Tragedy has struck the public health community. Frau Doktor Professor Leana Wen, who most of us remember as the head of an organization devoted to slaughtering children and an advocate of forcibly confining unvaccinated citizens to their homes, has been selected to be a speaker at the November gathering of the American Public Health Association as part of a panel discussion titled “Backlash.”
According to an email Wen sent to MedPage Today:
“I was invited to speak on a panel entitled ‘Backlash’ that specifically addresses how difficult it is to navigate public health policy against a backdrop of challenging politics,” Wen said in an email to MedPage Today. “It’s my understanding that the panelists were selected because we have experience dealing with controversy.”
“Public health practitioners are often in positions where we must balance competing priorities, which results in criticism from all sides,” Wen added. “These are important experiences to share and to discuss with fellow practitioners, students, and the public.”
Her selection to participate has generated, well, backlash. This is how David Zweig, writing in the Boston Globe, frames events.
This November, Boston will host the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, the largest public health conference in the world. Past meetings have drawn more than 12,000 attendees. The event will feature hundreds of sessions and thousands of presentations. Yet one scheduled talk, by Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and frequent pundit, professor of health policy at George Washington University, and former president of Planned Parenthood, has caused an uproar. This week some members released a public letter, now signed by more than 500 people, that seeks to have her banned from speaking at the meeting.
The list of grievances against Wen — together with the demand that her invitation to speak be rescinded — exposes a strain of thought among a section of the public health field that is wildly out of touch with the values of most of the American public. It is also indicative of why at least some parts of the public health establishment have lost the confidence of so many regular people.
Wen is referred to as “unscientific” for suggesting, this spring, that vaccinated people should be able to return to a pre-pandemic normal. She is called “unethical” for largely agreeing with the new guidance for schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which relaxed restrictions on distancing, masks, and automatic quarantine after the agency weighed the harms of such interventions against the fact that today COVID-19 poses a far lesser threat than it did earlier in the pandemic. She is chided for mentioning learning loss as an issue of concern related to keeping kids out of school. And, among still other complaints, Wen is accused of being “fatphobic” for saying that eating doughnuts every day is not healthy.
Until her recent pivot to moderation that has so angered her detractors, Wen was, from my perspective, an extremist whose views related to the pandemic often were flat wrong. For a while she favored maximizing restrictions and an authoritarian, punitive approach to anyone unvaccinated. In the fall of 2021, she said unvaccinated people shouldn’t be allowed to leave their homes and likened them to drunk drivers. But in the main, this debacle has less to do with Wen or her views, specifically, and more to do with the culture that spawned the letter. Deplatforming speakers, refusing to hear views that differ from one’s own, and hyperbolic rhetoric intended to demonize those with whom one disagrees is an intellectually bankrupt way for anyone to conduct themselves. That the attempt at cancellation is being perpetrated by scientists and academics is all the more disheartening, as some dissenters within the field have pointed out.
A petition is circulating online demanding the APHA disinvite Wen.
As public health practitioners, educators, students, advocates, and allies, we are deeply concerned about the decision to make Leana Wen, MD, MSc a speaker for the 2022 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting. Currently, Dr. Wen is slated to be a speaker presenting on “Backlash,” and particularly regarding misinformation. We are demanding our colleagues and fellow leaders in public health to reconsider and replace Dr. Wen with someone whose work is consistent with anti-racist, anti-eugenicist public health practices and community health.
Through her platform on news outlets and social media, Dr. Wen has promoted unscientific, unsafe, ableist, fatphobic, and unethical practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, in a recent article, Dr. Wen suggested that infection should be accepted as a “new normal.” In another article, she writes about how learning loss is a threat to children from parents who want to keep their kids safe; despite the fact that as of 8/6/2022, 1,376 children have died from COVID-19 infection. In yet another article, she advocated for “hot vax spring,” suggesting – while still in an omicron surge – that municipalities lift all protections except vaccination. Her recommendations also included the unscientific and nonsensical suggestion of designating a section of planes to wearing masks in response to an airborne pathogen.
