An article by a local Oklahoma news outlet that went viral, was picked up by Rolling Stone, the BBC, The Guardian, and others, and turned out to be false, has still not been retracted by one of the biggest influencers who shared it, Rachel Maddow.
The New Republic reported that Maddow "left her tweet up and arguably dug in."
After she tweeted out the story initially, and saw the story, and its source, become the source of controversy, Maddow didn't correct or retract her advocacy of the story, but tried to make it true. "Two OK hospitals have chimed in on this now—one saying they’ve had ivermectin patients in their ER 'adding to the congestion' caused by COVID, another saying they haven't," she said.
This is largely different from the original story, in which local Oklahoma news outlet KFOR quoted a doctor who said that overdoses of Ivermectin were so severe in the state that gunshot victims were unable to obtain care in hospitals that were packed with patients who took too much Ivermectin.
In Maddow's follow-up tweet, "Maddow has essentially suggested there’s nothing to correct, since one Oklahoma hospital has treated patients for ivermectin use," New Republic reported.
Her follow-up tweet belies the correction that was made to the story by Rolling Stone, in what became an apparent case of a specific narrative driving the writing of a news item, instead of the facts.
The reporting on the ivermectin overdoses was contradicted by a statement from one of the area hospitals that the doctor is affiliated with.
Northeastern Health System Sequoyah said on its website that Dr. Jason Mcelyea is not an employee of NHS Sequoyah, but is rather affiliated with a medical staffing group that provides coverage for its emergency room. The hospital said that Mcelyea hadn't worked at their hospital in over two months, and that he had not treated anyone who suffered from Ivermectin poisoning.
Rolling Stone updated its story with the statement from the hospital, and made additional alterations to the story once facts came out undermining the story. Glenn Greenwald, however, took issue with that update, saying:
"The only reason Rolling Stone is calling this an 'UPDATE' as opposed to what it so plainly is -- a RETRACTION -- is because liberal outlets know that their readers don't care at all if they publish fake news as long as it's done with the right political motives and goals."
"That's the same reason the hard-core Dem Party media loyalists, led as usual by @Maddow, spread this fake story all over based on what appears to be a fraudulent source without checking. Fake News is 100% acceptable if done with good political motives," Greenwald said.
Greenwald also noticed that Maddow's tweet, which was demonstrably false, was not hit with Twitter's "disinformation" label. In fact, it is still allowed to stand unsullied, uncontradicted, as though it is fact.
"Why is this viral @Maddow tweet spreading a totally false story still up?” Greenwald said. "Why doesn't it have a 'DISINFORMATION' label appended to it by @TwitterSafety? Why hasn't Maddow herself removed it? Why hasn't Twitter?"