“Well, well, well. If it isn’t old ‘Horse Worm Rogan.'”
This was the satirical opening line of a recent episode of the internationally known podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. While Rogan laughed at the sarcastic jab from his friend and fellow comic, Tom Segura, the all-too-serious news stories claiming that Rogan was taking Livestock medications are no joke. While wearing the mantle of trusted news outlets, modern media appears to be using hand-picked half-truths to construct a misleading house of cards narrative.
The issues at play are larger than the off-label use of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. At the heart of this scandal is an attack on the American public’s ability to make sense of the world. CNN, MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets ran with the salacious headline falsely claiming that Rogan had taken veterinary medication. What really happened was that Rogan’s team of doctors prescribed him Ivermectin (a multi-use drug made for humans). While the mainstream consensus is critical of using Ivermectin to treat COVID, there are many reputable doctors who hold an opposing view that Ivermectin does work. Like many popular prescription drugs, Ivermectin is prescribed by both doctors for use in humans and also by veterinarians for use in animals. By CNN’s reasoning, if my doctor prescribed me penicillin, am I recklessly taking cow drugs?
If CNN lied about Rogan taking horse-drugs, what else is the news lying about?
“But, The Science Says Ivermectin Doesn’t Work!”
Okay, suppose you trust the science that claims that Ivermectin does not work against COVID-19. Why is the media’s stance still problematic?
The problem is that when people see shocking (and false) headlines that Rogan took horse drugs, they may be led to fact-check the outlandish claims. Unfortunately, the media’s horse-drug lie falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. Here is the actual truth: Rogan’s doctors prescribed a human drug off-label and there is some evidence to support the doctors’ position. Whether or not you think Ivermectin is the right drug for COVID is irrelevant when it comes to journalistic integrity.
Sure, one can build a case against Ivermectin by citing the FDA’s and Fauchi’s stance that Ivermectin is a no-go. On the other hand, there are experts treating COVID in the field who maintain that Ivermectin is a life-saver. No matter which side proves correct in the long-run, saying that “Joe Rogan takes horse drugs” seems more like a grade-school insult than credible journalism.
When people realize that the news cannot be trusted to act in good faith, the public stops believing what it’s being told. Over time, the news becomes the proverbial “boy who cried wolf.” Down the road, don’t be surprised when nobody believes it when the news is actually telling us the truth. Sometimes, the truth is of life and death importance. Widespread media dishonesty is a threat to public safety. The divide between spin and truth is becoming wider by the day. It’s not spin anymore, this is deception. The media is burning up what little credibility they have left. Without reliable news outlets that we can count on to always tell us truth, the public is only left with rumors and vague conspiracies. Similarly, Big-Tech “fact-Checkers” have been deployed to selectively enforce guidelines only in circumstances where it is convenient for those in power. Don’t believe me? Trump got banned off of Twitter, but Twitter decided not to ban the Taliban. This is one of many examples of selective enforcement of community standards.
The news said Rogan took horse drugs. He didn’t. Dishonesty is never the way to build trust over time.
Is The Science Really Settled?
Let’s follow this line of reasoning through. When I googled “Ivermectin and covid-19” on September 14th, 2021, this is what I found. The number 1 result was an FDA article linking Ivermectin to animals with a headline that said you should not use the drug. The number 2 result stated that “Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin (American Journal of Therapeutics).” What does this mean? I believe that it means that various experts disagree about Ivermectin and that the science might not actually be settled.
While Rogan’s single success story is by nature unscientific, it is anecdotally worthwhile to point out that Rogan did quickly recover from Sars Cov-2. Of course, it must still be said that Ivermectin is not recognized by the FDA for treating the disease. Even still, there is some evidence to support its use.
According to an article published in Science Direct
- Ivermectin is an inhibitor of the COVID-19 causative virus (SARS-CoV-2) in vitro.
- A single treatment able to effect ~5000-fold reduction in virus at 48 h in cell culture.
- Ivermectin is FDA-approved for parasitic infections, and therefore has a potential for repurposing.
- Ivermectin is widely available, due to its inclusion on the WHO model list of essential medicines.
Yes, there are other papers that oppose these findings. Some doctors and scientists are in favor of Ivermectin as a COVID treatment and others hold with the mainstream narrative. I’m not a doctor and I don’t publicly advocate one way or another, but I am pointing out that the science is not settled.
In a strange side note, the same outlets telling us to just shut up and “trust the science” have, in recent years, adopted a stance that there are dozens of genders. Sure, America is a free country and free people are allowed to believe anything they want to believe about themselves. But, why is it suddenly necessary to make science bow to people’s beliefs and self-perceptions? Anyway, let’s get back on topic.
When the media’s Rogan-horse-drug-narrative crumbles at the most basic fact-checking, the public loses faith in the media all-together. In the wake of this Horse-Drug-Scandal, the public is again taught a painful lesson, that the media can and will take a half-truth and spin it into a very misleading picture. Given the media’s track-record of shameless propaganda, a reasonable viewer may reasonably question the entire COVID narrative. Just a few months ago, saying that COVID probably escaped from a lab that was doing banned experiments was “dangerous misinformation.” Now, the lab leak is the leading hypothesis in explaining how the pandemic started.
Whether or not you are in the camp who believes that Ivermectin works or doesn’t work, one thing is clear: experts do not unanimously agree one way or the other. In other words, no matter who turns out to be right, as of today the science is not actually settled. CNN, the White House and left-wing-establishment politicians have gone all-in on the vaccines and unanimously shout down discussion of any alternative. However, this is not the whole story and there are credible experts who hold opposing views. Why isn’t this being reported?
Media, Politicians Use Half-Truths to Mislead
When someone sees the headline that a podcast host took horse drugs and then sees the reality that the person really took doctor-prescribed medicine made for humans, the credibility of the media quickly evaporates. With the illusion over, we begin to see the media’s house of cards for what it is.
The headlines claiming that Rogan took horse drugs seem more geared to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt than advancing the truth. And unless all of our books are burned, history will be very harsh toward the established media’s headlong plunge into deceit. In this age of misinformation, I won’t tell my readers what to believe. In fact, it’s most likely easier to figure out what not to believe than to determine what is true. As such, I encourage skepticism of everything we’re being told.
In closing I simply ask my readers this: what other misleading half-truths have we been told?