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Fact-checking the Fact-Checker, A TPC Podcast Transcription | The Pragmatic Constitutionalist

TPC Podcast Transcript – April 26, 2021

Hey guys . . . It’s Steve Baker, your friendly neighborhood Pragmatic Constitutionalist.

This is going to be fun. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about any particular podcast or presentation. This one stems from the “Partly False” fact-check warning label with which Facebook decided to tag my recent review of the November National Institutes of Health publication about the potential dangers of prolonged mask usage.

Typically, any Factcheck DING really pisses me off. Mainly, because they are usually either completely dead wrong, or they pick one small, petty example of a DISPUTED claim, then label your entire article as FALSE. Obviously, for any content creator on the major social media platforms, the net result is either penalizing reach restrictions, demonetization, disabling of ad accounts, deleted content, or total deplatforming.

In this particular case, I was similarly angry. While it was the first such DING on our new mirror Page, “Steve Baker-TPC,” it only came with a warning . . . and no further reach restrictions . . . this time. But, on our primary Page, The Pragmatic Constitutionalist, they hit me with further, increased throttling of our reach after THIS new “partly false” claim.

I won’t bother revisiting some of their previous fact-checking absurdities . . . as I’ve covered them, ad nauseam. Suffice it to say . . . I’ve had many battles with their support staff, even proving to them that I was errantly fact-checked . . . but because I refuse to go through their specifically required appeal process . . . which requires me to APOLOGIZE to the fact checking agency, itself . . . (No, I’m not kidding) . . . I’ve never complied. I’ve even had an OPINION piece fact-checked by another OPTION piece! It’s absurd!! You can’t appeal an OPINION!

This time, I’m kind of EXCITED by the “partly false” claim from their fact-checker . . . for two reasons:

FIRST — they are dead WRONG, again . . . and I’m going to prove that to you over the next few minutes, and . . 

SECOND — their “partly false” claim, which covers only one minor aspect of the entire paper, puts Facebook and the fact-checking agency in the unintended position of inadvertently VALIDATING the remainder of the paper’s research. Literally allowing the more important aspects of the paper to STAND, unopposed.

The bottom line is . . . almost in toto . . . the claims that masks can be both physiologically and psychologically harmful remain unchallenged. As such, I’m going to break with a couple of my most recent policies, and I will be posting the video version of this podcast, not just in our Locals community, but also directly to Facebook and on our YouTube page. The audio version will of course also be up on all major podcast platforms, as usual.

Also . . . the complete transcript of this particular podcast, with all the supporting research links, will be available on both our blog page . . . thepragmaticconstitutionalist.com . . . and on our Locals community, at . . . thepragmaticconstitutionalist.locals.com

I’ll not include the transcript directly to Facebook, because the offending words will be flagged by some AI bot, and they’ll simply auto-generate the alleged fact-checker’s previous response. Regardless, one of our trolls will likely alert Facebook to the offensive language — in either the video or audio versions of the podcast — or the links to the transcript.

I’ll essentially be doing a saturation bombing campaign on all our social media platforms, reposting each and every link to this podcast. I hope you’ll join me in Liking, Sharing, and otherwise making noise with this podcast.

I’m not going to back down when they blatantly lie, and this could be the final straw that gets the main TPC page deplatformed. That said . . . if you follow the main TPC page, please go Like and Follow our back-up Page, now, at “Steve Baker-TPC,” so we don’t lose touch when the inevitable finally takes place.


OKAY . . . Let me begin by introducing you to the specific fact-checker who labeled my piece as “partly false.” If you click on the “See Why” link Facebook provides to the “partly false” claim, you’ll see the person who dinged me is:

Alexis Tereszcuk . . . described as, “a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly. As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.”

One of her Linked-In endorsements says:

“Alexis is a super-experienced entertainment reporter with rock-solid sources and a deep insider knowledge of Hollywood. But she’s also an engaging and versatile TV personality able to talk about crime and celebrity gossip with equal intelligence, depth, and – when appropriate – wit.” 

