We can learn a thing or two about smear propaganda from my email correspondence with Mark Dery

Here (download below) is my entire email correspondence with Mark Dery, from his initial overture in February through his last few days of fact-checking “The Professor of Paranoia,” his hit-piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education. These emails, and the videos of my two Zoom conversations with the author, comprise the raw materials from which he plucked whatever bits he could deploy to illustrate the hatchet-job that he’d already written in his head before approaching me, and that he then sat down and dashed off for the Chronicle.

As I noted in my preface to his article, which I sent out on May 12, I think that every such attack (they’re all alike) should be regarded as a “teaching moment”; and I see this one as particularly rich, since we have so much documentary material, that we can see not only how hit-pieces are constructed, but—far more important—the peculiar nature of the minds that write them (they’re all alike). As my epistolary back-and-forth with Dery should make clear to careful (and disinterested) readers—especially those who’ve read his hit-piece in the Chronicle—such minds are full of anger, zealously protective of received opinion, and, in that service, at once nimble (skilled at insult, mockery and sophistry) and yet awesomely dense, as hard as granite (a metaphor especially apt in Dery’s case, as we shall see). In short, the minds that churn out such attacks on dissidents—whether on assignment, or out of personal resentment (Dery claims to have come up with the idea, and pitched the Chronicle)—are, above all, closed, completely, and forevermore.

Dery’s hit-piece is so perfect an example of its genre that I intend to annotate it, as I might have my students do, so as to demonstrate exactly what that genre is, and how it works. Here I only want to preface my epistolary back-and-forth with Dery (a very interesting exchange throughout) by noting some key moments.

> On April 26 (p. 4), I wrote that Dery’s questions thus far had evinced “a certain veneration for professional expertise,” as defined by “the profession”—and, therefore, by the media, which either ridicules or blacks out all dissenting views or arguments, and all contrary data. Dery’s obeisances to that consensus, including his solemn nod at “peer review,” suggest (I was implying, as politely as I could) that he knows nothing of (or maybe doesn’t care about) the absolute corruption of the academic sciences, medicine included, by the largesse doled out by Dr. Fauci, Big Pharma and the Gates Foundation (just as the media has been corrupted by those billions). That corruption, I observed, obligates us to pay close attention to the scientific dissidents:

That those experts don’t get quoted in the NYTimes, or on NPR, or any other such outlet, and that such experts even find themselves under attack, makes them that much more credible, as far as I’m concerned, because they make convincing arguments, and have nothing to gain from going against the grain.

As for peer review, I included five links to various articles on the widespread corruption of that process in particular, and also noted that peer review is often skewed by groupthink:

So, inasmuch as peer review tends to reflect received opinion— which is just as influential among academics as it is outside the “ivory tower” (if not even more influential)—I see no reason to regard it as sacrosanct.

I hope we can pursue this line of argument, because it has a lot to do with what has happened to me here.

As Dery’s unquestioning respect for “the consensus” is the crux of all his emails, all his questions via Zoom, and the hit-piece that he quickly pounded out thereafter, what may be most significant about that moment in our correspondence is that he never did address the points raised in my email, though he wrote that he would do so “at the thoughtful length [my email] deserves when I can clear away the underbrush in my workday.”

> On April 29 (p. 6), Dery got from me, but didn’t use, some startling information that, being a journalist, he might have used, if he were not fixated on my putative “trajectory” into madness. “In one of her tweets,” he wrote, the student who smeared me on Twitter “claims that you sent her an email insisting that she ‘must acknowledge “both sides” of the “mask effectiveness debate” or I’m essentially allowing myself to be manipulated by the mainstream media.'” He inserted a screen shot of that tweet, and asked, “Is her account of your email exchange factually correct?” “No,” I wrote back. “The only email exchange I ever had with her took place in mid-September, when she asked to join the class; so I never ‘told’ her anything.”

The next day, Dery, apparently incredulous, revisited the question, with a faintly bullying “request for clarity” suggestive of a deposition.

[Y]ou’re saying Jackson’s claim, in the tweet I sent a screenshot of, is unequivocally false, a complete fabrication? You’ll forgive me for pursuing the question, but I want to be absolutely certain that you’re saying she fabricated that claim out of whole cloth: the email she claims to have received does not exist.

