Two weeks ago, I wrote a not-so-Respectfully Insolent review in my own inimitable fashion of a video entitled Died Suddenly. As you might recall, this 68-minute pseudodocumentary went viral, positing a conspiracy theory in which COVID-19 vaccines are supposedly causing young healthy people to “die suddenly.” The cause as claimed in the film is massive clots caused by the spike protein produced by the mRNA vaccines, and the “evidence”—such as it was—includes anecdotes by embalmers relating how supposedly they’ve been finding more and more clots in bodies that they have been embalming. Chief among these is an embalmer named Richard Hirschman, whom we’ve met before feeding clots to Mike Adams to incompetently analyze by mass spectrometry and determine that they are not clots but rather “self-assembling nanostructures.” More recently, an experienced embalmer named Benjamin Schmidt subjected himself to the movie, and his take on Hirschman’s claims that the clots he was finding in bodies was not positive. To boil it down, Schmidt points out that (1) the clots shown in the movie are nothing unusual (in fact, they’re normal); (2) there’s no evidence presented that embalmers are finding more clots in the recently deceased; and (3) Richard Hirschman is a talented embalmer but an utterly incompetent scientist, given how easily he’s taken in by confirmation bias, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.
In brief, Died Suddenly is so blatantly full of obvious lies and misinformation, as evidenced by its use of clips of people who are claimed to have “died suddenly” who either actually just fainted and did not die and/or collapsed before there were even vaccines for COVID-19—and, in one case, collapsed before the first cases of a disease due to a novel coronavirus had even been described—that even some COVID-19 conspiracy theorists are…uncomfortable…with it, even if they are down with the film’s overall message that massive numbers of otherwise healthy people are “dying suddenly” because of the vaccines.
For example—and I can’t belief I missed this when it was published a couple of weeks ago—Dr. Robert “inventor of mRNA vaccines” Malone added a doozy to his Substack entitled Sins of Information Warfare, adding in a hilarious bit of false equivalence, “Do the sins of our opposition wash our own sins clean?” Let’s see what Dr. Malone thinks, though:
At the moment, there is a very active discussion regarding the increasingly viral video “Died Suddenly”. Other commentators (for example “The Daily Skeptic” and Josh Guetzkow) have appropriately noted that the (generally well funded and produced) video includes segments which are misleading at best, falsely imply one or more cause-effect relationship between a sudden death event and vaccine administration, or otherwise employ cinematic license to stoke outrage. I have previously written regarding the business model of Stoking Rage for the up and coming podcaster, and in my opinion this strategy is fundamentally the same as the “fearporn” business model of corporate media – and in particular CNN.
I once pointed out how some of the most “out there” cranks like to point to even worse cranks as a way of representing their conspiracy theories and disinformation as being “reasonable” compared to even more outlandish theories and disinformation promoted by others. In this case, Dr. Malone is taking on the role of the “reasonable” crank, using Stew Peters as the even more outlandish crank to compare himself to. Amusingly, the article by Josh Guetzkow to which Dr. Malone points another example of this, as Guetzkow is credulous about many claims in the film:
There is some great information in this movie. Information that could — potentially — open people’s eyes and minds. In particular, the interviews with the embalmers and morticians are incredible. The long, white fibrous material they have been finding in dead people’s arteries and veins after the vaccine rollout is truly horrifying. It isn’t new, but it’s presented all in one place in a highly compelling way, especially the scene where you see it being removed from a dead body during an embalming session.
The movie would have been far more effective if it had just focused mainly on that and dug deeper. For example, there is still a question as to whether the clots are what are causing people to die, or if they form post mortem. It would have been valuable to show what they’re made of and to prove that they are distinct from another type of post mortem clotting. There are other things that could have been done to make a much stronger case about the clots.
But unfortunately the film taints and tarnishes the material on the clots and other important information1 by covering it with a lot of garbage.
Actually, as I pointed out before, it’s all garbage, including the claims of embalmers finding abnormal clots when embalming the bodies of people who had “died suddenly.” So, basically, Guetzkow likes the claims about clots while showing actual seeming skepticism about other claims in the movie. I will, however, admit that I laughed out loud when I read Guetzkow’s lament about Died Suddenly:
In the opening montage of the film, interspersed with clips related to people dying suddenly, we see images and clips related to the following: MK Ultra, CIA and Project Mockingbird, Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassination, green screens with ISIS beheadings and Zelensky green screens, George W. Bush’s lies WMDs in Iraq, the words “Conspiracy Theory,” Alex Jones wearing a tinfoil hat, the BBC’s premature reporting on the collapse of WTC Building 7, (fake?) Moon landing footage, UFOs, Bigfoot, and what appears to be the Loch Ness monster.
What was the point of interspersing the montage with all this conspiracy theory fodder? Was it to plant in the reader’s mind that what they were about to see was on par with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster? That only a tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy theorist would pay attention to the material in this movie? That it is just like every other conspiracy theory out there?