Wow. I got fact-checked by an entertainment and celebrity gossip columnist . . . not a medical journalist.

Okay . . . fair enough. I’m not a medical professional, either. I’m a musician, by trade. I just happen to be a musician with the additional habit of voracious reading and research, some level of writing acumen, and . . .  I understand the math.

As such . . . and like ANYONE else . . . I sometimes get things wrong. When I do, I issue the appropriate corrections. This time, that is not the case . . . and is something I will detail very specifically as this presentation progresses.

Suffice it to say, though . . . if they are going to come at me with any credible authority . . . how about putting a medical journalist on my ass . . . not a celebrity and entertainment writer? Hmmm?

Honestly . . . I couldn’t help letting out a big chuckle when I read Alexis Tereszcuk’s byline. I’ll come back to some of her specific assertions, later, but let’s first talk about the specific paper in question.


The offending publication was taken directly from the National Institutes of Health website. That link is provided in the transcript:

( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680614/ 

For those not familiar with this particular US Government agency, they are the very agency that writes Dr. Anthony Fauci’s paycheck. Fauci is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is one of the 27 health agencies under the National Institutes of Health, or NIH.

All the fact-checkers, including Snopes, have attempted to discredit this paper in a variety of ways. The Snopes link is also in the transcript:

( https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/stanford-nih-mask-study )

The Snopes “False” rating starts out by discrediting not the content of the paper itself, but the claims of many others who shared the link that this was a “Stanford” research paper. I never made any such claim, or even referenced the author, Baruch Vainshelboim’s, brief connection with Stanford as a researcher on an unrelated topic. Anyone who made that claim could fairly be DINGED for that errant assertion. As I said, I made no such claim, but Snopes didn’t stop, there. Their initial discrediting synopsis reads as follows:

“The paper was published by an exercise physiologist with no academic connection to Stanford University or the NIH in a journal that accepts “radical, speculative and non-mainstream scientific ideas.”

The journal to which they refer, Medical Hypotheses, was the originating platform for this paper, but what Snopes failed to point out was that the paper was then first submitted to the NIH on October 4th of 2020. A revised edition was resubmitted to NIH on October 28th, and the final, approved draft was accepted by NIH as a peer-reviewed document on November 19th of 2020.

Snopes purposefully ignored these facts, still referring to the original website, only, saying, “Despite this journal’s lack of traditional peer review” . . .

Once again, had Snopes actually clicked on the supportive links, they would have read the following:

“PMC (a division of NIH) is a repository of content primarily from two sources: peer reviewed journals that overall have met NLM’s standards for PMC; and peer reviewed author manuscripts deposited in compliance with the public access policy of NIH or other collaborating funders.” Link provided in transcript:

( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/about/disclaimer/ )

Of course, Snopes attempts to discredit the author, himself, by pointing out the “typo-filled abstract.” and I quote:

“The paper asserts, in a typo-filled abstract, that it “comprehensively summarizes scientific evidences [sic] with respect to wearing facemasks in the COVID-19 era, providing prosper [sic] information for public health and decisions [sic] making.”

Then, Snopes follows up with the catty, insulting comment, “Evidently, the bar for “coherently expressed” is not very high.”

What Snope’s also failed to mention is that Baruch Vainshelboim, the paper’s author, speaks at least four languages . . . Hebrew, Russian, Portuguese, and English. English not being his primary language.

Since the very beginning of the COVID crisis — and especially since embarking on the book project about COVID-19 — I’ve read hundreds of research papers. Many are published by individuals and research groups from all over the world, by people for whom English is not their primary language, and many of those are filled with expected mistakes of tenses and other grammatical errors. It’s very common. But . . . when you can’t discredit the research itself, it’s always better to find the petty grammar mistakes and attempt to discredit the author. Right?