It is kind of hard to argue against Wen’s track record of being a eugenics promoter; I mean, when you head up an organization that was founded specifically to carry out a eugenics program, that would be Planned Parenthood, that is baked into the resume. That said, it is hard to accuse Wen of spreading misinformation, at least in the sense that it is interpreted by the US media and social media conglomerates when she’s little more than a sockpuppet for whatever the CDC is saying today. When the CDC supported lockdowns and quarantines, Wen was right there. As the CDC guidance morphed to “living with COVID,” Wen became a booster of “getting back to normal.”
The best and worst thing about Wen is that she will parrot whatever those in political power in the public health community want her to say. What she has run afoul of are the more deranged voices that purport to care more about stomping on civil liberties than Wen. For instance, Twitter troll Eric Feigl-Ding (it must be hard living with a surname that sounds like a variety of clap) claims he’s resigning from the APHA because she was invited.
I will be cancelling my membership in the APHA (@PublicHealth) because of this horrendous move.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) August 11, 2022
Other would-be Brown Shirts also weighed in about what kind of a bad person she is.
So, first. 70% of Americans are not fully immunized against SARSCOV2 (both initial doses, booster series). 1/ pic.twitter.com/wIcmvy2gXW
— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) August 17, 2022
On the one hand, I’m inclined to sympathize with Wen. I think most in conservative media would be. On the other hand, we’ve lived with the looney left attempting to silence and deplatform us for years. For a pluralistic society to function, citizens must be able to challenge ideas and policies without having the weight of government and mega-corporations brought down upon them. Otherwise, we are Communist China. The extent to which anyone tries to deprive someone else of their livelihood or liberty based on their opinions is a direct assault upon the freedom of all.
On the other hand, we have this:
And we have this:
People on here are sticking up for Leanna Wen, who played a key role in tormenting me and other Americans mere months ago. They say she doesn’t deserve to have her career or reputation damaged
I thought about this carefully, and disagree. She is a villain and deserves the worst. pic.twitter.com/unkoOSYbir
— missed.information (@s00nd) August 17, 2022
We have statements like from her April 29, 2021, appearance on CNN Newsroom:
“If we can tell those individuals who otherwise would not get vaccinated, if we say to them, “The moment of freedom for you is when you get vaccinated, when you reach the two week mark,” these are people that otherwise might not be vaccinated, so let’s give them that incentive.”
More of Wen’s wisdom can be found at this link.
Before she took over Planned Parenthood, she led a “cancelling” movement of her own.
Dr. Leana Wen, the new Planned Parenthood boss, believes in “practicing what we preach”.
A Chinese immigrant who fled her native country when she was eight, she has campaigned to reveal doctors’ private information including political affiliation, views on abortion and money they received from pharmaceutical companies.
But she herself did not disclose her affiliation or that she received money from outside firms, Fox News can disclose.
In 2014, Wen launched a website called “Who’s My Doctor” aimed at revealing personal information about doctors, including their political affiliation, their views on abortion and whether they are receiving any outside funding.
What she tried to paint as patient advocacy was transparently an attempt to target doctors who disagreed with abortion and other leftist tropes.
In theory, one person silenced by the mob is the same as all of us being silenced by the mob. However, in practice, I’m not sure that is the case when dealing with civil wars on the left.
Fucking LOL at Eric Feigel-Dingbat resigning APHA because they’re platforming “covid minimizer” Leanna Wen, who wrote in 2020 that BLM rallies were safe for covid and Trump rallies were not because of the difference in perceived covid caution in both groups of attendees. https://t.co/rSImYhky4W
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) August 13, 2022
If these people want to bully and intimidate one another, don’t expect help from the people you regularly abuse and demonize. Not once since the COVID “pandemic” erupted has Wen ever gone on record in favor of debate. Instead, she presented her opinions, nearly all of which have been proven wrong after the damage was done, as the only solution. She fed and encouraged the mob that is now angry at her. She has demonized people who made an entirely rational decision to forego vaccination. What she is experiencing is not “cancelling,.” She’s just seeing how the shoe fits on the other foot. If they want to silence her, have at it. She cast her lot with totalitarianism, and she should be allowed to enjoy her decision.