“As to Julia Jackson’s tweet, the answer is, unfortunately, yes,” I wrote (again). “It is a total fabrication. I’ll shortly send you the entire email correspondence between her and myself,” which I then did.

Any honest journalist reporting on what Dery calls “the NYU imbroglio” would surely highlight his discovery that the student whose ferocious tweets began it all is something of a fabulist, and, therefore, that the defamatory pile-on prompted by her claims is worth revisiting—as a story, somewhat like The Children’s Hour, or The Crucible, of collective persecution sparked by the imaginings of a delusional young woman. While any honest journalist would spotlight that discovery, and maybe lead with it, Dery doesn’t even mention it, because his purpose was to pile on, too; and so he couldn’t let his readers know what he’d found out about that student’s tweets.

> On May 2, I tried, again, to get Dery to address the (as academics like to say) problematic basis of what he calls “the consensus”; and, again, he wouldn’t do it—but, this time, he ducked the issue not by failing to reply, as in our exchange on April 26, but, more dramatically, by flipping out, for no apparent reason.

In our exchange about the Holocaust, and those few heroic souls who struggled to alert the world, first to what was brewing in Hitler’s Germany, and then to the Holocaust itself—a struggle that I see as all too similar to the efforts of dissenting scientists and doctors now, against the COVID-19 “vaccination” program, while Dery, “fully vaccinated,” sees any such comparison as lunacy—I revisited the Great Divide between his reverential view of “the consensus,” and my readiness to question it, and read, or watch, the work of those who do:

I realize that our contention really comes down to your faith in what you take to be “the general consensus” of “the medical establishment,” as expressed throughout the media, which (“consensus”) I see as illusory, based not on the opinion of disinterested physicians but the program of some mighty corporations and the state and global agencies attached to them. The doctors speaking out against that program, and those quietly evading it, are not just a few “outliers,” but actually comprise a large resistance all around the world; but you dismiss them, basically because you haven’t read about it in the Times—just as, in the early 1940’s, you would not have read about the Holocaust.

Dery’s reply (p. 15):

This is the merest straw-manning, Mark. I’m happy to continue our correspondence in the service of my article, as long as I’m clacking away at it, but caricaturing me as some gape-mouthed rube gulled by the men in white coats and credulously subservient to the Gray Lady is unworthy of you—and not worth my time. If you find our correspondence stimulating, be more civil.

Shocked by that reaction, I replied:

Good Lord, I said nothing of the kind, and never would. I have the same respect for you now as I did back in the day; I merely raised the question as to whether you would have found the Times just as authoritative then as you do now. How that casts you as “some gape-mouthed rube,” etc., I don’t see.

But if I somehow enabled you to take it that way, I apologize.

“Understood; accepted,” he replied—and that was it.

I’ve read those paragraphs several times, and still can see no incivility in what I wrote, nor any “straw-manning,” or “caricaturing” of him at all. So either I had hit too close to home, which really pissed him off, or it was just a show of pique, so he could duck the question once again. In either case, there too Dery showed himself intent on keeping his mind closed.

> He made that fixed intention clear—startlingly clear—in our last email exchange before the posting of his article.

On May 5, I read, in Global Research, of the Salk Institute’s new study, finding that the spike proteins in the COVID-19 “vaccines” are themselves highly dangerous, potentially ravaging the vascular system (a finding that has been confirmed by other studies). I decided I should forward it to Dery, for two reasons.

First, I thought (naively) that, if he were still tweaking his piece, the unimpeachable prestige of the Salk Institute might, perhaps, move him to modify the jeering tone that I (rightly) expected him to take throughout his article. What I had in mind specifically was his long question, toward the end of our second Zoom encounter, about two others who, as he put it euphemistically, have “evolved epistemologically”: Naomi Wolf and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.—a comparison that made me proud; but, of course, in Mark Dery’s universe, those two are cracked like me, once-fine minds who’ve wandered off (stage right) into the tallest weeds, where we sit barking at the moon.

There are others, like yourself, who have evolved epistemologically, and seem to be conducting an analysis based on an epistemological undergirding that differs from your past world-view. That’s as neutrally as I can put it.

