LA Public Health Chief Barbara Ferrer Grilled in Court for On-Going ‘Twitter Files’ Censorship Scandal’
Masking Dissent: Ferrer accused of ‘capricious COVID health orders’ and blocking negative public postings on social media
By Thomas Buckley, May 9, 2023 3:30 am
Last Wednesday, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health chief Barbara Ferrer was in a conference room with her two tax-payer funded lawyers for her deposition in the Alliance of Los Angeles County Parents lawsuit filed against the county over numerous pandemic issues.
Ferrer and her legal team wore masks. And they declined to remove them when asked by the court reporter to do so so she could understand them better.
To reiterate – this was five days ago…which seems to pretty much sum up the reasons for Ferrer’s draconian pandemic response.
One helpful set of headphones later, they began what could only be described as a contentious few hours discussing, amongst other things, why Ferrer’s department suddenly shut off the comments features on all of its social media accounts last August.
During the deposition – you can find the link to the entire document at the bottom of the story – Alliance attorney Julie Hamill peppered Ferrer with questions about how COVID cases and deaths were counted and whether or not the decision to bar public comments was related to a specific incident.
One possible trigger may have been the planned but thwarted re-imposition of the mask mandate last July 30. Or the fact that just days before copies of an internal USC staff “town hall” meeting video during which medical doctors (Ferrer is not one) appeared to question the justification for such a move.
Ferrer emphasized that she merely okayed the move made by her communications office and repeatedly claimed that the reason for shutting off public comments was “to ensure that on our sites people were receiving accurate information,” adding that there was “a lot” of problematic misinformation concerning masks and vaccines.
That may not be exactly correct. As part of the case, Hamill has obtained internal emails and messages that show Ferrer’s communications officer Brett Morrow complaining about the negative public postings, making an apparently successful attempt to have an unknown person banned from Twitter, and approving the ban the day the new mask mandate was supposed to go into effect with the comment “Let’s do it for all posts. I’m over people rn (right now). Lol”
It should be noted Morrow also wrote he got help dealing with the Twitter banning effort from Patrick Boland, at the time a staffer for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). Boland is now with Schiff’s senatorial campaign, but like Schiff, is no stranger to speech repression attempts. Schiff famously asked Twitter to ban a number of critics, including a Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations. Sperry was in fact briefly barred from Twitter, but he stated in a Tweet that Boland also simultaneously threatened his employer regarding his work “exposing Schiff’s impeachment whistleblower and his ties to Schiff’s staffer.”
BREAKING: Around the same time Adam Schiff's office was lobbying Twitter to have me banned, Schiff's chief of staff Patrick Boland was making threats to my employer https://t.co/CFjA9fYe6S about my stories exposing Schiff's impeachment whistleblower & his ties to Schiff's staffer
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) January 4, 2023
It is not known if Ferrer is aware that Morrow has interesting DC friends in interesting overtly-political places, or that her department can now be said at least tangentially (for now) involved in the ongoing “Twitter Files” censorship scandal. California Globe was early in its coverage of Twitter’s politically tainted censorship of skeptics of vaccines and other pandemic measures, such as our story about Alex Berenson’s shocking banishment for Covid wrongthink.
A government agency is not obliged to allow comments on its public internet and/or social media presences, but if the sites are open to comment they must be open to all, positive or negative, and if they are closed they must be closed to all, a fact alluded to by private county lawyer Kent Raygor of Sheppard Mullin when he referred in the deposition to the closing of comment as being “agnostic.”
However, the county could have a pair of problems with that assertion, said First Amendment Coalition legal director David Loy.
“If the motive to close is viewpoint, there’s an argument there,” said Loy, though he would not predict the outcome of the case.
Hamill says the timeline of events clearly points to a motive – concurrent and potential future negative comments. Ferrer was trying to implement a new universal indoor mask mandate at the end of July 2022, but just before that was to happen the USC doctors video “went viral,” Hamill said.
