The intense campaign to discredit a medication that many have turned to in the fight against COVID-19 suffered a major blow when a story by Rolling Stone magazine was exposed as more of the same fake news that has become prevalent since the 2016 election.
With the false narrative that ivermectin is a dangerous “horse dewormer” that results in severe side effects for those who consume it, Rolling Stone published a poorly constructed hit piece claiming Oklahoma hospitals were unable to treat life-threatening emergencies including gunshot victims as a result.
The story relied on a report from an Oklahoma City television station that cited an “Oklahoma ER doctor,” Dr. Jason McElyea, who claimed that emergency rooms “are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated.”
“All of their ambulances are stuck at the hospital waiting for a bed to open so they can take the patient in and they don’t have any, that’s it,” Dr. McElyea said. “If there’s no ambulance to take the call, there’s no ambulance to come to the call.”
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 3, 2021
However, Rolling Stone didn’t identify which hospital was swamped with “horse dewormer” poisoning cases, a major detail that left editors with egg dripping from their faces after the facility that Dr. McElyea “worked” for issued a statement that blew a smoking hole in their story.
— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) September 5, 2021
“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 Northeastern Hospital System Sequoyah said.
The statememt added that “Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months” and that the hospital “has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose.”
In another blow to Rolling Stone’s reporting, Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information managing director Scott Schaeffer denied a stampede of patients who were poisoned by ivermectin.
“Since the beginning of May, we’ve received reports of 11 people being exposed to ivermectin,” he said according to the New York Daily News, “Most developed relatively minor symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness, though there’s the potential for more serious effects including low blood pressure and seizures with an overdose, as well as interactions with medications such as blood thinners.”
Another giveaway that Rolling Stone’s story didn’t live up to solid journalistic standards was the photo showing the alleged lines outside of Oklahoma emergency rooms had people in winter coats with bare trees in the background, not the sort of weather that is normally seen in August which one Twitter user pointed out.
Winter coats show just how accurate this story is in September.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 5, 2021
Others slammed Rolling Stone’s shoddy reporting and disregard for the truth.
Rolling Stone ran a story that they could’ve debunked with a single phone call.
They didn’t make that phone call because they wanted it to be true and because it went viral and got clicks.
And they’ll keep doing it because no one will hold them accountable. pic.twitter.com/Kzl9ksfLEp
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 5, 2021
The ivermectin hysteria reached peak levels after Joe Rogan, the immensely popular podcasting host who has run afoul of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Biden administration, said that he had recently contacted COVID and that IVM was one of the medications that he took to bounce back quickly.
McElyea’s emergency room claims were also pounced on by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, a rabid conspiracy monger who tweeted out that ivermectin could cause blindness.
"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."https://t.co/P909GtxBQZ
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) September 2, 2021
Notorious Trump hater George Conway, formerly of the disgraced Lincoln Project was also suckered by the story.
“Dr. McElyea said patients are packing … eastern and southeastern Oklahoma hospitals …. ‘The ERs are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated,’ he said.” https://t.co/eUxJNBJbUF
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) September 4, 2021
When it comes to lies, the biggest are often lies of omission which the entire media is guilty of with their ivermectin narrative. While there is a version of the remedy that is used for parasite control in animals, it is never mentioned that the multifaceted drug was honored with a 2015 Noble Prize for its successful use in treating malaria in humans.
As for Rolling Stone, the story has been updated to reflect the statement from NHS Sequoyah yet hasn’t been retracted. But hey, what can you expect from a far-left publication that didn’t learn its lesson after it was sued over the University of Virginia rape hoax story?
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