The information war takes a dark turn as the corporate media transitions from misinformation and obfuscation to outright lies and fabrication.
The campaign against ivermectin is intensifying in the US. Until recently the health authorities appeared to be quite content merely to ridicule those who take or prescribe the drug in order to treat or prevent Covid-19. A couple of weeks ago, the FDA released a now-infamous advertorial on twitter with the heading “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” The subheading: “Using the drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 can be dangerous and even lethal. The FDA has not approved the drug for that purpose.”
It’s a subtle message that has been faithfully echoed by the corporate media: ivermectin, a tried-and-tested drug that has won its discoverers a Nobel Prize for the impact it has had on human health over the last 35 years, should only be given to animals. But now the information war is taking a darker turn, as the media transitions from misinformation and obfuscation to outright lies and fabrication.
At the end of last week, a string of American and British outlets, including The Daily Mail, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, The Independent, Newsweek, The Guardian, and Yahoo News, ran a story about how people who had “overdosed” on the “horse dewormer” were clogging up so many beds in a hospital in Sequoyah, rural Oklahoma, that doctors were having to turn away gunshot victims. The story, sourced to local Oklahoma outlet KFOR, turned out to be completely false. On Sunday, the hospital in question released a statement that the doctor behind the allegations had not worked in its ER for two months. More to the point, the hospital “had not treated any patients due to complications relating to taking ivermectin.” There were no overdoses. And it had turned no patients away.
In other words, everything about the story was false. A total fabrication. Yet many of the mainstream outlets that covered the story did not retract their article. Rolling Stone simply “updated” its piece with the new information. The Guardian inserted a note at the bottom of its article informing readers that Sequoyah NHS had released a statement asserting that the doctor behind the allegations that formed the entire basis of the story had not worked in its ER for two months. In other words, you have to read all the way to the end of the article to find out that its entire content is total bullshit. To make matters worse, The Guardian did not even mention the hospital’s categorical denials that it had treated patients for IVM overdose or that it had turned ER patients away.
The Coming Crack Down
If the goal of all this disinformation is to put people off wanting to get hold of ivermectin, it doesn’t seem to be working, which is hardly surprising given the already desperately low levels of public trust in both US health authorities and corporate media.
There are certain parallels with the furore whipped up over hydroxychloroquine last year. But the case is weaker this time, primarily because IVM is one of the safest medicines on the planet and was widely recognised as such until this pandemic.
One thing that is abundantly clear is that mocking people’s intelligence and comparing them to horses or dogs for wanting to take a certain medicine isn’t a terribly effective way of getting them to change their behaviour. All they appear to have achieved is to invoke the “Streisand effect.” More people are buying ivermectin (for human use) than ever before. In the US as a whole, prescriptions for the medicine have surged 24-fold since the pandemic began, from 3,600 a week to almost 90,000. Between mid-July and mid-August alone, they rose 400%.
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