News & Politics

Joe Rogan's Dust-Up With CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta Exposes the Narrative

On Wednesday, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, sat down with Joe Rogan for an extensive interview. The reason for the appearance was Gupta’s new book, World War C: Lesson From the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One. The lesson everyone should take away from the fallout of the interview is don’t ever make the corporate media your only source of information in a crisis.

Anyone familiar with Joe Rogan’s podcast knows they are long, cover topics not remotely implied by the primary reason for the interview, and the host can be relentless. In his interview with Gupta, the fireworks erupted when discussing COVID-19. Rogan was diagnosed with the virus and made a video telling his followers how he treated the illness. The regimen included vitamins, supplements, monoclonal antibodies, and The Drug That Cannot Be Named: ivermectin.

After Rogan’s video went viral, the corporate and left-wing media led with stories about Rogan taking “horse dewormer,” mocking and denigrating him. The narrative—that COVID-19 is deadly with few available treatments—demands it. Networks also hate Rogan, who draws more eyes and ears than any cable news host.

Related: CDC Recommends ‘Horse Dewormer’ Ivermectin for Refugees. So Where’s the Media Outrage?

Chief among the critics was CNN’s Don Lemon, who read graphics that said, “Joe Rogan announces he has COVID, is taking horse dewormer ivermectin,” and “Joe Rogan, controversial podcast host, says he has COVID, taking unproven de-worming drug.” During a panel discussion, CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner said Rogan was “promoting kind of a crazy jumble sort of folk remedies and internet-prescribed drugs.”

Rogan took Gupta to task for his network’s absurd characterization about the formulation for humans prescribed by a doctor.

When Rogan asked Gupta about the CNN coverage, Gupta admitted that “horse dewormer” was not a flattering characterization. Rogan shot back, “It’s a lie on a news network. It’s a lie. That’s a lie that they’re conscious of. It’s not a mistake. They’re unfavorably framing it as a veterinary medicine.”

Gupta blamed a tweet from the FDA that read, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously y’all. Stop it.” After Gupta admitted that the characterization had been snarky. Rogan correctly challenged Gupta on the fact there have been studies showing the medication has anti-viral effects. According to research published in the Journal of Antibiotics in June of 2020, there are 50 years of studies on this application of ivermectin. Frontline doctors did not decide to add the drug to outpatient treatment regimens for COVID-19 on a whim.

Rogan continued to ask why the network would lie about a Nobel prize-winning drug that had cured blindness due to a parasitic infection in millions of people, suggesting it was only used in animals. Rogan asked, “Does it bother you the news network you work for out and out lied? Just outright lied about me taking horse dewormer?” Gupta responded, “They shouldn’t have said that.”

Related: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on Rolling Back the ‘Biosecurity State’ and Restoring Confidence in Public Health

In reality, a doctor in Gupta’s position could have easily corrected the record during dozens of CNN appearances. He is a practicing neurosurgeon capable of finding and reading research from around the globe. At a minimum, he could have defended doctors deciding to try ivermectin in light of that research when faced with patients seeking treatment. There is research that supports the use of the drug and research that shows it has no benefit.

A meta-analysis of the studies has supporters on both sides of the debate. There is no research showing it harms COVID-19 patients when given in an approved human dose, and no reason to believe it would do so after decades of use around the globe. Perhaps, in a country with a Right to Try law, we should allow doctors to prescribe an existing drug, which may or may not help but is not likely to hurt, until random control trials are complete. If that had happened with Bactrim for PCP pneumonia during the AIDS crisis, doctors could have saved thousands of lives.

Gupta deserves credit for appearing with Rogan. He shared that friends tried to get him to decline the interview, and he sat for three hours discussing a full range of topics. And to be candid, he seems like a nice man. That is why his appearance with Don Lemon following the release of his interview with Rogan was so disappointing. Gupta just caved to the preferred narrative.

The stern look on Lemon’s face melts as soon as he gets the approved narrative from Gupta. If you only watch corporate media outlets like CNN, that is all you can expect. The excellent news is that Rogan’s clip has nearly 5 million views as of this article. The entire podcast will have millions of more downloads. Don Lemon’s arrogant and defensive rebuttal has fewer than a million views, and he hasn’t hit a million viewers watching his show in the recent past. Control of the narrative is slipping fast, which is why the drumbeat for censorship is getting louder.