Shell game: Bronson admin deletes, trims, reuploads and hides Health Department testing propaganda video

I admit to being caught off guard when the Bronson administration deleted a video from the Anchorage Health Department’s (AHD) Facebook page this week — don’t ask me why. I suppose it is, in part, because I expect that when the department tasked with protecting public health and safety releases any kind of information it will be accurate, informative, and helpful.

They are, after all, ‘professionals.’

The ‘Baghdad Bob’ styled video featured Health Director Joseph Gerace who provided ‘details’ about the current COVID-19 testing situation in the Municipality.

The video, posted by AHD this past Tuesday, was deleted from the Anchorage Health Department’s Facebook page and moved to the YouTube account associated with Anchorage Mayor David Bronson. Bronson’s YouTube account has only 90 subscribers and appears to be a low traffic channel. It seems probable that the video was stashed there by the Bronson administration in an attempt to minimize the number of people who might view it while also quietly preserving the video as a matter of public record.

When I wrote about the video yesterday, something about the new video didn’t sit well with me. I watched it a few times and couldn’t quite put my finger on why it bugged me. After a good night’s sleep and after ingesting copious amounts of coffee, I sat down to the laptop and watched the re-uploaded video for at least the 17th time — and then I saw it.

AHD’s video, most recently uploaded to Mayor Bronson’s YouTube channel on January 6, is shorter in length than the original — by roughly 31 seconds.

After comparing the content of AHD’s original video to the new video on Mayor Bronson’s YouTube account, it became immediately clear that specific information contained in the original was no longer present in the second video.

Missing in the latest video was any mention of the public COVID help line. A call placed to the help line that Gerace identified in the video, 907-646-3322, was indeed answered, which might lead one to question why this information was left out when the Bronson administration deleted and posted the video to Mayor Bronson’s YouTube channel.

This number directs individuals to the state’s COVID testing line, which is a helpful and important resource for the public to have. The unexplained trimming of the video might lead one to conclude that the administration may have altered a document that is part of the public record. Of course, it seems likely that the administration would argue that health director Gerace may have inferred in the video that the Municipality was responsible for the state’s number as a justification for the trimming of information.

In either event, I don’t know what’s more concerning — that helpful public information was trimmed from the video without explanation or clarification, or that the health director may have been unaware the number he provided in the video was for the state’s help line.

Even with the trimming of the video, it’s not clear why the video simply wasn’t reposted to the AHD Facebook page where it originated, instead stashing it away on YouTube.

You can compare the differences between the two videos for yourself by following the links below.

Weird.

Original AHD video: Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Re-uploaded AHD Video: Thursday January 6, 2022


This post was updated to reflect that the telephone number which appeared in the original video is the state’s public covid line.