What other possible reason could there be to associate your movie with those things unless your goal was to discredit it in the eyes of every observer who is not “into” conspiracy theories? If the goal is to reach a wider audience, the documentary shoots itself in the foot in the first three minutes — even if every conspiracy theory alluded to in that montage is true. If they want to sabotage their own film, fine. But they are also discrediting the rest of us fighting against the encroaching biomedical fascism, associating everything in this movie with Bigfoot. And it pisses me off.
So very, very close and yet so far!
It turns out that Guetzkow was also very unhappy with this segment, with hilarious results:
People have said: everybody makes mistakes and no documentary nails the facts 100% of the time. Of course that’s true, and I myself have made more than one honest mistake. But even if all the errors in this documentary can be chalked up to “everybody makes mistakes,” it doesn’t explain the attempt to blackwash the movie by associating it with a bunch of conspiracy theories like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. So my conclusion is that the mistakes were not honest.
This made me laugh quite heartily too.
As I pointed out in my review of the movie two weeks ago, the reason that Peters interspersed all the conspiracy fodder is obvious. Peters knows his audience. What Guetzkow appears not to know is that the disinformation he’s promoting about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines is very much of a piece with all the conspiracies featured in the opening montage of Died Suddenly. It warms the cockles of my old skeptic’s heart to see how uncomfortable the filmmaking techniques of Died Suddenly are to those who find themselves spreading the same sorts of COVID-19 and ant antivax conspiracy theories featured in the film.
Ditto how uncomfortable Died Suddenly makes Dr. Malone:
For what its worth, I hold “our side” to higher standards than I have come to expect from corporate (broadcast and published) media. I reject the assertion that, on the battlefield of the current 21st century unrestricted media and information war which we are immersed in, it is acceptable to employ the tactics of our opponents. I have heard others in the medical resistance community advocate the schoolyard “logic” of “they are doing it to us, and so we have to do it to them”. I firmly reject this. Any “win” on the information war battlefield which is based on this type of rationale will be transitory and self defeating. It is not a win if we become one with the ethics of our opponents.
This is not just an information war, it is a battle over what is right and good versus what is fundamentally evil. Our opponents clearly believe that the ends justify the means, and that ethics – right and wrong- are completely situational and subject to the same logic widely accepted by the “Virtuals” caste; that there is no objective truth or reality, and reality and ethics are whatever one believes them to be. The ultimate derivative of the logic of “cultural relativity”. The logic from which springs the transsexual movement denialism of the genetic/biologic basis of gender.
I laughed out loud again at the part about how Dr. Malone holds “his side” to “higher standards,” seemingly not recognizing that the “tactics” that he and his allies use are rooted in misinformation and conspiracy theories every bit as outlandish at their core as the conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination, the moon landing, the destruction of the World Trade Center, and all the other conspiracies featured in the opening montage of Died Suddenly. What Guetzkow and Dr. Malone don’t like is having their noses rubbed in how they have become indistinguishable from the likes of Alex Jones, Mike Adams, and Stew Peters. (I also like how he managed to bring in culture war tropes—such as transphobia—as he complains about a movie promoting the same misinformation about COVID-19 that he’s been promoting for well over two years because it leans too heavily into conspiracies for his taste.
Indeed, reading Guetzkow’s discussion of Bill Gates is constructive. He is very much unhappy that the movie parrots a common antivaccine mischaracterization of a TED talk as Gates “admitting” that vaccines will cause global “depopulation,” even as he seemingly “understands” how that interpretation came about:
Then they cut to Chad Whisnat, a plain-spoken, down-to-Earth Funeral Director saying something to the effect of: “Bill Gates said he’s going to reduce the population with vaccines. I can’t think of any other explanation than that taking those vaccines is going to kill people. It’s common sense. I wasn’t an anti-vaxxer but I am one now.”
I agree that is the common sense interpretation of that statement. And I agree that people in power, including Bill Gates, talk publicly about the need to reduce the world’s population — there is an elite agenda. And that agenda has nothing to do with Chad’s common sense interpretation of what Bill Gates said.
“Common sense”? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
No, seriously. It’s almost as though Guetzkow doesn’t think that the antivax interpretation of Gates’ old TED talk is unreasonable, even as he immediately pivots to a seemingly more “reasonable” interpretation of the very same “depopulation” conspiracy theory:
As stated publicly, the elite depopulation agenda is an effort to reduce population growth. And the publicly stated means of achieving this is to lower the birth rate by reducing child mortality, improving the standard of living, and creating greater access to contraception and abortion. It is well known that in areas where child mortality rates are high, women have more children. There are several reasons for this I won’t get into, but suffice it to say that when child mortality goes down, women have fewer babies. Same is true when the standard of living goes up. The reduction in the birth rate more than compensates for the number of infant lives saved, so overall you get a reduction in population growth over time. If mass vaccination campaigns of babies in poor countries reduce child mortality, then you can (somewhat counterintuitively) lower population growth — without killing people and without making them infertile.
Amazingly, this is actually correct, but Dr. Guetzkow can’t resist immediately adding his doubts about whether vaccines actually reduce child mortality, saying that he’s “not going to get into the evidence for or against the claim that vaccinations reduce child mortality in impoverished countries or whether that is the best way to achieve that aim,” mainly because his point “is not whether that is true or whether Gates or anyone else actually believes it.”
