Joe Rogan: Do I need to sue CNN for claiming I took horse dewormer?

The answer to any question involving whether someone should sue CNN is yes.

He’s annoyed because Jim Acosta accused him on the air yesterday of having treated himself for COVID with the “livestock de-wormer ivermectin.” There is a version of ivermectin made for livestock and there are people who’ve taken it in their desperation to find a populist remedy for the disease of which the expert class disapproves.

But that’s not the version Rogan took, he said today in his podcast. He got the version made for people, via a prescription from his doctor. So why didn’t Acosta check before telling a national TV audience that he did?

That’d be an interesting defamation suit. Could a very public figure like Rogan prove that Acosta made this claim with reckless disregard for whether it was true or not?

Even if he could, what sort of damages could he conceivably recover? Rogan’s audience would probably like him more if they thought he hit himself with a horse-sized dose of the drug.

I mean, taking ivermectin for COVID is a wash at worst among indies and downright appealing to Republicans:

Anyway, lotta bad information in the clip below. Key bits from RCP:

One of the speculations involves the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccines. That, in order for there to be an emergency use authorization, there has to be no treatment for a disease. So, because there is this treatment in Ivermectin… there’s a lot of pushback against potential treatments, pretending they don’t really work or they are conspiracy theories.”

“The grand conspiracy is that the pharmaceutical companies are in cahoots to try and make anybody who takes this stuff look crazy,” he said. “But what’s crazy is look how better I got! I got better pretty quick, bitch.”

“Because I wasn’t scared during the entire pandemic, what they would like is that when I did get sick that I was really sick and became really scared and learned my lesson. Instead, it is the worst-case scenario for them. I bounce back about as quick as I can,” Rogan said. “They’re haters. But that’s their life. Imagine spending any time whatsoever wishing that a person felt bad… It doesn’t make people feel worse.”

Remdesivir is a treatment for COVID and was authorized for emergency use by the FDA in May 2020, seven months before the vaccine. Dexamethasone, a widely used steroid, was found to have benefits for patients severely ill with the disease more than a year ago. If the vaccines are some sort of scam that require there to be no treatments available for COVID, it’s weird that there have been treatments available for COVID since before the vaccine.

Also, why would pharmaceutical companies not want people to take ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine? They make ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. If Pharma were as rapacious as Rogan implies, Merck would be putting out statements urging people to juice themselves to the gills with the drug instead of warning them that there’s no solid clinical evidence showing a benefit from it to COVID patients.

When he says “I got better pretty quick, bitch,” he’s suggesting that ivermectin, the Drug The Experts Don’t Want You To Know About, is what did it. But Rogan also received monoclonal antibodies, an approved and effective treatment. It’s like a cancer patient who’s receiving chemo deciding to drink horse piss for a few weeks and then declaring that horse piss is the secret folk elixir that saved him when his cancer ends up in remission. Phil Valentine, the anti-vax conservative talk radio host who died recently of COVID, was apparently also taking ivermectin. Should we conclude from that that ivermectin is ineffective — or even lethal?

The “logic” Rogan’s using here probably does explain how the ivermectin craze has taken off, though. It’s not the studies from abroad showing that it works, I suspect, so much as pockets of people taking the drug and then recovering soon after, with word of mouth spreading in their social circles. They probably would have recovered anyway; only one to five percent of COVID cases or thereabouts end up requiring hospital care. But if you’re suffering and you try a certain medication on a lark and you start to improve, the belief that that medication saved you rather than your own immune system working normally is irresistible. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but tell that to someone who’s just gratefully recovered from a disease that’s killed millions.

I think there’s truth to what Rogan says about some people wishing he’d had a bad bout with COVID, not because they’re “haters” but because it would have served as an example to others not to take COVID lightly. But underneath that schadenfreude lies a legit fear, which is that people who’ve gone all-in on ivermectin to cure them of the disease after they’ve gotten it are less likely to try to protect themselves from getting it via vaccination. People want Rogan to extol the shot’s benefit to his audience instead of jerking around with unproven treatments. If he and everyone else in the U.S. had gotten vaxxed early, COVID would now be not much more threatening than the annual flu and the “haters” would be happy. As it is, daily deaths in the U.S. now average in excess of 1,500 per day again. The great majority of them were preventable.