Dr Daniel Erickson and Dr Artin Massihi dissent.

On Thursday 23 April, in Bakersfield, California, two medical doctors held a press briefing. They are Dr Erickson and Dr Massihi. They tell us more about themselves in the briefing, but meanwhile I can tell you that they are co-owners of Accelerated Urgent Care.

Also, in order that we might listen closely to what they have to say, let me first go over some interesting details concerning this briefing.

This video rapidly went viral (I have seen various figures posted – like 5 million!); YouTube took it down, claiming that it violated its rules; it was quickly reposted by numerous parties with copies. Time will tell how long they will last, so my link is to a posting on BitChute. I seem to be having embedding issues with it, so if it isn’t below simply click the link or copy and paste the URL that is.

The configuration of the audio is distinctly amateurish. If you happen to be listening on headphones you will find that the doctors speak only into your left ear. When questions come via the mic in the audience the audio clicks into mono. There’s a probable reason for this, but I won’t bore you with it. The room looks to be small enough for the audience not to need a PA system, so these microphones are simply for us watching the video. (Because multiple people have been reposting it, there are some versions online that are much shorter – therefore edited – and have had the audio glitch fixed. My link is, I believe, to the raw original.) At any rate this tech mistake strongly suggests that we are watching two medics with something they want to tell us, rather than a slick activist setup.

The doctors happily take and reply to questions while they are going along, rather than restricting them to a Q&A session at the end. I approve of this, and do it myself at seminars, because it provides invaluable detailed audience analysis. By the questions, and the body language of those who didn’t ask but heard the questions, you can glean really penetrating audience feedback on what really concerns them. You are also manifestly demonstrating that you have nothing to hide. It’s not practical for all presentations, but I commend it when it is.

They both shoot from the hip. This conveys sincerity and command of the subject. They read from notes only when quoting statistics or claims that others have made. This conveys accuracy.

Now let us watch the Dr Erickson Covid-19 Briefing


They (mainly Dr Erickson, but both are super-articulate) say what they want to say, and you are quite capable of evaluating for yourself their sincerity, so I think it would be impertinent of me to comment beyond a small autopsy on this briefing.

I came across a link to something claiming to be a refuting of what the doctors had said. It turned out to be a video clip from ABC of a few seconds of a local authority spokesperson saying that the head of the health department had denied, contrary to what you hear at 37:50, agreeing with what the doctors suggested. We did not hear this from the head of the health department, merely hearsay from a spokesperson. The ABC reporter said that further details had been sought, but no answer as yet received.

And finally, I suggest you consider why YouTube (owned, of course, by Google) are so eager to silence what Erickson and Massihi have to say.

I’ll leave it there.

Queen Elizabeth

On the evening of Sunday 5 April, 2020, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth broadcast a special message to her subjects. (In passing, this was aired about one hour before Prime Minister Boris Johnson put himself into isolation.)

Judging by the comments on YouTube it was heard by many more than her subjects. Judging by subsequent comments on social media it was warmly received. It was interesting how many of them began along the lines of, “I am a republican, but …” It seemed to drive home to many the value of a resolutely apolitical Head of State, especially one as wedded to duty as this one.

Before we dissect the content, it’s worth registering the decorum (if you clicked that link to my Glossary page, you might be advised to keep it open). HM finds precisely the right mix of calm authority and affection. This is less surprising when we are told that she gave her first broadcast in 1940. She is probably the only person on the planet who continues broadcasting after eighty years.

A bald opening. This doesn’t surprise me: HM has, to my delight, opened her Christmas broadcasts baldly for some years. If I am really picky I’d have liked a half-second longer silence before she began speaking, but that is down to the editor.

She is straight into anaphora, “disruption …”, and the second element in that repetition contains a triad. These devices have these terms because they were identified and codified by orators in Ancient Greece.

She pays tribute to those working through the disruption, but also wonderfully to those forced not to work, and while that is sinking in she hits the Unity button –

Together we are tackling […] united and resolute…

Shakespeare has Romeo reassuring Juliet, “All these woes shall serve for sweet discourses in our times to come.” It’s a theme that has served speakers well over the centuries, and HM echoes Winston Churchill’s “This was their finest hour!” when encouraging us to enable posterity to hold us up as a fine example.

HM would be breaking her life’s habit if she neglected to include The Commonwealth, because she is their Queen too. She doesn’t break the habit, and the inclusiveness is expanded in the words, “of all faiths and of none“.

It’s a nice touch (as well as a reinforcement to the decorum) to point out the potential opportunities of being self-isolated – “slow down, pause and reflect…” And it’s another triad.

The Unity button gets more work when “… we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour“, but she is saving the strongest till last. Drawing once more on the wisdom of the ancients HM’s peroration is a symploce, “We will […] again.”

The final element, “We will meet again” echoes of course Vera Lynn, and those words have deservedly become the Face of the broadcast. But my personal favourite phrase in the whole speech comes immediately before the peroration. HM speaks of “our instinctive compassion to heal”.

Thereby lies my optimism, my faith in humankind.