November 28, 2021

Why the commission against disinformation and conspiracy is already a problem

POLÉMIC – No sooner has it been set up than the Bronner Commission, which must fight disinformation and conspiracy, makes people cringe. In particular, the presence of a criticized medical personality.

Good intentions don’t erase bad resumes. Eager to fight against false information, Emmanuel Macron installed this Wednesday, September 29 a commission against disinformation and conspiracy. Objective of this ten academics and personalities: to propose, by the end of December, avenues to deal with what is called “infodemic”. A portmanteau that designates the spread of conspiracy theories and disinformation in public debate.

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The Verifiers, a fact-checking team shared by the editorial staff of TF1, LCI and LCI.fr

According to the presentation made by the Élysée on its site, this commission called “The Lights in the digital age” will have the heavy task of fighting against the “dark face” internet by formulating “a series of concrete proposals in the fields of education, regulation, the fight against the spreaders of hatred and disinformation”. To do this, thirteen personalities will make up this commission around Gérald Bronner. Posted this Thursday, the list is already cringe.

Paris-Descartes scandal, Mediator and blame

Among the names appearing in this commission, one particularly attracted attention. This is Guy Vallancien. The one we nicknamed “the star urologist” is presented as the group’s medical guarantee. But for several years now, his skills haven’t been making the headlines. In November 2019, the general public discovered him during the mass grave scandal in Paris-Descartes. On the one hand, the surgeon was at the head of the body donation center (CDC) from 2004 to 2014, and above all, the academic created in 2001 the European School of Surgery, accused in an investigation by theExpress, published in February 2020, to monetize these bodies. “Vallencien bought the provision of bodies at the public rate and resold them several times the price”, revealed the weekly.

Another scandal in which we find the name of Guy Vallencien, that of the Mediator. It was the pulmonologist Irène Frachon herself who recalled, in a forum granted to the World this Thursday, the position of this doctor, who was working to discredit this health scandal. The whistleblower of this case therefore regretted the appointment of the one she describes as “one of the spearheads of a nebula of high-ranking doctors, professors of medicine, sometimes academics of medicine, who, for years and shamelessly, have tried to discredit, minimize, even deny the seriousness of the human tragedy caused by the Mediator “.

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More recently, last June, the surgeon was the subject of a reprimand by the Order of Physicians for “false certificate”. As the Daily doctor, the national disciplinary chamber imposed this sanction following a case which opposed the professor to a colleague, Doctor Dupagne. The first defending a patient who accused his doctor of not having diagnosed him with prostate cancer, the second taking a stand for the general practitioner. However, in this defense, Professor Vallancien is accused of having produced “caricatured statements and categorical value judgments”. Among other examples retained by the Order of Physicians, this sentence: “Gender confusion and bias have unfortunately won out over medical wisdom and good clinical practice”. Words that constitute a “breach of good brotherhood relations”, to use the words of the professional body.

Bronner relativizes

Asked about this appointment in “C Politics”, Gérald Bronner, responsible for setting up this commission, preferred to plead ignorance. Assuring he didn’t know “this story”, the sociologist stressed that the surgeon was recognized as a member of the Academy of Medicine. Defending on one side the one he describes as a “very great doctor, with recognition from these peers”, Gérald Bronner, on the other hand, attacked the “malicious spirits x-raying each member” of the commission.

A criticism of journalists and the whistleblower who questions, especially since Gerald Bronner himself has already been pinned for disseminating false information. The one who wrote a thesis on beliefs after having been “very gullible”, believing in shamanism or astrology, had thus assured in a book in 2014 that the use of bleach had been deliberately delayed during the epidemic in Haiti in 2010. It was however only a rumor, that the author had not supported any evidence, as revealed The world.

So what future for this commission? And what place for Guy Vallancien? The first meeting is due to take place on Monday. And, by Gerald Bronner’s own admission, we will know at that time whether the surgeon “will leave the commission”. In the meantime, this affair has already tainted a commission which should have won unanimous support on a subject as sensitive as disinformation. To use the words of Irène Frachon, such appointments raise concerns that the work of this group “not only does not provide any reasonable and reasoned response to the problem raised, but further widens the gap between many of our fellow citizens and the elites they criticize, wrongly or sometimes rightly”.

Do you want to ask us questions or provide us with information that you think is unreliable? Do not hesitate to write to us at lesverifiers@tf1.fr. You can also find us on Twitter: our team is there behind the @ verif_TF1LCI account.

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