News & Politics

'I Just Left the ER' COVID Fearmongering Goes Viral on Twitter. Where Are the Fact-Checkers? [UPDATED]

Screenshots of identical COVID ER tweets.

Update: Fact-checkers at Lead Stories claim that the “pastacopy” effort was “part of a gaslighting ploy by anti-vaccine activists seeking to discredit news of rising hospital loads and “an attempt to undermine Ghali.” Lead Stories says it “has so far not found clear-cut evidence of a campaign to make Ghali’s experience and opinion look more widespread.”

The fact-checkers at Health Feedback claim:

In the case of the copypasta, the false narrative was manufactured by the appearance of bot-like behavior, the result of many Twitter users copy-pasting a genuine message by a doctor, regardless of whether these users’ intent was to generate the appearance of bot-like behaviour.

To what extent this copypasta was the result of coordination between Twitter users is unclear.

As was amply demonstrated by numerous responses to Ghali’s own tweet, the copypasta seeded doubt and reinforced distrust of and hostility towards medical professionals and public health agencies working to counteract the effects of the pandemic. Such sentiments manifest as harassment and attacks on frontline healthcare professionals and scientists correcting COVID-19 misinformation.

 

Original story:

If the words of that “doctor” who “just left the ER” and has a message about getting “crushed” by the new COVID Delta variant looks familiar, it’s because you probably have seen it before.

It’s an apparent astroturfed message campaign to scare people into getting a COVID vaccine.

It’s unclear who is behind the effort, but what is clear is that they have many people and perhaps even bots willing and able to cut and paste the fearful message that we’re “getting crushed” by the COVID Delta variant, don’t you know?

Our colleagues at Twitchy report that a similar effort started on Facebook.

Where are the Cheeto-eaters in charge of fact-checking over there? They’re so much better than we are, aren’t they? They’ll let you know as soon as they can find daylight from under Dr. Fauci’s white coat.

Many people, even people who aren’t doctors or nurses but who appear to be pushing COVID fear-porn for political advantage on social media, are sending the message that they “just left the ER” and – oh my God everyone’s dying and they wish they’d gotten vaccinated – and, and …

And they just got busted.

The great COVID fear porn narrative was outed on Twitter beginning on Sunday night with a tweet showing that many people were using the exact same message.

I just left the ER.

We are officially back to getting crushed by COVID-19.

Delta Variant is running rampant and it’s MUCH more transmissible than the original virus.

99% of our ICU admits did NOT receive a vaccine.

Virtually ALL of them wish they had.

They couldn’t all have “just come from the ER” could they?

No one in the mainstream media appeared to ask that question. Lots of people had “just left the ER” all over the Twitterverse peddling the same message and the media lapped it up.

Yahoo News ran with the story of the “ER doctor” who pushed what could have been the initial talking points. The story then devolved into a screed against Governor Ron DeSantis.

Earlier this week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally who proudly resisted lockdown efforts during the early stages of the pandemic, encouraged his residents to take the vaccine.

Despite this, Mr DeSantis has continued to oppose virus mitigation efforts, stating there will be no new lockdowns in Florida. Earlier in the year he used his executive powers to end all emergency and locally enacted coronavirus mandates restricting business.

There sure seems to be a lot of politics being played here.

Whoever they are, they have many, many like-minded friends.

Another heavily replicated message issued a warning that the country had to lock down till Christmas or we’ll all die.

“this is disgusting. Masks and social distancing should be in place until till minimum Christmas time at the earliest the government are clueless, the Delta variant should be taken seriously and we should all go into lock down to prevent it spreading.[sic]”

 

I note that the message had multiple grammatical issues, but managed to capitalize “Delta Variant” which is a constant for the fear-porn folks.

Another astroturfed message claimed, “Anti vaccine rhetoric is dangerous. Vaccine hesitancy and refusal threaten public health, and assault on lawmakers and others is unacceptable.”

The message included the hashtag “stop antivax violence.”

Yep, seems like an anti-First Amendment Leftist trope.

We don’t know at this point whether that last message was a joke, a 4Chan scam, or another astroturfed political message to scare people.

We do know that others, including actor Adam Baldwin, can spot a fraud when he sees one and mocked it appropriately.

“I just left the ER.

We are officially back to getting crushed by UPDOG-19.

UPDOG Variant is running rampant and it’s MUCH more transmissible than the original virus.

99% of our ICU admits did NOT receive UPDOG vaccine.

Virtually ALL of them wish they had.”

Others picked up on Baldwin’s joke about the “UPDOG-19 Variant.”

While the social media moguls pretend to be concerned with truthful messages and “fact-checking,” it appears that an obvious scam has been allowed to proliferate on Twitter.

We don’t need them to tell us it’s a scam.

What’s more troubling is that COVID can be quite serious for certain groups of people, so if this is an effort to get people to get the COVID shot, why lie?