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America’s most popular podcaster, Joe Rogan, invited CNN’s resident medical “expert,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta, onto his program Wednesday to grill him over why the doctor’s colleagues have smeared him, but Gupta had no answers — only excuses.
Last month, Rogan announced that he’d contracted the coronavirus and used an assortment of “meds,” including the experimental drug ivermectin, to treat it. In response, CNN’s hosts began telling their audience that he was taking “horse dewormer.”
Ivermectin is a dual-use drug that exists in two forms: in one form (a dewormer) meant to treat horses, and in another form meant to treat humans. But CNN’s hosts have ignored the existence of the second form and acted as if ivermectin is solely for horses.
During Gupta’s appearance on Rogan’s podcast Wednesday, the podcast host sought to determine why, telling the CNN host to his face that his colleagues have been “lying at your network about people taking human drugs versus drugs for horses.”
Watch the back-and-forth exchange below:
Gupta initially responded by trying to dismiss the smear as a minor inconvenience.
“Calling it a horse dewormer is not a flattering thing — I get that,” he said.
“It’s a lie,” Rogan promptly fired back.
“It’s a lie on a news network, and it’s a lie … that they’re conscious of. This is not a mistake. They’re unfavorably framing it as veterinarian medicine,” he added.
Gupta replied by trying to divert attention to the following stunningly unprofessional, pseudo-scientific tweet posted by the Federal Drug Administration in August, as if he was saying that his colleagues had simply been following the crowd:
You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it. https://t.co/TWb75xYEY4
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) August 21, 2021
Rogan fired back by rightly noting that this, too, is a lie.
“Why would you say that when you’re talking about a drug that’s been given out to billions and billions of people, a drug that was responsible for one of the inventors of it winning the Nobel Prize in 2015, a drug that’s been shown to stop viral replication in vitro. You know that, right?” he said.
“Why would they lie and say that’s horse dewormer? I can afford people medication, motherf–ker. This is ridiculous. It’s just a lie. Don’t you think that a lie like that is dangerous on a news network, when you know that they know that they’re lying?” the popular podcaster added.
And not just any news network, but a news network known for incessantly accusing non-establishment — particularly conservative — media outlets of trafficking in misinformation.
Yet as frequently noted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, a longtime critic of elite institutions, media outlets like CNN are oftentimes the most prolific traffickers of misinformation.
For the last 5 years, the US has been drowned by deliberate, toxic disinformation: not from Trump boomers on FB or QAnon sites or alt-right teenagers on 4Chan, but the same axis of NBC/CNN/NYT/Atlantic propagandists who say what CIA orders them to. Just look at how they behave: pic.twitter.com/6h7BCENmhB
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 6, 2021
After playing coy for a couple of minutes, Gupta eventually conceded Rogan’s point.
“They shouldn’t have said it was horse dewormer. If you got a human pill — because there were people who were taking the veterinary medication, and you’re not obviously, you got it from a doctor — so it shouldn’t be called that,” he said.
“Ivermecetin can be a very effective medication for parasitic disease. and as you say, probably a quarter billion people have taken it around the world,” he added.
This prompted Rogan to rush in with a fact-check.
“More. Way more. Billions of people have taken it,” he said.
Correct. According to The Journal of Antibiotics, roughly 250 million people take “it annually to combat two of the world’s most devastating, disfiguring, debilitating and stigma-inducing diseases, Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic filariasis.”
Gupta replied by again trying to divert the conversation to something else.
“Can I just come back to …,” he said before being cut off by Rogan.
“No, no, no. Before we get to that, does it bother you that the news network you work for out and out lied, just outright lied about me taking horse dewormer. They shouldn’t’ have said that. Why did they say that?” the podcaster asked.
“I don’t know,” Gupta responded, eliciting shock from Rogan.
“You didn’t ask? You’re the medical guy over there …,” he pointed out.
Rogan continued by accusing Gupta’s colleagues — particularly Brian Stelter — of having taken “glee” in smearing him. Gupta, of course, denied this, prompting the podcaster to skip ahead to his main point.
“My point is you’re working for a news organization. If they’re lying about a comedian taking horse medication, what are they telling us about Russia, What are they telling us about Syria? Do you understand that that’s why people get concerned about the veracity of the news?” he said.
Indeed, polling data shows that a majority of Americans — particularly Republicans and independents — distrust the media. The only group of people that believes their every word are Democrats, which some would say makes sense given that most members of the media are themselves, Democrats.
Seems to me kind of like a crisis in journalism that only one faction — Democrats — overwhelmingly trust mass media outlets, while everyone else overwhelmingly thinks/knows they’re full of lies, deceit and propaganda: especially since the distrust and contempt are so deserved. pic.twitter.com/OZCJRO8aRA
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 7, 2021
Gupta responded by saying it was all nuance.
“You can have nuanced discussions about this,” he said.
“No, you can’t,” Rogan quickly responded.
“You can’t have nuanced discussions about lying about someone taking horse dewormer …,” he added.
Unless, it appears, you work at CNN, “the most trusted name in news” … a place where apparently anything goes.
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