Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused Twitter and other social media outlets of "censorship" after posts promoting hydroxychloroquine, an unproven drug treatment for the new coronavirus that has been touted by President Donald Trump in spite of the warnings of Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Pointing to how Twitter former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was forced to remove a tweet that falsely claimed the controversial therapy was "100% effective," Carlson accused Silicon Valley companies of falling for the temptation to "use a crisis to achieve your political objectives."
"Soon, they'll be telling you that Fox News — not China — caused this pandemic. In fact, many are saying that now," Carlson added. "How long before they start claiming that in the name of public health — Fox News must be suppressed? Paranoid? OK, you watch. That'll happen."
Carlson defended the Giuliani tweet earlier in the segment by arguing that it was necessary to help advance scientific discussion. He claimed that "Big Tech does not believe you should be allowed to think" about subjects challenging the consensus medical view on key issues.
While Carlson also brought up the alleged censorship of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, he neglected to mention a deleted tweet by his colleague Laura Ingraham touting Trump's hydroxychloroquine claims. The social media platform confirmed to Mediaite that several of her tweets fell under "our misleading information policy under Heightened-risk health claims," and one of them needed to be "taken down."
Ingraham's tweets referenced a pair of interviews she conducted last month with Dr. William Grace, who was incorrectly identified as an oncologist working for New York's Lenox Hill hospital. He claimed that because of the drug, "we have not had a death in our hospital. We have probably close to a 100 patients, and not had any deaths."
The Fox News host later repeated Grace's claims, claiming on her program that "one patient was described as Lazarus getting up after . . . he was like on death's door. And they started getting a protocol of hydroxychloroquine at Lenox Hill, and it suddenly — like Lazarus, up from the grave. I mean, that's an actual case."
Ingraham later posted a tweet to similar effect, writing that "Lenox Hill in New York among many hospitals already using Hydroxychloroquine with very promising results. One patient was described as 'Lazarus' who was seriously ill from Covid-19, already released." The tweet has since been deleted.
"A Twitter spokesperson said earlier today that the company required Ingraham to delete the post for violating its policies," Politico reported Monday. "But the company later reversed course, saying Ingraham was not forced to take it down."
The apparent Twitter violation was only one way in which Ingraham's interview with Grace has proved controversial. A freelance author named Nancy Levine learned that Grace was not employed by Lenox Hill, prompting Fox News to post an editor's note near one of Ingraham's articles explaining that "a previous version of this article incorrectly stated Dr. William Grace's relationship to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Dr. Grace is not employed by the hospital and his opinions given below are his own."
Trump stirred up controversy last month when he tweeted that "HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine." He later added that he hoped the two drugs would be "put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!"
An Arizona man died last week after ingesting a fish tank cleaner that contained chloroquine phosphate after hearing Trump tout the supposed benefits of taking hydroxychloroquine.
The widow of the man who died later told NBC News, "Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure. Oh, my God. Don't take anything. Don't believe anything. Don't believe anything that the president says and his people . . . Call your doctor."
Rodney J.Y. Ho — a professor and director of the Targeted, Long-acting and Combination Anti-Retroviral Therapy (TLC-ART) program at the University of Washington — told Salon last week that although "drug levels achieved in blood with current dosing regimen for hydroxychloroquine is higher than what is needed in test tubes to kill COVID-19 virus," this does not mean the drug can effectively treat it.
"Nothing has been tested thoroughly by the FDA, but because it's available by prescription and it's a pill, you can order it," Ho said.
Watch the full Carlson video via Crooks and Liars: