Lifesite News: Canadian Catholic Far-right Anti-Abortion Advocacy And News Website Lifesitenews
LifeSiteNews is a non-profit Internet news service focused on culture, life, and family concerns. It was first released in September of 1997.
Numerous organizations and newspapers, educators, professionals, political, religious, and life and family group leaders, and grassroots people utilize LifeSiteNews Daily News reports and information pages throughout North America and worldwide.
Campaign Life Coalition, a Canadian political lobbying group, established LifeSiteNews in 1997 with the goal of promoting anti-abortion ideas.
At the 2013 March for Life Youth Conference in Ottawa, founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen said that the anti-abortion movement was the target of a media conspiracy and that the goal of LifeSiteNews was to get around the mainstream media. Raymond Gravel, a Catholic priest and former member of the Canadian Parliament sued the website for defamation in Quebec in 2011.
He sued for CA$500,000 in damages, claiming that the site's portrayal of his self-described pro-choice beliefs as "pro-abortion" was defamatory. As of February 2013, LifeSiteNews has published 41 stories on Gravel.
A Quebec judge permitted the case to go to trial in 2013. Gravel passed away on August 11, 2014, from lung cancer. In 2018, LifeSiteNews claimed to have a readership of 20 million people.
John-Henry Westen is the editor-in-chief, and Steve Jalsevac is the president. LifeSiteNews is no longer managed by the Campaign Life Coalition, but the two organizations share certain board members.
LifeSiteNews was established with the goal of fighting legal abortion, and it still has that goal. It also publishes pieces against contraception, homosexuality, and transgender rights on a regular basis, and its website lists euthanasia and cloning among topics it opposes. Many of the articles in this Catholic magazine are faith-related.
It has published a number of pieces critical of Pope Francis, and it frequently publishes articles by critics such as Carlo Maria Vigan, an Italian archbishop and former Vatican ambassador who is a conspiracy theorist, and Cardinal Raymond Burke.
A far-right, conservative, social conservative, and ultraconservative have all been used to characterize LifeSiteNews. In 2016, the fact-checking website Snopes characterized LifeSiteNews as "a well-known provider of false information."
LifeSiteNews reportage "feigns journalistic integrity, but misleads via omission," stated Paul Moses for Commonweal in 2021. In a study from 2021, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network called the website a "Christian equivalent of Breitbart."
LifeSiteNews is a member of the "Christian-right anti-transgender disinformation ecosystem," according to Political Research Associates analyst Heron Greenesmith, who told NBC News in September 2019 that "LifeSite platforms the small number of anti-trans researchers, academics, and right-wing professional associations, giving their work a veneer of scientific validity."
According to Moses, the site spreads misinformation about COVID-19, and its coverage "is so biased that anybody depending on it would be severely misinformed on what the research reveals."
Conspiracy theories are often published on LifeSiteNews.
The website has published false allegations regarding Donald Trump's efforts to reverse the 2020 presidential election results, as well as pieces supporting the "Stop the Steal" movement with the same objective.
Some items on the site utilize the term "New Global Order," which is the name of a conspiracy theory that theorizes the emergence of a hidden authoritarian world government.
Since 2018, LifeSiteNews' Twitter accounts have been banned at least four times: once in mistake, twice for breaching regulations against "targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender people," and once for disseminating COVID-19 disinformation.
In February 2021, LifeSiteNews' YouTube channel was suspended for spreading COVID-19 disinformation on a regular basis. COVID-19 was dubbed "the biggest deception ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting audience" in one video.
Another encouraged anti-vaccine sentiment and questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations, claiming that COVID-19 "isn't actually murdering people right and left who weren't going to die within the year anyhow."
These statements were contrary to scientific consensus and findings from authorities such as the World Health Organization, and they were also in violation of YouTube's rules on the spread of health misinformation.
In May 2021, LifeSiteNews was permanently banned from Facebook for violating rules banning the spread of COVID-19 disinformation.
According to LifeSiteNews, Facebook claimed the suspension was due to their policy of deleting anti-vaccination accounts, and a Facebook representative reportedly accused LifeSiteNews of spreading "false information regarding COVID-19 that may lead to bodily damage."
Media Matters for America, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and NARAL Pro-Choice America released a joint statement saying they had gathered and reported to Facebook over 100 postings by LifeSiteNews that allegedly promoted COVID-19 and vaccine-related disinformation.
They went on to say that Facebook should have banned the organization "years ago" for "pushing its toxic anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice bigotry" on the site.
Byram Bridle’s Claim That Covid-19 Vaccines Are Toxic Fails To Account For Key Differences Between The Spike Protein Produced During Infection And Vaccination, Misrepresents Studies
The allegation that COVID-19 vaccinations may induce blood vessel damage in individuals who have been vaccinated became popular on social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and Twitter in late May 2021.
