If journalism is still taught in the future, the fictional Rolling Stone story about overwhelmed Oklahoma hospitals dealing with Ivermectin overdoses, the gleeful made-up fantasies about Joe Rogan’s illness and recovery from COVID, his Ivermectin use and Ivermectin generally, and the subsequent sharing of those stories, would be case studies in precisely what not to do when conducting “Journalism.” It’s no wonder Americans distrust the media.
The Winter coats should have been the first clue.
That was the picture that accompanied an article that was just too sensational to be true in Rolling Stone with the twitter headline: “Gunshot victims left waiting as horse dewormer overdoses overwhelm Oklahoma hospitals, doctor says.”
The article seems to stem from an interview with a doctor on KFOR, a local Oklahoma station.
The tenor of the article was this: Oklahomans —uneducated hillbillies to be sure, in rural America who loved their guns —and shooting people — were lined up along the street untended to by hospital staff with their gunshot wounds and other ailments due to the fact so many of their unvaccinated fellow citizens had overdosed on horse dewormer and there was simply no more room in the hospital.
The story was so juicy and ripe with liberal narratives that it did not pass a basic smell test. It has gun violence, overcrowded hospitals, and death due to the ignorance of rural Americans. Rather than checking the facts of that story, outlet after outlet ran with it, unable to resist the temptation of the storyline.
Rachel Maddow tweeted a link to the KFOR interview as well and the quotes:
Patients overdosing on ivermectin backing up rural Oklahoma hospitals, ambulances
“The scariest one I’ve heard of and seen is people coming in with vision loss,” he said.
In response, the Northeastern Health Systems-Sequoyah released a statement that contradicted Maddow’s fictional account.
“Although Dr. Jason McElyea is not an employee of NHS Sequoyah, he is affiliated with a medical staffing group that provides coverage for our emergency room,” the statement said in response to his interview. “With that said, Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months.”
“NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose,” it countered. “All patients who have visited our emergency room have received medical attention as appropriate. Our hospital has not had to turn away any patients seeking emergency care.”
Rumors and rumblings of the use of horse dewormer were in the news prior to Maddow’s tweets or the Rolling Stone article.
To be clear — rumors of other possible treatments or therapies to include Ivermectin have floated around for months.
As the story from Oklahoma trended and circulated, a story involving Joe Rogan, Covid-19, and Ivermectin was running parallel.
Rogan, the podcaster and cancel culture escape artist, brought the medication to the forefront when he cited and credited it along with several other therapeutics as to how he recovered from Covid -19 so quickly. In any sane society, this would be welcomed news, openly studied or discussed and potentially offered as last ditch emergency therapies. Instead, Rogan was ridiculed online and in the press for taking horse dewormer and described as “an enemy of public health” for spreading disinformation by CNN’s Jim Acosta and Dr. Fauci.
Memes circulated of Rogan as a horse or individuals running around on all fours after taking “horse dewormer.” There are versions of Ivermectin that are used in the application of deworming animals, including horses. However, Ivermectin has been approved for use in humans in the U.S. and globally for parasites and diseases such as River Blindness and lice since the 1990s. Describing it as a livestock drug is like accusing people who are prescribed amoxicillin of taking canine antibiotics.
Stoshi Omura, a Japanese biochemist, won a share of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for discovering and developing Ivermectin and its use in humans as “a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites.” An article by Stoshi Omura on the National Institute of Health website describes Ivermectin as a wonder drug:
There are few drugs that can seriously lay claim to the title of “Wonder drug,” penicillin and aspirin being two that have perhaps had greatest beneficial impact on the health and wellbeing of Mankind. But ivermectin can also be considered alongside those worthy contenders, based on its versatility, safety and the beneficial impact that it has had, and continues to have, worldwide — especially on hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people.
If a drug already approved for human use was proven safe, available relatively cheap, and had the added good fortune of potentially showing efficacy in fighting Covid-19, this should be welcomed and openly questioned or studied rather than mocked. In a sane society journalists would openly question or discuss it. This is currently not the case. Perhaps more will be revealed when it comes to the effectiveness of Ivermectin and Covid-19.
As far as the news media goes, the hospital in Oklahoma and Joe Rogan himself seemed to dispel the narrative and hysteria surrounding “horse dewormer” with Rogan explaining on his podcast CNN’s version of his use of Ivermectin was a lie:
“Bro, do I have to sue CNN? They’re making s**t up. They keep saying I’m taking horse dewormer. I literally got it from a doctor. It’s an American company. They won the Nobel Prize in 2015 for use in human beings,” he said about Ivermectin. “And CNN is saying I’m taking horse dewormer. They must know that’s a lie.”
Suing CNN or the media for lying?
If it gets them to do their job and report the news accurately, maybe they should be.
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