Others who fall into that category are, most notably, Naomi Wolf and RFK, Jr. And so Naomi Wolf, best-known as a feminist, and now I guess you would term her a “vaccine safety advocate.” She seems to share some of your skepticism about the messaging [?] surrounding lockdowns and masking. Certainly RFK, Jr. went from being an environmental activist to being the public face of, again, what you would call, “vaccine safety advocacy.”

Again, all three of you have taken cuffs and kicks from your former colleagues, from those fellow travelers, former left or progressives or liberal phalanx, call it what you will, academic colleagues [sic].

Dery was more focused on vaccines throughout our second back-and-forth (laying into Andrew Wakefield, about whom he knew nothing, and the documentary VAXXED, which he clearly hadn’t seen, and never will). His riff about me, Bobby and Naomi as a (dangerous) trio of formerly-“progressive” kooks was the culmination of that vaccine-centric line of questioning, making clear—or, rather, even clearer—what Dery had in mind; and so (again) I thought that the Salk Institute’s new study might just make some difference in his final draft, if it was not too late.

But I would have sent it to him even if I knew it was too late, because I thought he ought to see it—just as I think everybody ought to know what the real science has discovered, is discovering every day, about those very dangerous “vaccines,” and whatever pathogen has caused COVID-19, as well as the effectiveness of lockdowns, masking, “social distancing,” and such key remedies as hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin and Vitamin D: all of which have either been disastrously misrepresented, or no less disastrously blacked out, by “the consensus” that Mark Dery thinks must be protected from the likes of me. In any case, though he certainly was not my favorite person at that moment, I still felt morally obliged to pass that information on to him, as he and his were fully vaccinated, as he rather loftily informed me in his email of May 2, in response to mine containing links to the new warnings by Dr. Michael Yeadon, Prof. Sukharit Bhakdi and Dr. Sherri Tenpenny:

Thank you for your concern about me and my family. We’ve all been vaccinated without incident, as has everyone we know, and are much relieved to have our odds of surviving the virus’s implacable “extermination drive” through the global population significantly improved.

And so, in hopes that he might slightly modify his pending hatchet-job, and—more important—not allow himself or his loved ones to be injected yet again, I sent him this email on May 5:

You’ve probably put your piece to bed by now, so news of this study, from the highly reputable Salk Institute, is probably too late to factor into your overall take on my position re: the COVID-19 “vaccines.”

If not, and if you have somehow cast me, Naomi Wolf and Bobby K. as the Three Stooges of “conspiracy theory,” perhaps that study will persuade you otherwise. Or if it is too late, I really hope you’ll read it FYI, as it is terribly important, and people must be made aware of it. Those who haven’t had the shots should read the study before getting them, while those who have had their two shots should think it over carefully before getting a third “booster” shot, which Dr. Fauci has suggested will be necessary.

In any case, be well.

His reply:
– The piece is on my editor’s desk and being edited.

– Which means I may have more queries, though strictly of a fact-checking nature. Let me know if you’re unwilling to answer them. They’ll be brief and, again, strictly to do with matters of fact.

– Thanks for the study. My piece is carved in stone, as is my position on vaccines, but I may give it a glance (purely out of curiosity), when I’ve put this piece to bed, my schedule permitting [emphasis added].

His “position on vaccines” is “carved in stone”? I don’t see how any journalist—especially one who claims respect for science—can have a view on nearly anything that’s “carved in stone.” What’s “carved in stone” would be, of course, the Ten Commandments (and graveyard epitaphs); and, speaking metaphorically, the Hippocratic Oath, the Golden Rule, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Nuremberg Code. Nor should even those be off the table for discussion, as we need to question them, so as to better understand them, and then re-affirm them, in the face of an unprecedented global drive to throw them out, and make sure that the children of today grow up not able to remember them, or never having even heard of them, “the consensus” by then having long since stopped invoking them.

