A study by Baylor University Medical Center researchers published in the American Journal of Medicine in January 2021 found hydroxychloroquine is a potential treatment for COVID-19.
The study, which was originally written and posted on the PubMed website in August 2020, says, “When started earlier in the hospital course, for progressively longer durations and in outpatients, antimalarials may reduce the progression of disease, prevent hospitalization, and are associated with reduced mortality.”
After the American Journal of Medicine posted the study in January, it began circulating around the internet with captions and headlines such as: “After 440,000 Americans are Dead — Facebook and American Journal of Medicine Admit Their Stand on HCQ was Wrong — These People Should be Prosecuted.”
In late March and early April, former President Donald Trump endorsed treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, which was echoed by the August study. Immediately, he received severe pushback from medical journals and associations as well as the corporate media, who warned that hydroxychloroquine has no benefit as a treatment and is even potentially dangerous. This is despite the fact that hydroxychloroquine has been safely used against malaria and various immune deficiency syndromes for decades.
Tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube followed suit by censoring and suppressing anyone who deviated from the prescribed left-wing narrative that hydroxychloroquine is an ineffective and dangerous method of treating the Wuhan virus.
Since the recently circulated study contradicts the prescribed anti-Trump, left-wing narrative, Newsweek and other outlets subsequently published politically-driven “fact-checks” that do not actually contradict the results of the study. The “fact-checkers” labeled it “false” that the “American Journal of Medicine recommended hydroxychloroquine for COVID.”
Of course, the American Journal of Medicine as an institution does not endorse the findings or recommendations made in the study, or any study it publishes. That’s not how scientific publication works. As the American Journal of Medicine editor-in-chief Dr. Joseph S. Alpert explained to Newsweek, “This article does not mean the journal recommended this therapy. The authors recommended it just as others recommend other interventions. We just publish their findings and recommendations.”
Newsweek did not “fact-check” the actual findings in the study. Instead, Newsweek and others sought to invalidate the study with “false” labels even though their fact-check is simply a critique on whether specifically the American Journal of Medicine endorses the researchers’ findings. But this is not true of any study the American Journal of Medicine publishes, ever.
A spokesman for the journal told the Agence France-Presse the study promoting hydroxychloroquine is “still being debated.”
Alpert also told Newsweek that hydroxychloroquine may be useful as a preventative measure but those studies have not been widely done. “We need more data, it’s a new virus and we don’t have all the answers right now,” Alpert said. “Science is a constantly evolving entity. What is true today can be false tomorrow with new studies and new observations.”
In short, Newsweek and the other “fact-checkers” are attempting to arbitrate scientific truth based on their hatred for Donald Trump. These are journalists, not scientists. They have no business misleading the public on the scientific debate over hydroxychloroquine being a preventative treatment for COVID-19.
By politicizing medical research, Newsweek is undoubtedly harming scientific inquiry. It is very probable the reason there haven’t been many studies about hydroxychloroquine, as Alpert said, is because researchers are afraid of the deeply negative response they will certainly receive from the corporate media’s left-wing echo chamber.
Considering that the lack of research has made medical workers less likely to try hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, if it turns out the drug is useful for COVID alleviation, fact-checkers holding back scientific investigation about that means COVID-19 patients might have unnecessarily had worse symptoms and even died.
Evita Duffy is an intern at The Federalist and a junior at the University of Chicago, where she studies American History. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, & her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1