We’re Witnessing The Death Of American Journalism
Last Friday, Rolling Stone magazine carried a story based on remarks that Dr. Jason McElyea made to a local station. He claimed that hospitals in Oklahoma were swarmed with patients overdosing on Ivermectin, causing other patients, such as gunshot victims, to be neglected.
Predictably Rachel Maddow and her myriad comrades on the left gleefully amplified this story on social media. (Drew Holden comprehensively chronicled this on Twitter.) The Guardian, Insider, Newsweek, and many other news outlets also carried the story. The propaganda balloon bulged so much that this became a national, perhaps even global story.
Fortunately, the pin of facts popped the balloon before it could bloat any further.
The Northeastern Health System Sequoyah issued a statement on its website refuting the allegations made in the Rolling Stone article:
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. With that said, Dr McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over two months. NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for Ivermectin overdose. All patients who have visited our emergency room have received medical attention as appropriate.
It must be remembered that, back in 2014, Rolling Stone magazine carried a story about the horrifying account of a gang rape at the University of Virginia student campus fraternity house. The story turned out to be false. The magazine then retracted the story and apologized to readers and “all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout”. An investigation found Rolling Stone magazine guilty of defamation over a false article. The magazine ended up paying $1.65 million to the University of Virginia fraternity over the discredited rape story.
Rolling Stone magazine clearly failed at every stage including reporting, editing, editorial supervision, and fact-checking for both the gang-rape story and the Ivermectin overdose story. The question remains: Why do well-funded and well-staffed news organizations such as Rolling Stone fail so consistently?
The root cause of these failures is news organizations no longer consider reporting facts to be their function. Instead, they exist to propagate the Narrative. They have cultivated an audience that only wants its biases confirmed. Presenting their audiences with inconvenient facts may see them opt for another news outlet. Hence, they carry only those stories that fit the Narrative. All inconvenient stories are either killed or spun.
When they learn of a story such as the Ivermectin overdose, they are so overcome by a desire for it to be true that they abandon all due diligence. In their minds, the Ivermectin story is about anti-science dunderheads and a dog-whistle for Trump supporters foolish enough to treat COVID by consuming a drug meant for deworming horses. The implicit message is they received their deserved comeuppance by ending up in the emergency room. Trump supporters almost killing themselves is both satisfying and hilarious for leftist journalists.
They also know that, to push the message that vaccinations are the only way to stop COVID, they must convince people that alternative approaches mean death.
Journalists could easily have debunked the Ivermectin overdose claim by calling any of the hospitals in Oklahoma. A basic background check would have established that NHS Sequoyah did not employ Dr. McElyea, which should have prompted reporters to interview other doctors. The falsehood could have been identified in a matter of minutes.
Also troubling was the time that was taken to correct these stories. Both Rolling Stone and The Guardian should have removed their stories from the website and published the retraction only. Instead, they merely added notes of correction while the stories remain on their websites.
The propaganda traveled halfway around the world before the truth had a chance to get its trousers on. For the propagandists, this is mission accomplished.
So, is there a solution?
It’s impossible to eliminate bias. There will always be certain stories that the left wants to be true and other stories that the right wants to be true.
The solution is to have diverse people in the newsroom. This is not the phony neo-liberal diversity of liked-minded people belonging to various races, nationalities, sexual orientations, and religions. This is the real diversity of opinions, perspectives, ideologies, and political affiliations. Here, a right-leaning individual who wanted the ivermectin overdose story to be false would have gone out of his way to investigate and debunk it.
But do not expect this solution to be applied any time soon. Can you imagine the newsrooms of organizations such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times, or The Washington Post employing right-leaning journalists?
This story is merely a symptom of the grave illness that has afflicted the news media for decades. Alas, there is no cure for this illness simply because news organizations don’t see it as an ailment. They are proud propagandists, so any course correction is quite out of the question. As a news consumer, you have no option but to presume every story to be false until proven true.
Ivermectin cartoon by Ghenghis Gary.
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