In its endless propagation of the COVID cult, with its crackpot aim of jabbing everyone alive (except the cult’s own leadership) with those “vaccines” that Dery thinks confer immunity, and do no harm, that drive has recently been manifest in Pres. Biden’s dazed assertion, of the Constitution, that “no amendment is absolute” (referring to the Second, but, of course, applicable to all the others, too); Prince Harry’s claim, at the VaxLive fundraising concert on May 2, that the First Amendment is “bonkers”; Chelsea Clinton’s call—at a Vatican conference “dedicated to dialogue”—for a total ban, worldwide, on posting anything that might somehow encourage “vaccine hesitancy” (“I personally very strongly believe there has to be more intensive and intentional and coordinated global regulation of the content on social media platforms”); and, in his own small way, Mark Dery, wondering, in the pages of the Chronicle of Higher Education, “what steps” the “academic authorities” might take to “rein in a professor” who has been “accused” (apparently by anyone) of “flouting the epistemological standards of his discipline”—as he claims I have done (no one at NYU has made that accusation), by defending what he calls “misleading claims,” and embracing what he calls “fringe beliefs,” instead of emulating his deliberate ignorance of any data, scientific finding, firsthand testimony, argument or news that somehow contradicts the Big Lies spread by expert propaganda—for that‘s what “the consensus” really is.

Right after Dery’s affirmation of his willful ignorance concerning those “vaccines,” he reaffirmed it, in replying to a second email that I’d quickly sent him, including links to three more studies—in Cell Reports Medicine, Immunologic Research and Nature— noting other ways in which those “vaccines” may damage human tissue. I received those links from Dr. Meryl Nass, a biowarfare epidemiologist who posted them on her invaluable blog (, and whose post I sent to Dery.

His reply:
No more of these dispatches, if you don’t mind. I’m always curious to hear your unique take on matters of moment, if and when you write an extended essay (such as the masking one) or whatever catches your attention. But I have zero interest in anything Nass has to say, and, more to the point, am too busy to revisit a question I regard as settled.

Thus Mark Dery, free-lance writer, was magnanimous enough to take a moment from His very busy schedule, and let me know, from His imperial divan, or His scriptorium, perhaps, that, while He always finds amusement in my “unique take on matters of moment,” He has no use for “Nass,” or, therefore, any scientific study she may recommend—or, for that matter, any scientific studies that would needlessly, and tediously, raise, again, the “question” as to whether those “vaccines” are as “safe and effective” as He knows they are, Dr. Fauci, and the New York Times, and so on, having told Him so, whereby that “question” has, of course, been “settled,” so his “position” on it has been “carved in stone.”

Dery’s self-perpetuating ignorance, and (let us call it) liberal self-importance, would be funny, if they were unique to him; for, if they were, yet he somehow managed to attack me in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I could suggest, facetiously, that he be sent a t-shirt with Dr. Fauci’s hobgoblin face imprinted on it, over the statement, “I’m with Stupid”; or that someone should hit him on the head with a copy of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, then leave it with him, in hopes that he might read it (if he has the time).

But there is nothing funny about Dery’s ignorance, and arrogance, and patent eagerness to see NYU (where he did not get tenure years ago) fire me for encouraging my students to examine all sides of important issues carefully, so as to determine whether certain propaganda claims are true, and make up their own minds, without letting “the consensus” do their “thinking” for them—or, rather, without letting “the consensus” free them from the onerous necessity of thinking for themselves, as Mark Dery, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and all the other thought-policing instruments and organs of the bio-fascist order want them not to do—just as the plantation owners of the antebellum South wanted no one teaching their slaves how to read. It is because Mark Dery’s servile mentality—his proud incuriosity, intolerance of dissent, and impulse to shut down all inquiry into possible high crimes through mere insult and ridicule—is not unique to him, but typical of the professional classes in these ever-darkening times, that we may neither laugh it off, nor fail to call it out for what it is, and what it’s helping to bring on.

So that is my two cents about this correspondence. My next—and last—response to Dery’s hatchet-job will be my annotated version of “The Professor of Paranoia,” as it’s so exquisitely deceptive and malicious an attack—and has so much deliberately left out—that it requires a thorough gloss (which will, I hope, be as enjoyable for you to read as it has been for me to write).


