called for 2 years ago in this excellent op-ed, Scientists who express different views on Covid-19 should be heard, not demonized.
Open discussion is the ONLY way to stop the misinformation; they’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked. This is the only thing they haven’t tried.
Prasad is right. Open discussion is the only way to stop the misinformation; you must confront it head on. They’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked: censorship, defamation, gaslighting, ad hominem attacks, deplatforming, threats of job loss, license loss, loss of hospital privileges, and loss of life. Those coercive techniques will never work.
It’s been two years since Prasad’s op-ed, but an open discussion between the experts on both sides has never happened. That’s why the misinformation persists.
No public health authority promoting COVID-19 policies has ever consented to be challenged in a neutral forum. Ever.
Here’s what happened in Canada when three physicians challenged every public health authority in Canada to a debate: not a single public health authority showed up.
Isn’t it time we changed this?
After all, as you said, “People are dying because of misinformation.”
Let’s put an end to these unnecessary deaths.
All of us on the “misinformation spreader” side are game.
Why don’t you accept my offer so we can let the public decide who is spreading the misinformation about COVID-19? You can make an easy $1M which you can donate to your favorite charity, end vaccine hesitancy, and stop the spread of dangerous misinformation (and resulting deaths) in a single 4-hour debate. You’d accomplish something that the White House, the CDC, the FDA, the NIH, all tech companies, all fact checkers, and the mainstream media have all failed to do despite spending enormous amounts of time and money.
You have nothing to lose. It would be a tremendous public service.
And if $1M isn’t enough, I’m willing to entertain any amount you require, higher or lower. Name your price.
Hopefully though, you aren’t doing it for the money. You’re doing it to save lives. We both agree on that. So I’m fine if you want to do it for free. We certainly are willing to do it for free. And you don’t even have to attend. If you want to appoint experts in your place, we’re fine with that. We will be happy to accommodate you.
What do you say?
Thanks to RedVoiceMedia for writing a story about my offer and thanks to Twitter for censoring it when people try to post it:
This comment is just to recommend a good Igor substack article about some of what might be used if Mr. Musk actually *does* try to make Twitter what it once probably claimed to be: a forum for free speech as we know it or imagine it:
Steve, you should keep a nice running list of those who are too fearful to take you up on the “debate”!!! It would be interesting to be able to view the list of them all together! Just an idea, you’re probably already keeping track:)