Also, said Hamill, the site had numerous not-terribly-flattering comments about Ferrer’s live-in daughter, Kaitlin Barnes, authoring an article about the effectiveness of mask mandates in schools, an article that was then used and relied upon by Ferrer’s department without mentioning the potential conflict of interest.
“And we filed our lawsuit July 26,” said Hamill. “Public comments were cut off three days later.”
Also at issue is the fact that Ferrer’s department did not close its Facebook page’s “review” section to comments – the latest “review” was posted just four days ago.
Interestingly, the majority of the more recent reviews are all positive, which could be a reason for their still being allowed as it improves the department’s overall rating. Even more interestingly, almost all of the reviews are basically ads for crypto-currency and, more troublingly, for herbal potions that claim to cure maladies like herpes, warts, and AIDS (oddly, not COVID though.)
In light of Ferrer’s stubborn stance that it is of paramount importance her department’s sites display only accurate information vetted by her team, it is both incongruous and potentially dangerous that no one on her team seems to have bothered to close down the “reviews” or at least flag the specific posts for removal.
“The case has a novel fact pattern,” Loy said.
It should be noted that the public health department, Morrow personally, Raygor himself, and the attorney from the County Counsel’s office, William Birnie, were all asked multiple times for comment. No one replied to any request and, as per California Globe practice, the reader can find the questions that were asked but not answered at the bottom of this story.
Another issue broached in the deposition was how Ferrer tracked and notated COVID statistics.
Hamill asked Ferrer if she was aware that some of the comments involved questions about overstating those numbers. Ferrer said she was aware but not concerned because “the definition of how deaths are counted is an agreed upon definition…”
“I can understand that some people might not really understand exactly how death classifications are done,” Ferrer said. “But I wasn’t worried that there was significant over count or under count of deaths. And the bigger conversation was, actually, always around hospitalizations, not deaths.”
Ferrer stated that her department did differentiate between hospitalizations, for lack of better descriptors, “for COVID” or simply “with COVID.”
Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, Professor of Clinical Population and Public Health Sciences at USC Keck School of Medicine and a co-author of an article published before the impending new mask mandate deadline, said Ferrer’s department got things wrong.
“COVID cases were never correctly defined,” said Klausner. “A COVID case is not a positive test result but a positive result in an LA resident with certain respiratory symptoms. A positive test is not a case.”
While many in the community point to power-obsessed fear-mongering as a possible reason Ferrer’s department was so heavy handed, Klausner pointed to another potential influence on the statistics.
“A case of COVID death was problematic. There were incentives for physicians and hospital administrators to over-classify COVID related in hospital deaths to receive extra reimbursement from third-party payors like Medicaid or Medicare,” Klausner said. “Many deaths were misreported if someone died with COVID (heart attack with a positive test) rather than from COVID (pneumonia with a positive test) and no one ever did verification of reported COVID related deaths.”
The original Alliance lawsuit was whittled down in court to a single remaining cause of action – the free speech issue, though Hamill noted they will appeal to get the other causes – abuse of discretionary authority, denial of due process, etc. – re-instated once the speech issue has gone to trial in October (technically they have to wait until then.)
She added that the Alliance has offered to settle the case for two things – $10,000 and a re-opening of the public comments features. The county has declined – four times.
“It comes down to the fact they couldn’t control the flow of information – scientific information from medical professionals that conflicted with their narrative, in their case – anymore so they just shut the public out,” Hamill said. “Though hopefully for not too much longer.”
As promised, the questions the government employees did not see fit to discuss with the public:
· What is the current status of the lawsuit?
· How would who generally describe the suit?
· Do you believe the County will prevail eventually?
· The plaintiff (or representative) was barred from attending the deposition. Is that typical practice and/or could you explain why that action was taken?
· An “agnostic defense” was referenced. Am I correct in assuming that refers to the legal theory that since the department cut everyone and everything outside input-wise from its social media feeds the department is not in violation of any free speech laws/regs/rights?