Videos and transcripts of two Zoom conversations

10 replies on “We can learn a thing or two about smear propaganda from my email correspondence with Mark Dery”

Just a meta point: What an exciting battle! If this were on MSM the ratings would be through the roof. Even Joe Rogan doesn’t have discussions like this, (although the episode where James Wilks tore the non-vegan to shreds was quite fun).
Here’s an interesting Milan Kundera quote about your comment,
“…zealously protective of received opinion.”
“Stupidity does not give way to science, technology, modernity, progress; on the contrary, it progresses right along with progress! With a wicked passion, Flaubert used to collect the stereotyped formulations that people around him enunciated in order to seem intelligent and up-to-date. He put them into a celebrated *Dictionnaire des idees recues.* We can use this title to declare: Modern stupidity means not ignorance but the *nonthought of received ideas.* Flaubert’s discovery is more important for the future of the world than the most startling ideas of Marx or Freud. For we could imagine the world without the class struggle or without psychoanalysis, but not without the irresistible flood of received ideas that–programmed into computers, propagated by the mass media–threaten soon to become a force that will crush all original and individual thought and thus will smother the very essence of the European culture of the Modern Era.” Milan Kundera, Jerusalem Address: The Novel and Europe, *The Art of the Novel*, 1986. Perennial Classics, pp 162-3.

Certainly seems that the higher the general anxiety in society, the more intense the striving for groupthink becomes. The particular situation documented here is playing out across society in thousands of similar incidents. I see and feel a similar mania in nearly ALL my personal relationships. The case defines our current era too well.
(PS Your color coding seems to break down at p. 9?)

Well, I think one lesson to learn is to be *extremely* careful about who you talk to these days. If you think for a moment that someone might be trying to undermine you in any way—RUN, do not walk, away!! 🏃🏻

Also, there’s Mark Twain’s well-known advice about not to carry on a discussion with fools: “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” I think it’s best to run from these people too, because at minimum, they just waste your precious time. 🤨

And concerning what Dave wrote, if some personal relationships go sour and awry in this current climate, you may have to end those as well—or at the very least, put up stricter boundaries. If a “friend” has no use for you because you’re standing up for the truth, then that’s not a real friendship anyway. 😛

Well, I had never heard of you before today…and you seem utterly fucking unhinged…A classic example of someone completley up their own fucking arse.
Shame you are not worth suing like some other dim cunts…But some no mark like you is worth fuck all…no cunt pays you will have to borrow a gun for fuck sakes…! What that? You have your own weapons, Crispy? You know what to do then, don’t you….

Just watched you on Dr. Mercola. So sorry what you’re going through. You should definitely consider teaching propaganda online I would attend it. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

This part:
“It is because Mark Dery’s servile mentality—his proud incuriosity, intolerance of dissent, and impulse to shut down all inquiry into possible high crimes through mere insult and ridicule—is not unique to him, but typical of the professional classes in these ever-darkening times, that we may neither laugh it off, nor fail to call it out for what it is, and what it’s helping to bring on.”
Is 100% accurate. I am a recent graduate with a master’s in English. I no longer work in the university setting like I did a few years ago and when I was earning my master’s degree…when trying to communicate back in February with an old colleague from my alma mater about the unknown side effects and long term effects of the vaccines, I was simply called a conspiracy theorist and was told “you dont have to reply, but you shouldnt spread misinformation” (this was over posting a picture of the VAERS numbers with the caption “telling my grandparents not to take the shot”). She expected me not to reply, and that little end statement she made came after belittling my ability to “use credible sources” and calling me a conspiracy theorist. Well, much to her dismay, I did reply, and I think I really packed a punch with showing how much I actually understood about how the “vaccines” are designed and why they are questionable, being such new biological technology….and of course, being cheeky, I mirrored her initial response by saying “you dont have to reply, but you shouldnt spew corporate propaganda in lieu of having a rational discussion”…
Her big reply? Her big way of “shutting me down”?
She called me a white supremacist. Like, a person I used to work with, a person I used to KNOW, who should know that, of all things, I am not prejudiced or racist in the slightest…a white supremacist. Really. And that was it! She literally did not engage ANY information I sent her way. Just ignored it and then went down the check list of SJW violations (racist, sexist, homophobic, etc) when she didnt like how the discussion was going. She is one of those abrasive feminist types, very aggressive and intellectual and probably used to people not standing up (due to the pure exhaustion of arguing, I think, not so much because she is ever “right” or anything). Sorry to vent about it here but I just had to chime in with my experience of this type of person!! And sadly I know I used to be just as bad when I was a student all those years, too! The university is really a sad breeding ground for group think and obedience to the corporate media and establishment medicine, aka the “cult of the expert” except, ironically, the medical people dictating all the unscientific things (lockdowns, masks, etc) are not experts at all.
Okay I am done rambling here. I really admire you Mark, I have heard your story on Highwire with Del Bigtree, on Corbett Report, and recently with Mercola. It never fails to shock me, it is such an atrocious situation you are in. Thanks for standing up and taking on those horrid colleagues of yours at NYU. I have subscribed here, cant wait to get emails with news. You have my support!

