Last month, I wrote a piece about the mainstream media's weird obsession over discrediting ivermectin. While I do not claim the drug is the best medicine against SARS-CoV-2, published studies discovered ivermectin's inhibitory effects and random controlled trials showed patients' conditions significantly improving. Even though it's not an "official" treatment for COVID, scientists should at least perform some further research into its efficacy and anti-COVID mechanism. When I first learned about its effects back in May, I was pretty excited because in conjunction with the COVID vaccines, cases would go down substantially.
Unfortunately, ivermectin pretty much received the hydroxychloroquine treatment, i.e. it was vilified by the mainstream media, health establishment, and politicians (particularly from the left). Similar to how they ridiculed people who wanted to use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID symptoms for taking "fish tank cleaner", they ridiculed those who sought ivermectin for taking "horse dewormer".
The anti-ivermectin reached its fever pitch when the mainstream media circulated a false story of Oklahoma hospitals overloaded with patients who overdosed on animal-grade ivermectin. Around the same time, Joe Rogan uploaded a short video on Instagram revealed he got COVID, but quickly recovered after taking a variety of medications, including ivermectin. The establishment media went on to accuse him for taking "horse dewormer" and some went as far as to play his Instagram video with a filter that made him look more ill than he actually was.
Joe Rogan vs. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Apparently, the story did not end there hence why I'm writing this article. In mid-October, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta went on Joe Rogan's podcast where the latter held the doctor's feet to the fire regarding CNN's deceptive reporting.
I'll be replacing this if YouTube takes this video down for "medical misinformation".
As you can see, Dr. Gupta would constantly dance around and not directly Rogan's question on why CNN lied about the latter taking "horse dewormer". Eventually, Dr. Gupta outright said, "[CNN] shouldn't have said that", effectively admitting the network's error. After he finally answered Rogan's question, the latter pushed the doctor with an additional question of why he did not confront his network about its mistake. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Gupta danced around again.
At the end of the clip, Joe Rogan made a very apt statement about the declining trust in mainstream media that "if [the media] is lying about a comedian taking horse medication, what are they telling [the audience] about Russia? What are they telling [the audience] about Syria?".
Honestly, I was surprised that Dr. Gupta accepted Rogan's invitation considering that the latter is not the type to just let things slide. Whether Dr. Gupta felt that because he has a medical degree and Rogan does not which therefore means he would "out-science" him, who knows. But that exchange served as an effective magnifying glass over CNN (here's another article I wrote about the network) and by extension, the mainstream media's lack of integrity.
Proclaiming "I Win!" in the Comforts of His Own Bubble
Not long after that, Dr. Gupta appeared on CNN with Don Lemon and it was an obvious damage control segment.
Lemon claimed that his network did not lie about Rogan taking "horse dewormer". His reasoning was that because ivermectin is "commonly" used as a "horse dewormer", it is therefore not a lie when one claims that ivermectin is used as a "horse dewormer". Obviously, it does not take a genius to identify the flaw to Lemon's rebuttal as it is a strawman fallacy. Lemon tried to rebut Rogan as if the latter claimed that CNN lied about ivermectin being used as "horse dewormer" when Rogan actually accused CNN for lying about him using "horse dewormer".
As for Dr. Gupta, he incorrectly stated that there is "no evidence" that ivermectin works against COVID. Not shown in the Joe Rogan clip above, Rogan actually cited the in vitro study by Caly et al. (2020), albeit not by name, as evidence that the drug can combat SARS-CoV-2. In fact, I delved into some of the literature in my previous article about the drug:
These results across different countries are likely not mere correlation. Caly et al. (2020) tested the antiviral activity of ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro (i.e. test tube environment). Within a few days, the study observed substantially less viral RNA. An older study found that ivermectin inhibits the HIV's ability to bind to importin, a complex that transports proteins into the nucleus of a cell. Some viruses bind to importin in order to (1) stop interferon activity and (2) integrate their genetic material into the host's genome. SARS-CoV-1's ORF6 protein binds to importin to stop the antiviral STAT1 transcription factor. SARS-CoV-2's ORF6 protein has 69% homology with its SARS-CoV-1 counterpart and it also inhibits interferon activity. A study by Lehrer and Rheinstein (2021) found that ivermectin can potentially bind to SARS-CoV-2's spike protein and prevent it from binding to the ACE2 receptor which is necessary for cell infection.
On top of that, several random controlled trials showed notable improvement among COVID patients. As a result, for Dr. Gupta to make such a definitive claim that there is "no evidence" that ivermectin works against COVID was an absolute headscratcher. It leaves me to believe that he hardly put in any effort to do his due diligence which is rather damning for someone who has a medical degree.
Closing Thoughts: It Didn't Work
While CNN thought it "won the argument", it only achieved to further corroborate people's suspicion towards the network. For Dr. Gupta to admit to Rogan's face that CNN should not have lied about Rogan taking "horse dewormer" and then, backtrack on air with Don Lemon was bad form. As a result, CNN is doing the exact opposite of science by heavily editorializing about a drug to make it look as derogatory as possible and strawmanning its opponent's statements.
Thankfully, plenty of people easily saw through the network's nonsense. Comedian Russel Brand's take on the Joe Rogan vs. CNN saga was my favorite one as he gave a rather balanced and fair approach to his analysis.