He then complains about how Peters “packages” the “common sense” interpretation in Died Suddenly:
The point is this: there is another way to understand what Bill Gates said in his Ted Talk and another way to understand the goals and means of those who talk about the need to reduce the world’s population — one that does not include mass murder and forced sterilization (though some would count abortion as mass murder).
“Died Suddenly” comes out very strong from the starting gate pushing the idea that Gates and all these people who talk about reducing the world’s population want to kill and sterilize us. The problem is that they never acknowledge or address the alternative way of explaining what the depopulation agenda is — the one focused on reducing growth rates by lowering infant mortality. All they offer is the ‘common sense’ interpretation.
And even if that is true, it is a terrible way to package the factual evidence of increased deaths and reduced fertility as a result of the COVID-19 jabs. You will never convince anyone who is on the fence about those facts when it is packaged in the notion that the elites are trying to kill and sterilize the population, for the simple reason that the public statements of those who push the population reduction agenda allow for a different, more benevolent interpretation of their actions.
Oddly enough, he’s sort of correct about this. It is actually hard to persuade reasonable people of the accuracy of your position by “packaging” it in the “notion that elites are trying to kill and sterilize the population,” but not for the reason he states. Rather, it’s very difficult to persuade someone with such a “packaging” because it’s so very, very bonkers, not because the “elites” pushing a “depopulation agenda” make benign statements that “allow for a different, more benevolent interpretation of their actions.”
Even more hilarious is Dr. Malone’s complaint in which he compares Died Suddenly to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s The Real Anthony Fauci:
For either side of the debate. It is often said, when debating an opponent (or an internet troll) that “you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts”. Furthermore, these types of “artistic license” distortions of truth cause both damage to the credibility of the arguments being made (which may otherwise be valid), and can also cause psychologic pain.
Furthermore, these types of errors become weapons which will be deployed against us by our opponents in this unrestricted information war battlefield.
Allow me to provide a counter example from recent history. The Jeff Hays video production of “The Real Anthony Fauci,” a full-length feature documentary based on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s runaway bestseller, was meticulously (internally) fact checked before being released. Anything stated during the many interviews which were used to generate the final product which could not be documented was left on the cutting room floor. It did not rely on either hyperbole or misrepresentation. And (unfortunately) it did not go viral. But it will withstand the test of time.
Seriously, Dr. Malone’s invocation of the old adage that “you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts” made me laugh out loud too, given his prolonged history of spewing all manner of disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and conspiracy theories about how he is being “erased” from Wikipedia. And then don’t get me started on RFK Jr. and his book and movie full of conspiracy theories about Anthony Fauci, lab leak, and HIV/AIDS denial.
Finally, one COVID-19 conspiracy theorist, Mathew Crawford, thinks that Died Suddenly should have stuck to what he calls “simple messages” about “medical freedom” and the “medical freedom movement” (MFM).
Understand that much of my critique of Died Suddenly is based in this terrible feeling after 34 months of research, I see an unnecessarily noisy MFM signal that is being bombarded by false or questionable information making it harder for both people in the MFM and people on the fence who might join the MFM to discern the most important basic truths:
- Nobody should be coerced into medical experiments or treatments.
- Individual autonomy is important for human health and progress.
- The experimental quasi-vaccines were barely tested on small populations and only “shown” by highly questionable evidence to be safe or effective.
- There is substantial evidence that the vaccines are injuring and killing people.
- Fertility risks are an existential threat, and there are safety signals that need serious attention.
Even as he takes what he thinks to be the “reasonable” position lamenting how “bringing up Big Foot from the get go—isn’t the best way to carry a person soberly over the barrier of cognitive dissonance,” Crawford parrots common COVID-19 antivax talking points, such as misrepresenting the vaccines as unethical human experimentation that were inadequately tested and cause infertility. None of this stops him from identifying Stew Peters as a “chaos agent,” noting that “nearly every good researcher I’ve talked to takes issue with it, and for a variety of reasons.” Even more amusing is how Crawford expresses amazement, claiming to have been “honestly shocked to see Steve Kirsch in the Stew Peters production because (1) he never mentioned it during his steering committee meetings (few of which he attended over the past 8 months), and (2) I thought he had better judgment than to muddy his reputation by working with Stew Peters—particularly after Peters watched the water for snake venom until it blew up into a dumpster fire (that’s not a defense against the dark arts spell).” Steve Kirsch, you will remember, is one of the crankiest of COVID-19 antivaxxers, one who loves to challenge critics to five hour debates on YouTube or Rumble.
I do so love a good crank fight. This one, which pits Stew Peters his film Died Suddenly on one side and Robert Malone, Mathew Crawford, and Josh Gruetzkow on the other is classic because it demonstrates how there is a spectrum of science deniers and cranks. More importantly, it demonstrates how most cranks refuse to accept that they are cranks, to the point that having their noses rubbed in the sorts of conspiracy theories that they support, even if they don’t directly argue for them themselves makes them profoundly uncomfortable. This leads them to attack what they see as even worse cranks in order to reassure themselves that they are, in fact, reasonable. It is quite entertaining to watch.