It has been a borderline disastrous night-and-day for the media. As many have heard, there have been attempts in the press since last night to attach blame to President Trump for a couple getting gravely ill when they thought they had found some anti-coronavirus chemicals. ”Found” being the operative word.
After trying to sell us on the idea this pair had become ill due to misunderstanding medication instructions delivered by Trump, we learned they had actually poisoned themselves by ingesting a fish aquarium parasitic cleanser they stumbled upon in their home. The husband died from the chemicals.
As the day is evolving and the truth has eventually tugged on its trousers there are a number of media outlets looking embarrassed by the hysterical headlines they pumped out. Steps are being taken to correct their messaging, and they manage to make the outlets look worse.
At Axios they have acknowledged their ”error” and took down their initial tweet.
So much wrong. For one, the human drug is hydroxychloroquine. Chloroquine phosphate is the agent in the aquarium cleanser the couple chose to consume, and it is not found in pill form, as pictured in their tweet here. It also is not the anti-malarial medication.
But after all of this, even the corrected article the site runs is problematic. Despite a disclaimer at the end, there remains this passage.
Why it matters: People who attempt to self-medicate risk serious side effects or death, and it’s why any messaging about chloroquine and the related hydroxychloroquine should emphasize that these drugs have not been approved to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.
What this couple ingested was not a drug. The wife, surviving now in ICU, commented that she came across this product when she was in her kitchen pantry. It was not a drug, it was not a medication they mistakenly took. It was a cleaning solvent left over from a time when she had a koi fish pond. The packaging of this product usually carries the disclaimer on it that it is not meant for human consumption
What makes all of this fumbling and excuse-making by Axios inexcusable is that none of these details they now site are newly revealed. All of this information was available when this story was initially breaking yesterday. Either they were in a mad rush to get a slanderous story out about the president, or they intentionally slanted the story for an initial public reveal, expecting the ”correction” to get far less traction. Neither is the better look for a news outlet.
Worse still is The Hill. While they too had all of these same story details available they also elected to run with the salacious headline of Trump being culpable. Here is the tweet pushed out by The Hill, just prior to them deleting it from its timeline.
At the site, the article now bears a starkly different headline — ”Man dies after taking chloroquine phosphate in effort to prevent coronavirus”.
The article repeatedly misidentifies the difference between the chemical in the cleaning agent and the element in the medication for humans. This despite including tweets from the president which do correctly mention HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE as the medication.
In the article, there is no mention whatsoever of corrections being made to the headline, nor any of the content. All we find is the notice that the story was ”Updated” this morning. So it was a case of slanderously accusing the president of being responsible for the death of this man, then going the route of stealth-editing and trying to memory-hole the tweets carrying the accusation.
We captured things, just for the record.