So . . . what was my fact-checker’s specific beef, earning me the “partly false” warning label? Well . . . Alexis Tereszcuk . . . the entertainment writer, wrote:

“While it is true that hypercapnia can be life-threatening, the claim that it can be caused by wearing face masks, either surgical masks or respirators, is unsupported and runs contrary to existing evidence.”

Hmmm. Are you absolutely sure about that, Alexis?

First . . . what is hypercapnia?

Simply defined in all the medical journals, “hypercapnia is a buildup of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream.” The claim from the author of the NIH published paper is . . . and I quote . . .  one of the “POTENTIAL health consequences” of mask wearing is hypercapnia.

Alexis, the fact-checker, quotes from HealthFeedback.org in her retort, saying:

“Wearing a surgical mask for SHORT periods of time does not impact significantly physiological respiratory variables,” and, “Healthcare workers wear both types of masks for long hours at work without reported impacts to their work performance.” Link in transcript:

https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/wearing-face-masks-does-not-cause-hypercapnia-or-affect-the-immune-system/ )

But, listen closely to what a representative from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) told a Reuters fact-checker who also arrived at a “partly false” conclusion on the same topic:

“The CO2 will slowly build up in the mask over time. However, the level of CO2 likely to build up in the mask is MOSTLY tolerable to people exposed to it.”

“MOSTLY tolerable.” Link in transcript:

( https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-coronavirus-mask-hypercapni/partly-false-claim-continually-wearing-a-mask-causes-hypercapnia-idUSKBN22H2H1 )

In other words, for the general public, increased CO2 due to wearing masks would be less likely to cause complications like hypercapnia than to a health worker, who wear masks for longer stints.

A small NIH published study in 2006 looked at healthcare workers wearing N95 masks during the 2003 SARS epidemic. It concluded that the use of N95 masks may cause the healthcare workers to develop headaches and wearing them for shorter amounts of time may reduce the frequency and severity of the headaches. Link in transcript:

( https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16441251/ )

Now comes the good stuff:

The British Medical Journal, in April of 2020 issued the following statements regarding the potential side-effects of mask wearing:

“Face masks make breathing more difficult. For people with COPD, face masks are in fact intolerable to wear as they worsen their breathlessness. Moreover, a fraction of carbon dioxide previously exhaled is INHALED at each respiratory cycle. Those two phenomena increase breathing frequency and deepness, and hence they increase the amount of inhaled and exhaled air. This may worsen the burden of COVID-19 if infected people wearing masks spread more contaminated air. This may also worsen the clinical condition of infected people if the enhanced breathing pushes the viral load down into their lungs.” Link in transcript:

( https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1435/rr-40 )

Again . . . what is hypercapnia? “Hypercapnia is a buildup of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream.”

And this, from Health.com:

“Someone wearing an N95 mask for a prolonged period of time may have alterations in their blood chemistry that could lead to changes in level of consciousness if severe,” infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Health. But it’s most likely to happen to those who are already predisposed to breathing difficulties, such as smokers, obese people, or individuals with COPD or emphysema.”

Kelli Randell, MD, an internist and medical advisor at Aeroflow Healthcare, tells Health that prolonged use of any face mask, including the N95 respirator, has NOT been shown to cause carbon dioxide toxicity in HEALTHY people. BUT, “Because breathing is slightly harder with a mask, I do recommend that people who suffer from severe COPD or other lung diseases that make breathing difficult CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE USE OF FACE MASKS.” Link in transcript:

( https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/does-wearing-face-mask-increase-co2-levels )

One more . . . and this is directly from the CLINICAL TRIALS link . . . again, on the NIH website . . . from a study that began in August of 2003, and ended in June of 2005 . . . and this one is brutally direct in its language:

“Wearing N95 masks results in hypo-oxygenemia and hypercapnia which reduce working efficiency and the ability to make correct decisions.”

