Joe Rogan and CNN Are Butting Heads Over “Horse Dewormer” COVID Cure

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    Joe Rogan and CNN Are Butting Heads Over “Horse Dewormer” COVID Cure

    CNN portrayed Rogan’s use of ivermectin as conspiracy-addled. Rogan says the drug, which is also used for animals, was prescribed by a doctor—and that the network bad-mouthed him.

    In early September, podcast host Joe Rogan ignited controversy when he claimed to be taking the antiparasitic drug ivermectin after contracting COVID-19. Ivermectin, which has not been proven to effectively treat the virus, first entered the national consciousness earlier this year, when conservatives and anti-vaxxers began touting it as a miracle DIY COVID treatment. The drug can be prescribed to humans for a number of reasons, but it’s also sold in high doses as an animal dewormer. And it’s the animal version right-wingers have apparently rushed to purchase, emptying feedstores around the country and ignoring safety warnings.

    When Rogan, who recently walked back his comment telling healthy young people not to get the COVID vaccine, advertised his use of ivermectin on Instagram, his remarks were roundly criticized—including by CNN, anchors, who accused him of portraying a “livestock drug” and a “horse dewormer” as a COVID cure. Rogan shot back. “Do I have to sue CNN?” he said on a September episode of his eponymous show. “They keep saying I’m taking horse dewormer. I literally got it from a doctor. It’s an American company. They won the Nobel Prize in 2015 for use in human beings, and CNN is saying I’m taking horse dewormer. They must know that’s a lie.”

    Rogan continued his counterstrike last week, when neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta appeared on his podcast. “Does it bother you that the network you work for…just outright lied about me taking horse dewormer?” he asked. Gupta replied that his colleagues “shouldn’t have said that.” When Gupta couldn’t explain why they’d done so, Rogan questioned why he hadn’t asked them, given his role as CNN’s primary “medical guy.” “I didn’t ask,” Gupta said. “I should’ve asked before coming on this podcast.”

    Their exchange prompted CNN’s P.R. machine to crank into action. In a statement to The Washington Post, the network wrote, “The heart of this debate has been purposely confused and ultimately lost. It’s never been about livestock versus human dosage of Ivermectin. The issue is that a powerful voice in the media, who by example and through his platform, sowed doubt in the proven and approved science of vaccines while promoting the use of an unproven treatment for COVID-19—a drug developed to ward off parasites in farm animals.” The network added that the only thing it “did wrong here was bruise the ego of a popular podcaster who pushed dangerous conspiracy theories and risked the lives of millions of people in doing so.” 

    CNN’s statement was met with some skepticism by the Post’s own media critic, Erik Wemple, who wrote that by “downplaying that ivermectin has important uses for people, CNN facilitates a certain assumption among its viewers. Namely, that Rogan had been haunting the aisles of Tractor Supply.” After referencing the FDA’s statement advising against using ivermectin to treat or prevent coronavirus, Wemple acknowledged that some doctors have, nevertheless, prescribed it to COVID-19 patients. “Yet CNN’s statement sounds more like the work of an advocacy group than a journalism outfit,” he wrote. “The network’s coverage was slanted in some cases and straight-up incorrect in others…. So in this instance, you don’t have to endorse Rogan to abhor CNN’s coverage of this topic.” Wemple alluded to CNN not following its own “Facts First” slogan, writing, “It’s tough living by your own standards.”

    Alex Thompson, a Politico reporter, tweeted that while “Rogan should be called out for his bullshit…CNN should be too [because] they said banana but it was an apple.” Steve Krakauer, an ex-CNN producer who now works as a media critic, wrote that his former network “got it wrong. They got caught. And they have chosen to dig their heels in rather than seek to correct the record.”

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    Published at Fri, 22 Oct 2021 19:58:50 +0000

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