· This defense also hinges on the idea that government agencies are not obligated to provide electronic forums; i.e. it is not an equal “public square” that must remain open to all?
· What is the timetable for producing the documents requested?
· Ferrer spoke of “accurate” information and problematic “misinformation.” Can you define either and/or how does the department determine which is which? Are their set written standards, is it by consensus, is it eye of the beholder, or…?
· How does the agnostic defense jibe with the fact that all of the social media feeds were NOT “shut off” from public input? For example, the “reviews” section of the Facebook page continues to allow new input, input that for the most part involves advertorials (accompanying the all-important 5-star reviews) for herbal herpes and AIDS cures – one would think a public health department committed to “accurate information” would be rather concerned about such content – care to comment/explain disparity?
· In discussing the statement by the USC doctors, Ferrer clearly indicates irritation and seems to call it misinformation while desperately trying to not use that word. Is she and department throwing them under the bus, does Ferrer have further comment on the matter?
· What was the basis for the decision to end public input? Did any of the specific events referenced in the deposition have anything to do with the decision? Can you explain the timing of the decision and, to be blunt, since the department had assuredly received negative input prior why did it wait so long to cut off input in the first place?
· Can you share any of the alleged threatening posts and/or define the nature of the threats?
· Was I correct in reading that Ferrer caught COVID herself? If so, would she care to comment on the irony?
· Were the participants in the depositions wearing masks and if so why and and at whose request?
· Did the department ever engage in risk/reward analyses – balance tests, if you will – of its pandemic policies and does it stand by the actions it took – closing public spaces, masking requirements, etc. – during the pandemic?
· Finally, does Ferrer think the pandemic is over?
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6 thoughts on “LA Public Health Chief Barbara Ferrer Grilled in Court for On-Going ‘Twitter Files’ Censorship Scandal’”
Will she get:
1. a reprimand 2. 20 lashes with a wet noodle 3. fired 4. forfeit her retirement fund. 5. nothing.???
Obvious answer, no? …… 5.
Couldn’t happen to a more deserving Crypt-Keeping Fake Doctor.
Looks like it will be during the discovery process of the various lawsuits that have been filed in these matters that the public will finally get confirmation of their suspicions of dirty practices by cruel jack-booted entities such as “Public Health Officer” Barbara Ferrer and others. Assuming the presence of smart, tough, and persistent attorneys like Julie Hamill, that is. Even if not all the lawsuits prevail, the discovery process of depositions, etc., will definitely make for some very juicy reading matter and at least the public will finally KNOW without a doubt what went on. Which will likely include more bombshell “Adam Schiff Connections” and similar.
P.S. Apparently KABC 790 AM radio host John Phillips was one of the targets for Twitter de-platforming at the end of July 2022. He and his co-host Randy Wang have been consistently critical of Barbara Ferrer and L.A. Dept of Public Health, covering the many threatened returns of the mask mandate, the helpfully fake mask report of the nepotistic and under-the-radar Kaitlin Barnes (Ferrer’s daughter), and the USC “truth” doctors who downplayed Covid “threat,” which contradicted Ferrer’s assertions. Notably the final one-two punch all happened at the end of July 2022, right before ANOTHER threatened mask mandate by Ferrer & Co., which mandate, by the way, did not succeed.
Great news! Barbara Ferrer will be giving a commencement speech for the USC Keck School of Medicine on May 12, 2023.
“Later that afternoon, Keck School of Medicine’s undergraduates will hear from Barbara Ferrer, PhD, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. A nationally recognized public health leader, Dr. Ferrer oversees a $1.8 billion budget focused on preventing disease and promoting heath equity and well-being among more than 10 million county residents. Dr. Ferrer’s remarks will be the cornerstone of the undergraduate commencement ceremony, which will recognize the achievements of students who have excelled in the Health Promotion and Global Health program.”
SEE YOU THERE.
Dude, you should write for the Babylon Bee, or are you really that brainwashed?
The things a ‘public servant’ has to go through to ‘earn’ $557,625 a year (before benefits).