For most thinking Americans, it is unnecessary to bother to fact check the propaganda group Media Matters.
If they have heard of Media Matters at all, they typically understand it’s a smear group funded by donors with political and corporate interests whose names are kept secret. (The last big Media Matters donor whose name was publicly revealed years ago was that of liberal billionaire activist George Soros.)
The problem is, too many news organizations and even journalism groups such as Poynter use Media Matters and their affiliates as if they are legitimate news sources. They are either unforgviably ignorant of Media Matters’ slants— or choose to keep readers in the dark because they agree with the slant.
One major interest Media Matters and its affiliates have served over the years is that of the pharmaceutical industry. They often smear scientists and journalists who report on prescription drug and vaccine safety issues, falsely labelling them as “anti-vaccine.” Of course, that’s like saying that because I broke news about problems with Firestone tires, I am “anti-tire,” or because I have exposed fraud within charities, I am “anti-charity.” Silly.
It is also, for some reason, very important to Media Matters (and its affiliates and disciples in the quasi-news media) to falsely imply the forensically-proven government intrusions into my computers while I worked at CBS News -- was imaginary. They furthered this false narrative in an article quoting an “expert” who had never spoken to me, examined the computers, or reviewed the forensics.
Among other claims, this expert, wholly unqualified, suggested without evidence that the backspace key on one of my computers was stuck, therefore (claimed Media Matters) there were no computer intrusions.
I haven’t bothered to dissect how ridiculous all of this propaganda was. Beside the fact that: the computer Media Matters wrote about is not the main computer in question, that it has no “backspace” key, CBS News publicly confirmed the intrusions, multiple independent exams confirmed them forensically and even pinpointed the government source, insiders have provided details and even confessed to taking part… the fake Media Matters “news” persists in some corners of the internet.
This includes Wikipedia where agenda editors control my biographical page, quickly deleting information contrary to the Media Matters narrative. (Wikipedia also allows Media Matters propaganda to be cited as a source even though this violates explicit sourcing policies of Wikipedia.)
Remember, classic strategy deployed by smear groups like Media Matters isn’t so much to address the facts at hand; it is to attack and try to controversialize the scientists, journalists or other figures presenting facts and viewpoints deemed to be harmful to their donors’ interests. This is why they do not simply weigh in or debate information, they encourage it to be censored entirely so you can not hear it.
That brings us to the Media Matters propoganda campaign against hydroxycholorquine.
Propagandists Bobby Lewis and Alex Walker of Media Matters work very hard in their blog to present a slanted analysis of my factual, Full Measure report about hydroxycholroquine, in hopes of getting people not to consider the information in it. Their mission is to convince the public to accept a one-sided, false narrative that pleases their donors. (We can only guess who those funders are since, as I mentioned, those names are kept hidden.)
Here is a point by point dissection of the false Media Matters information in the blog by Lewis and Walker:
1. Media Matters headline:
“Downplaying risk of death, Sinclair ran a national segment promoting hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment”
Nothing in the report “downplayed risk of death.” The report did not “promote” hydroxycholoroquine or any other treatment.
2. Media Matters subheadline:
“The day before Trump claimed he was taking hydroxychloroquine, Sharyl Attkisson touted the drug on Sinclair stations nationwide.”
Nothing was “touted.”
3. Media Matters claim:
“While the segment mentioned a French study, presumably the oft-mentioned one by French scientist Dr. Didier Raoult, it did not reference any of the problems with his widely criticized initial study, and it downplayed deaths among COVID-19 patients who took hydroxychloroquine.”
