An alarmist BBC News report warning about the dangers of “fake news” contained a claim which was itself a glaring example of fake news.
The article, entitled ‘The casualties of this year’s viral conspiracy theories,’ ominously warned that conspiracy theories were “destroying relationships and endangering lives.”
Prime amongst them according to Marianna Spring, the BBC’s “specialist disinformation reporter,” were a “flurry of online falsehoods about coronavirus.”
“We catalogued mass poisonings and overdoses of hydroxychloroquine – a drug that world leaders like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro falsely claimed cures or prevents COVID-19,” wrote Spring.
NEW Conspiracy theories ripped through the internet this year, destroying relationships and endangering lives – worlds apart from legitimate concerns.
Here I reflect on their casualties and my year reporting on the impact of viral disinformation.https://t.co/sb2TAMLbuQ
— Marianna Spring (@mariannaspring) December 26, 2020
However, as LockdownSkeptics points out, the claim that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t cure or prevent COVID-19 or that it is a poison is itself completely fake news.
“I’m afraid that doesn’t pass the fact-checking test, Ms Spring. Over 200 studies have shown HCQ is an effective treatment for Covid. Trump and Bolsonaro may have exaggerated the preventative and curative properties of HCQ, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely ineffective and anyone taking it is likely to poison themselves. On the contrary, it’s almost certainly no more dangerous than any of the Covid vaccines.”
Despite the efficacy of the drug, hydroxychloroquine has been demonized by the mainstream media from the beginning, partly as a way of preventing Trump from claiming success in fighting COVID and partly because it would have reduced the urgency for a vaccine, which is set to be used as a reason to restrict people’s mobility and travel rights.
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