CNN commentator Dr. Sanjay Gupta had to admit his network got it wrong when backed into a corner Wednesday by podcast host Joe Rogan on the subject of ivermectin.
The drug, initially developed to treat intestinal parasites in large animals, also has a long-standing human use, as noted by the Food and Drug Administration.
“For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea,” according to the FDA website.
The FDA has not approved ivermectin, in any form, for use to treat COVID-19, although there have been reports that it has been successfully used by those who have tested positive. There have been other reports of individuals self-medicating with the drug and reporting negative side effects. Amid the various media reports, it is often unclear which form of the drug was taken or in what dosage.
Rogan has said ivermectin was among the drugs he took after testing positive and has bristled that CNN, in its coverage of his fight with the disease, called it a horse dewormer and left it at that.
Rogan battled with Gupta about CNN’s treatment of him, according to Fox News, when he told Gupta that others at CNN “are all lying about me taking horse medication.”
“They’re lying at your network about people taking human drugs versus drugs for veterinary,” Rogan said.
“Calling it a ‘horse dewormer’ is not the most flattering thing, I get that,” Gupta said.
“It’s a lie,” Rogan pushed back. “It’s a lie on a news network … and that’s a lie that they’re conscious of. It’s not a mistake. They’re unfavorably framing it as veterinary medicine.”
Is CNN interested in the truth?
Gupta tried to note that cautions have been issued about taking the veterinary form of the medicine, but Rogan made the point that CNN claimed he took that form while knowing he did not.
“It’s just a lie! Don’t you think that a lie like that is dangerous on a news network when you know that they know that they’re lying?” he said. “Do you think that that’s a problem that your news network lies?”
In the course of the discussion, Gupta said the drug “shouldn’t be called” a horse dewormer.
“Does it bother you that the news network you work for out and out lied, just outright lied, about me taking horse dewormer?” Rogan said.
“They shouldn’t have said that,” Gupta admitted, later adding, after Rogan pummeled him with evidence about the drug, “It can be used for humans! I get it.”
Joe Rogan asks Sanjay Gupta if it bothers him that CNN outright lied about Rogan taking horse dewormer to recover from covid. This is fantastic: pic.twitter.com/PEgJqIXhSD
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 14, 2021
Although Rogan made it clear that he took CNN’s treatment of him personally, he also said the issue was larger than one person.
“My point is you’re working for a news organization. If they’re lying about a comedian taking horse medication, what are they telling us about Russia? What are they telling us about Syria? Do you understand that that’s why people get concerned about the veracity of the news?” Rogan said.
Gupta later wrote a piece for CNN reflecting on the interview with Rogan, but despite his comments on the show that the truth needed to be told, Gupta only mentioned ivermectin in passing by noting it was among the discussion topics.