The segment mentioned both positive and negative scientific findings about hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir. It did not attempt to take a comprehensive look at all of the studies underway or completed (there are hundreds); or their methodology, limits and criticism. It was to show that some well regarded, peer-reviewed, independent, published scientists who are actually studying hydroxychloroquine, and have no financial connections to the makers of the drug, have a different opinion than what has been widely presented in the media. It was also to show that the government, academic institutions and hospitals are actively studying hydroxycholorquine as both a preventive agent and treatment for coronavirus. Further, the esteemed scientists consulted do not agree with Media Matters’ spin on the topic, and it is their prerogative to present their scientific opinion. It’s important to hear from scientists who hold differing views on matters of public health importance.
4. Media Matters claims:
“Attkisson began the segment by noting that 'studies from China and France sparked early hope' that hydroxychloroquine could be a COVID-19 treatment. But she never explained any of the problems with the French study by Raoult.”
This repeats what Media Matters wrote in number 3, addressed above.
5. Media Matters claim:
(Media Matters quotes “a New York Times Magazine profile” of the French doctor who conducted an early hydroxycholoroquine study, to try to undercut his findings.)
The New York Times’ agenda regarding this issue is no secret, and that publication has published a great deal of false and slanted information. Regardless, the information in my report is factually correct and provides a balanced view that differs with the prevailing narratives.
6. Media Matters:
“[Attkisson] repeated the Food and Drug Administration’s warning about ‘serious heart rhythm problems’ with hydroxychloroquine, but she followed it with a doctor who claimed that he hasn’t seen ‘a single adverse event’ among those taking the drug for COVID-19 and who called hydroxychloroquine’s detractors ‘fake news’ pushing ‘fake science’.”
Fact check: That is what is known as balance. It may upset Media Matters that a top researcher has not found adverse events among those taking hydroxycholoroquine. However, it’s difficult to argue this information has no right to be disseminated.
7. Media Matters:
“Her segment also attempted to discredit the VA's hydroxychloroquine study.”
Fact check: It’s strange to have Media Matters accusing me of doing the very thing they are blatantly doing: attempting to discredit certain studies. In fact, I made no such attempt to discredit. I simply reported a prevailing view among reputable scientists about the VA paper (it was not a “study”) and its supposed flaws, plus one of the paper's author’s financial ties to the maker of the IV drug remdesivir.
8. Media Matters:
(Media Matters gives a one-sided account of what it says was a failed project to try hydroxycholoroquine in Utah.)
Fact check: There’s nothing wrong with Media Matter putting out its spin, but there is something wrong with the group then suggesting that people should not be entitled to hear any other scientific views and findings.
9. Media Matters:
(Refers to “coronavirus misinformation” on my program.)
Fact check: Media Matters was actually unable to point to any inaccuracies in my report.
Bottom line: Beware of any group that tries to limit the information you are allowed to know. Be leery of those who try to controversialize people and personalities, rather than address the facts at hand. Question those who claim to have firm, final answers to matters that are in dispute or matter of opinion. Stay skeptical of those who are attempting to censor or block information.
Do your own research. Make up your own mind. Think for yourself.
Here is the list of reporting I've done --without the spin -- on the media and scientific debate over using hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus:
1. VIDEO: "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson"
"Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson" story from Sun. May 17, 2020. With all the media debate over hydroxychloroquine, what are the facts without the spin on whether it hold promise to prevent or treat coronavirus?
Also, I follow the money. Click the link below.
2. PODCAST: Hydroxychloroquine: Politicizing Medicine
Separating fact from spin when it comes to hydroxychloroquine's representation in the media.
The discussion about hydroxycholoroquine has been so politicized in the media, that it’s hard to separate fact from spin. But we do that today.
We also talk to a leading scientist, Dr. William O'Neill, whose institution is studying both hydroxycholoroquine and another medicine, remdesivir, to treat coronavirus.
3. PODCAST: The Hydroxychloroquine Debate and Covid-19
How did the anti-malaria pill hydroxychloroquine go from scientists saying it was a great hope for treating and even preventing coronavirus... to a media campaign that called it dangerous quackery?
We followed the money and talked to scientists who have their own idea as to what is going on. You'll also hear from Dr. Jane Orient of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.