'Dumbed if You Do or Dont' -- Press Hypes the Stupidity of Citizens on Both Sides of COVID Misinformation

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool

No matter the side of the issue, the press resents the rubes in flyover country.

With all of the controversies and conflicting information, to say nothing of the “evolving” standards from government agencies, one thing has been consistent in all the pandemic hysteria — the press always declares it knows better than everyone else. During all of the accusatory talk of dangerous anti-vax individuals and sources delivering alleged misinformation, it is remarkably convenient how the journalists always escape the label of being a dangerous source.

As such, it then goes to the next step — when fingers are pointed and people are charged with being ignorant, those fingers are frequently extended by members of the media. The latest example involves the controversial treatment of Ivermectin. This long-known medication has been explored as a potential agent to help alleviate COVID symptoms, but the press is jumping at the undercurrent that this is also a product that people can buy over the counter at farm supply stores as an anti-parasitic for farm animals.

In the latest case of pure elitist debasement, at the Washington Post, Catherine Rampell latches onto a hyped headline to deliver a scornful dose of belittlement.

So much needs clarification as a result. First, to give you a sense of Rampell’s stance, it was just days ago when she worked to explain away Joe Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan policy by blaming it on Fox News. Yes, seriously. But while the tweet itself is not inflammatory on the surface, the link and the implications are all too blatant. This is nothing more than a redux of the over-hyped claims that people last year were rushing out to gobble down fish tank cleansers because a primary ingredient was President Trump’s touted hydroxychloroquine.

The story Rampell links to cites that in the state of Mississippi there has been a spike in cases of poison control fielding calls regarding people taking the drug meant for animals. This has that feel of convenient narrative framing for journalists. Like last year’s goldfish poisonings, when we were told there was a spike in calls to poison control the increase is a result of media coverage. There are no numbers given to indicate how widespread this truly is, just a percentage of calls given. There is, however, one solid data point that can be shown — measurable cases.

According to a health alert from the State Department of Health, the number of hospitalizations that were found as a result of people choosing to take a medication for livestock has exploded to — One.

The alert said, “no hospitalizations due to ivermectin toxicity have been directly reported to the Mississippi Poison Control Center or the Mississippi State Department of Health.” But MSDH reiterated to Mississippi Free Press reporter Nick Judin today that they had confirmed at least one hospitalization due to ivermectin toxicity, though it had not been reported to the department directly.

This is not exactly an example of a widespread health emergency erupting around supposed misinformation. But do note the willingness of the press to hold this up as a prime example of a public health problem. It is rather telling if you were to note how many people have been hospitalized after getting vaccinated, you are accused of spreading misinformation and creating hysteria over the shots — but hyping a solitary hospitalization over a ridiculous decision made by someone is considered sound public health science.

What is especially galling here is the inference that there is a widespread mindset in the country of stunted thinkers who would rush out to the Grain and Feed store to get a cattle derivative of Ivermectin. Now, notice how this is nearly the exact same accusation that is hurled towards those opposing the vaccines. This means the press is saying that those people who are too stupid to follow advice about getting vaccinated are also too stupid for following advice to take a bovine medication. This does not exactly link up.

This only continues to further muddy the waters on COVID treatments. While no one sane would suggest taking drugs you procure from Petsmart, the case of Ivermectin is just another in the ongoing politicization of the pandemic. The drug — for humans — has been touted in some circles as an adjunct treatment to help, sometimes vetted by governmental studies. But then reports came out last month that an initial study looking into the benefits of the treatment has been pulled back, and this has led to only more politicization.

Note this passage from The Guardian about the study being called into question:

The efficacy of a drug being promoted by rightwing figures worldwide for treating Covid-19 is in serious doubt after a major study suggesting the treatment is effective against the virus was withdrawn due to “ethical concerns”.

This just underscores the problems we have been dealing with for over a year. We are told to follow the science and the advice of doctors, and this study on Ivermectin was conducted by medical professionals, but now that the study is questioned it has been reduced to something only promoted by rightwing figures.

Two months ago, it would have been acceptable to cite this medical source, but today it becomes a sign of political hackery and anti-science. Bringing up the number of those hospitalized after being vaccinated can get you flagged for distributing antivaccine information, but highlighting what becomes one hospitalization over the foolish self-medicating with livestock treatments is considered sound journalism.

It is all enough to start downing a number of headache pills, as long as they are approved today by medical boards.