This allegation was based on a 28 May 2021 radio conversation between Canadian journalist Alex Pierson and immunologist Byram Bridle, according to several postings and articles (see examples here and here), including this one from LifeSiteNews.
According to CrowdTangle, a social media analytics service, the interview got over 39,000 engagements on Facebook.
Bridle stated during the interview that the spike protein generated by COVID-19 immunization, which provides protection against the illness, penetrates the circulation and may harm blood vessels and the brain.
This claim was determined to be deceptive by scientists who evaluated it for Health Feedback because it misrepresented the findings of scientific research and was based on cherry-picked data.
Bridle's allegation was founded on three premises: In COVID-19 patients, the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 is the primary cause of blood vessel destruction. The spike protein generated from the vaccination causes the same harm to the body as the spike protein produced during viral infection.
The spike protein from the vaccination enters the circulation and builds up to dangerous quantities in organs including the spleen, bone marrow, liver, adrenal glands, and ovaries.
Global Warming And The Covid-19 Pandemic Are Unrelated Issues: One Will Not Protect Us From The Other
"If we want to protect ourselves against the coronavirus, we must step away from all the climate change efforts we've been making," according to an article published in Life Site News on March 17, 2020.
However, experts that looked into this idea uniformly rejected this result, stating that global warming and viral seasonality are two separate phenomena with distinct time scales that cannot be combined to influence one another. They also highlight the scarcity of information on SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
This assertion is based on unpublished results from multiple research organizations that recently revealed a potential impact of local temperature and humidity on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that is causing the current COVID-19 epidemic.
A Chinese team released a preprint paper comparing SARS-CoV-2 transmission in several Chinese cities and linking it to local temperature and humidity levels. The researchers came to the conclusion that the virus spreads more effectively in colder, drier environments.
Similarly, a study conducted by University of Maryland researchers found that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurred in a latitude corridor with temperatures ranging from 5 to 11 degrees Celsius.
Based on these findings, the author of the Life Site News article claimed that a warmer Earth would reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission and that abandoning existing attempts to reduce global warming would be an acceptable reaction to COVID-19 spread.
The scientists who looked at this claim uniformly rejected it, citing faulty logic. Particular viruses do have an edge in terms of transmission at certain seasons of the year.
Seasonality may be observed in the influenza virus and the respiratory syncytial virus, which peaks in temperate areas during the winter months. Seasonality may be explained by a variety of direct and indirect variables.
As stated in this Science news article, UV light is more strong during the summer, causing virus particles to deteriorate more quickly and hindering their spread in the air.
However, Prof. Mohammad Sajadi, a virologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and first author of one of the research pre-prints mentioned in the Life Site News article, specifies that "seasonal respiratory viruses can be present year-round and cause several peaks of infection in tropical and subtropical regions."
Because COVID-19 was only recently discovered, data is limited: "There is a chance that SARS-CoV-2 transmission will be weakened by summer temperatures if it behaves like the Influenza virus, but at this point, we really don't know enough to say that," says Dr. Devin Kirk of Stanford University, who studies the impact of climate change on infectious diseases. Some pre-print studies anticipate a decrease in COVID-19 dissemination in warmer regions, but others disagree.
Recent outbreaks in tropical areas like Singapore and Brazil show that warmth and humidity alone aren't enough to keep COVID-19 infections at bay. Several authors consistently highlighted that other variables, not only temperature or humidity, are the primary causes of the present epidemic.
"At this point, the lack of population immunity means we will almost certainly see substantial viral transmission, especially in warmer climates," says Dr. Rachel Baker, an epidemiologist and environmental studies researcher at Princeton University.
"Currently, environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity, will likely be overridden by the fact that so much of the world are susceptible to this infection and can act as kindling to allow this pandemic to grow," says Micaela Martinez, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University.
As a result, active attempts to reduce viral spread by targeting human behavior and developing therapies are more likely to provide a viable solution.
Prof. Akiko Iwasaki, an immunobiologist at Yale University, warns that even if the virus is less virulent in warmer or more humid conditions, it will still jump from one person to another in close contact. "Even in warm and humid conditions, people should still wash their hands and practice social distancing measures," she says.
If someone sneezes near to you, no amount of temperature or humidity can keep the virus-laden droplet spray from landing on your face." The experts who looked into this allegation all agreed that letting global warming worsen was not a viable solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The development of diseases moves at a far slower rate than global warming. Global average temperatures are now 1°C higher than they were in the early twentieth century.
Because there are substantial lag periods in the climate's reaction to human activity, this increase in the Earth's average temperature would have no effect on disease outbreaks. Dr. Baker claims that if we stop addressing climate change today, the consequences will not be seen for another 40 years.