I just wanted to thank you for this marvellous ongoing education.
I have never had the skill set to look more deeply into books or movies or argumentation so I wish had your courses under my belt.
These days having left the “main stream” on these current issues I do find myself feeling isolated and often question the sanity of my position.
Your work helps but I do need more instruction- thank you

Beautiful piece on so many levels. I just watched your Mercola interview too. Your experiences and clear and specific responses to them, are a microcosm of so much on our national stage right now. Simple mechanisms have been put in place for decades to bypass what you are advocating for – reason, open mindedness and impersonal disagreement. Emphasis on impersonal. We live in a society that has made everything personal because we are all so precious and “important.” Dery didn’t hear your point about the NYT etc not necessarily being reliable sources bc he thought you were attacking him personally for thinking they were. He had to crush you personally to go on justifying his narrow thinking, or rather, unthinking opinions.

My new world consists of people who I’ve classified as either open minded and those who aren’t and as you discovered, to your amazement, Dery was one of the close minded. It was so revealing to see how his defenses of his closed mind played out. The tools he used to defend himself. Attacking you for attacking him, saying consensus was an indisputable defense against other viewpoints (and possible truths and, by the way, the antithesis of a healthy academic environment) and then attacking you for holding views outside of the consensus. Watching you rightly point out the danger in that kind of thinking clearly pushed him into the red zone. You didn’t realize that your old world had already disappeared around you, did you? The world that elevated intelligence, ie, open mindedness. I have gone to the end with family and friends, trying to reason with them until I finally see with clarity that I will never get through. And every time it was shocking to me. But now, I go into discussions and give up way sooner, knowing that the Body Snatchers have already done their business. My brother actually called me a conspiracy theorist which revealed so much about what and more importantly “how” he really thinks. Disagreeing with establishment views has now earned us absolute disdain. My brother kept saying “peer reviewed papers are the gold standard.” Incidentally, I am likewise following the literature about vaccines as it, OF COURSE, is a continually unfolding story. Thanks for shining a light on so many dark corners, Mark. Sign me up for that online course you’re thinking about doing.

You get a hint of the mentality of people like Kevin mc that posted. Where I am living these guys wanna punch ya lights out cause their muvver and farva didn’t tell me its fridi and ya should eat fish. You cant joust with these morons as there are no lights on, theres no one home and if there is they’re watching paid off media. Without out being insensitive I will put off having the vax at all cost but as I am on a visa they will probably force me as tourism is all important to the road to recovery. In poking fun at the situation then let them get vaxed and a few months down the track they may all roll over like cockroaches and then they may say we got it wrong again. A great piece of writing however the big machine has been paid off and the G7 2021 is about to reset us all. Good luck all.

“His “position on vaccines” is “carved in stone”?” My advice: wait a while – you may yet see the irony of it (lol).

Propaganda seems to me (admittedly, an uneducated boob) to be the art of creating thought tokens that, when taken by the weak minded, or those belligerently devoted to the convenient narratives, replaces their desire to think for themselves with prepackaged instructions and labels, full of innuendo and fear. All it takes for such people to dismiss a valid and worthwhile concern, even one fully vetted by reputable scientists, is to say, “conspiracy theory”. It can even break through their credentialism firewalls. Just a layman’s opinion. Keep up the good work.

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