“Medical staff are at increased risk of getting ‘Severe acute respiratory syndrome'(SARS), and wearing N95 masks is highly recommended by experts worldwide. HOWEVER, dizziness, headache, and shortness of breath are commonly experienced by the medical staff wearing N95 masks. The ability to make correct decisions may be hampered, too. The purpose of the study was therefore to evaluate the physiological impact of N95 mask on medical staff.” Link in transcript:

( https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00173017 )

Allow me to repeat . . . from this NIH published study:

“Wearing N95 masks results in hypo-oxygenemia and HYPERCAPNIA which reduce working efficiency and the ability to make correct decisions.”

Again . . . what did the original NIH paper’s author say:

He said hypercapnia, the build up of carbon dioxide, is a one of the “POTENTIAL health consequences.” He didn’t say it was absolute. He didn’t say it would effect everyone. He didn’t say that wearing a cloth mask for 15 seconds before seated at a restaurant table WOULD cause hypercapnia. But, according to professionals all over the world, PROLONGED wearing of n95 masks by healthcare professionals and especially by persons with COPD, smokers, obese people, those with emphysema, or other lung diseases MIGHT be at risk.


How much more CLEAR can it be? The entertainment writer who fact-checked DID NOT do her own homework. Neither did Snopes or Reuters. As you can see, I’ve provided a small sampling of the studies that directly contradict their fact check label of “partly false” on my review of that NIH-published paper.

More to the point . . . they do not contradict the other POTENTIAL physiological and psychological harms related to prolonged mask wearing. Namely, the paper’s listed POTENTIAL Physiological Effects:

-Shortness of breath

-Increase lactate concentration

-Decline in pH levels





-Increase in stress hormones level

-Increased muscle tension



The POTENTIAL Psychological Effects:

-Activation of “fight or flight” stress response

-Chronic stress condition


-Mood disturbances



-Compromised cognitive performance


And the other POTENTIAL Health Consequences:

-Increased predisposition for viral and infection illnesses





-Cardiovascular disease



-Alzheimer disease

-Exacerbation of existing conditions and diseases

-Accelerated aging process

-Health deterioration

-Premature mortality

Facebook’s “partly false” fact check label, regarding POTENTIAL hypercapnia, is not only WRONG, but left standing as CORRECT all the other assertions made in that paper, which the National Institutes of Health felt was WORTHY of publishing on their own website.

Thank you, Facebook, and your Fact checker, Alexis Tereszcuk, for allowing the opportunity for this lowly, hack trumpet player to make you both look foolish in your ongoing attempts to restrict and censor free speech and open, HONEST, scientific debate on this critical issue.

One day . . . soon, I hope . . . I expect Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube’s censorship on so many discussions of this disease will reveal they’ve contributed to the premature deaths of thousands who were frightened by the approved one-sided narratives that did not make exceptions for their OWN particular health issues.

Some of our Followers who tried to share that previous piece were hit with a block from Facebook that read:

“We encourage free expression, but don’t allow false information about COVID-19 that contributes to physical harm.”

Well, guess what . . . treating us like children, who can’t understand the very basics of the English language . . . of such words, like . . . “potential,” “might,” and “maybe” . . . is ridiculous. Worse . . . hiding, or labeling as “false,” IMPORTANT, proven medical concepts, or even both sides of disputed medical findings . . . for instance . . . that masking MIGHT BE very detrimental to people with certain health conditions, should be criminal.

Ever heard of the medical concept of “getting a second opinion,” and then making a FULLY-informed choice about your own health?

Shame on you Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I hope you pay dearly for this ongoing bullshit.


Please join our TPC Locals community, where you’ll see ALL our posts . . . unlike on shadow-banning platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others . . . and where we engage in HONEST discussions of ALL sides of the sciences and politics, without censorship. Here’s that link:

 ( https://thepragmaticconstitutionalist.locals.com )

It’s FREE to subscribe. Please join us, today!


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