Everything that’s wrong with the media’s portrayal of Ivermectin.
News flash: there’s quite a lot!
The latest BBC story shows more biased, unbalanced reporting from the legacy media in their nonsensical campaign to save the world from a safe, effective 40-year-old WHO “essential” medicine. By overly focusing on negatively slanted opinions and evidence relating to Ivermectin, spotlighting a few “discredited” studies, and including one second-hand account of one GP’s experience, the BBC article reads very much like a hit piece. Whatever it may be, it is nothing like a piece of proper journalism.
The article, written by Rachel Schraer & Jack Goodman, is titled, Ivermectin: How false science created a Covid 'miracle' drug, and ironically calls itself a “reality check.” In actuality, it is little more than an opinion piece. If you thought the BBC couldn’t get much more pompous, well you are thus proven wrong. (Note: this is the same BBC that would not let anyone say anything bad about Jimmy Saville for 40 years, whilst he systematically abused dozens of children under their watch, but anyway…) Thankfully, we now know where to go when we need our reality “checked.”
The article begins by conflating Ivermectin therapy advocates with anti-vaccine ‘activists,’ and manages to bring up the animal version of the drug twice in the first two paragraphs. This alone shows the authors’ biases and is such an obvious attempt at discrediting a legitimate and well known therapeutic it should make any true scientist or journalist cringe. The disingenuous and thoughtless crusade by the legacy media to conflate Ivermectin for humans with the vet formulation is so obviously ‘fake news’ it borders on defamation. At least one well known podcast host and interviewer is considering taking CNN to court over their patently false claims that he took a ‘horse deworming drug,’ when in fact he took human grade oral Ivermectin in tablet form, as prescribed by his personal physician. That did not stop the claim going ‘viral’ across various media platforms with impunity (to the point where the subreddit r/ivermectin was ‘brigaded’ and flooded with horse de-wormer and NSFW memes until it was quarantined and is all but gone).
Rolling Stone, a magazine I used to respect, even posted a completely false story regarding an Oklahoma hospital that allegedly had gunshot victims waiting in the ED because it was ‘overrun’ with Ivermectin overdose victims. Not only was the hospital in question forced to post a statement advising patients that the story was not true, Rolling Stone did not even print a proper retraction after it was made aware of the error. They just reluctantly tacked on an “update” to the story and left it on their website. Even the update’s heading seems petulant, “One Hospital Denies Oklahoma Doctor’s Story of Ivermectin Overdoses Causing ER Delays for Gunshot Victims”, snidely implying that perhaps other hospitals were having issues.
But, back to the BBC article. The second issue I take with this piece of reductive journalism is that it liberally uses the word ‘fraud’ or ‘fraudulent’ to describe the inaccuracies of the discredited studies, boldly stating “the BBC can reveal that more than a third of 26 major trials of the drug for use on Covid have serious errors or signs of potential fraud. None of the rest show convincing evidence of Ivermectin's effectiveness”. Sounds like a scoop, right? However, they also fail to link to any of these studies and fail to provide any ‘evidence’ to support this definitive sounding statement.
In-fact, this article relies completely on the work of like-minded academics Dr Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, Dr James Heathers, Dr Nick Brown, and Dr Sheldrick, led by master’s student Jack Lawrence of the University of London. Lawrence was first to point out the issues with the data of the Elgazzar pre-print study, (which has since been retracted but remains under peer review). Jack is described as a “disinformation researcher” and founder of a blog Grftr.news, which is dedicated to researching and calling out “misinformation and bad science”. This team of self-appointed forensic P.I.s have since gone on to work together (remotely) to scrutinize the data on all the Ivermectin studies they can find which they consider to be at risk of ‘bias’ or ‘potentially fraudulent’. In theory I have no problem with this. If studies are improperly done, they should be excluded from the body of research.
However, what’s wrong with this piece is that the tone of the article suggests that everything these academics are claiming is a statement of fact, and the implication is that Ivermectin’s efficacy is based on ‘false science’ and therefore anyone who says otherwise is a right-wing, conspiracy theorizing anti-vaxxer. Their aim, it seems, has been singular. To search for studies and check their data for anomalies or fraud specifically within the body of research supporting Ivermectin’s efficacy. Again, no links to any of the claims made are provided — not even a link to the opinion article, published in Nature, which I assume this newspaper article is based on. I say assume, because once again I can’t find any links to any of the research discussed in this article. (Neither could Dr. John Campbell who has posted a YouTube video of his concerns regarding this article, which I shall link to below).
So going back to the BBC quote above, they mention 26 major trials and that “more than a third” show serious errors, and “none of the rest” show convincing evidence of Ivermectin’s effectiveness. The use of the word convincing is of interest here. Convincing to who? Once again the reader is asked to take the word of these academics and journalists. They fail to point out any of the positive evidence which does exist, and they fail to mention the ongoing trials into Ivermectin’s effectiveness which are currently underway. Overall, this article fails to provide what in journalism studies is called ‘balance.’ Once upon a time, journalists would go out of their way to provide the reader with a balance of opinions with the aim of allowing the reader to ultimately judge the truth for themselves. However, as Matt Taibbi points out in his recent Substack article The Cult of the Vaccine, today’s media seems hell bent on destroying any semblance of subtlety or nuance in reporting and instead appears to be on a mission to “eliminate all possibility of subtext”. To this end, they cannot allow for anything other than assertions with the strongest possible language with complete disregard for diversity of informed opinion.
In an unsubtle attempt to raise up the heroes of this article; our trusty forensic P. I’s, it is necessary to throw dissenting voices under the nearest proverbial Ivermectin dosed horse and cart. Tess Lawrie, one of the co-authors of the Bryant et al meta-analysis, which showed that Ivermectin’s efficacy against covid still reduced mortality by around 50%, even without the Elgazzar study, is downgraded in the BBC article as a “a medical doctor who specialises in pregnancy and childbirth”. By doing so the BBC journalists are implying that she has little basis on which to make her recommendations for ivermectin’s efficacy. What they leave out is that Lawrie is a respected researcher with over 3000 citations.. Her speciality is conducting meta-analyses of diverse bodies of research. Here however, she is summarily dismissed as an anti-vaccine advocate and was not approached for direct comment for this article. Rather she was quoted out of context from her appearance on an ‘online panel’, once again without evidence or sources provided. Likewise, Dr Pierre Kory is similarly dismissed and accused of not changing his mind based on this latest data. However, once again the BBC fail to mention that Dr Kory and his colleagues at the FLCCC (Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance) have treated thousands of patients successfully with their early treatment protocols, which include Ivermectin. Their website is littered with testimonials from doctors and their patients from around the world who have used their protocols and recovered quickly.
I could go on with examples of all the positive evidence that exists for Ivermectin’s adoption as an agent in the early treatment of Covid-19 but that is not the point I am trying to make here. We are in an information war, when facts and evidence get labelled as misinformation, and the sources we once trusted to bring us factual, unbiased reporting of current events can no longer be trusted. The Guardian, the BBC, and Rolling Stone are three media outlets that have proven themselves unreliable as sources of impartial information. Their reporting on Ivermectin has made this abundantly clear.