We’ve been down this road before: sources unchecked by journalistic due diligence that come back with a vengeance. It’s a cautionary tale that even the heaviest hitters online and in print seem to believe they are immune to if the news fits the prescribed narrative. The leftist go-to magazine Rolling Stone found out that sometimes the little guy not only fights back but leaves the bully bloodied and embarrassed: along with those who also are too lazy to fact-check.
The magazine published a story that near immediately went viral, claiming that a hospital in rural Oklahoma is so backed up by local yokels self-medicating and poisoning themselves using livestock de-wormer Ivermectin that gunshot victims are being turned away. There are many problems associated with that statement. First, rural hospitals in flyover states do not have a heavy population of gun violence victims. Those folks don’t shoot each other over much of anything, although there may be the infrequent hunting accident.
Second, the prominent glossy publication was so invested in this fantasy it used an old AP photo of folks waiting in line. Did anyone notice the people pictured were wearing parkas in the sweltering hot Oklahoma summer? Rolling Stone editors intentionally mislabeled the image that originally appeared in Newsweek: “Gunshot victims left waiting as horse de-wormer overdoses overwhelm Oklahoma hospitals.” Turns out the more accurate caption would be something like: “Waiting in line on a brisk January day at an Oklahoma City church for a dose of the new vaccination.”
Third, Rolling Stone quoted Dr. Jason McElyea, who told an NBC affiliate, “The ERs are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated.” And the medic warned that he had seen some terrible side effects of overdosing: “The scariest one that I’ve heard of and seen is people coming in with vision loss.” McElyea’s immediate downfall was in naming the hospital in the holler as the culprit, Northeastern Health System-Sequoyah, in Sallisaw, OK, which called the story horse hockey:
“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. As a result, our hospital has not had to turn away any patients seeking emergency care.”
Rolling Stone’s discomfiture stems in not contacting the doctor or the hospital to get a firsthand account. One call to the rural, assumed backwoods hospital folks, and Rolling Stone could have saved a retraction tsunami by those who had picked up the story without asking questions, such as The Independent, The Guardian, cable news, and talking heads including Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, and Kellyanne Conway’s snipy husband, George.
Half-Baked Mea Culpa
The Food and Drug Administration has cautioned the crazies terrified of the virus not to raid the pony’s medicine chest if they have a fever or lingering cough. The FDA also tweeted a snarky statement designed to educate the unwashed masses to avoid Ivermectin because “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” Rural folks are hardly the ones self-identifying as other species — unlike many leftists in large metropolitan areas.
Currently, nationwide for August, 459 Ivermectin exposure cases have been identified by National Poison Data Systems, with a small percentage (9%) registering any serious side effect.
The aforementioned publication offered a lame “update” to its story, allowing it did not have any proof that people in Oklahoma were causing all sorts of hold-ups at the local hospitals and clinics. Specifically:
“One hospital has denied Dr. Jason McElyea’s claim that ivermectin overdoses are causing emergency room backlogs and delays in medical care in rural Oklahoma and Rolling Stone has been unable to independently verify any such cases as of the time of this update.”
According to Dr. McElyea, the story has gone off the rails in a way he hadn’t expected. “That original story was just a little misquoted,” he told OK’s News 9. “As the story ran, it sounded like all of Oklahoma hospitals were filled with people who have overdosed on ivermectin and that’s not the case,” the doctor said. “The cases we are seeing, people who are overdosing on ivermectin, they are taking full strength cattle doses and coming in and that is something that could be avoided.”
Rest assured, Dr. McElyea does not work at NHS Sequoyah. Liberty Nation called, asked, and was given a personal number that went immediately to voicemail. We realize the good doctor might be inundated with source checkers.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.