With the Covid-19 story, Weinstein and Heying were among the first to openly consider the so-called “lab leak hypothesis” of how the pandemic began. In fact, in the days before people like Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared to change their minds about the theory’s feasibility, and before beloved mainstream figures like Jon Stewart declared that if there was “an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania” you’d know “it’s the fucking chocolate factory,” Weinstein and Heyer were roundly denounced as Covid-19 misinformation peddlers.
In January, after they went on Real Time With Bill Maher, they were blasted for pushing a “Steve Bannon Wuhan Lab Covid Conspiracy” by a Daily Beast writer who mostly seemed upset that Weinstein and Heying had soiled Maher with the ick of unconventional thinking. However, since conventional wisdom on the lab leak theory changed, criticism on that front has died down, especially now that platforms like Facebook have announced they “will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps.” Still, the shift in consensus thinking about lab origin has only seemed to accelerate the vigilance about ivermectin and other issues.
This is a significant moment in the history of American media. If a show with the audience that Weinstein and Heying have can be put out of business this easily, it means that independent media going forward will either have to operate outside the major Internet platforms, or give up its traditional role as a challenger of mainstream narratives. There are plenty of people out there who take a sarcastic view of the “Intellectual Dark Web,” just as they roll their eyes at lots of YouTubers or Instagram stars or even the “Substackerati,” but even those critics should realize the seriousness of this moment, not just for this show, but for all media.