A number of mainstream media figures and outlets appear to have been fooled by a false story that some Oklahoma hospitals were overwhelmed with patients having overdosed on the drug ivermectin, a parasite-fighting medication that can also be sold over the counter as a veterinary drug.
The story, which was originally reported at Oklahoma's KFOR-TV news, quoted testimony from Dr. Jason McElyea claiming that hospitals in a rural part of Oklahoma were being overrun with patients overdosing on the drug, causing gunshot victims to having to wait to be treated.
It was later deemed false after the Northeastern Hospital System denied any patients were treated for overdoses from the drug and that McElyea hadn't actually worked at one of the hospitals in question for two months.
In a series of tweets and articles flagged by journalist Drew Holden, well-known liberal media figures, like MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, and prominent outlets like Rolling Stone shared and reported on the false story for their millions of viewers and followers, with no apparent action being taken by Twitter to combat the misinformation.
"We’ve got to talk about the Rolling Stone invermectin (sic) article. Turns out the story about rural hospitals so flooded with ODs that they couldn’t treat other patients was made up, entirely invented. A lot of people took the bait, and I’ve got the screenshots," Holden tweeted, referencing Rolling Stone publishing their own piece on the false story, one of the first following the original reporting.
Holden specifically pointed to liberal media figures like Maddow and podcast host Brian Tyler Cohen, as well as various other writers and contributors as those spreading the misinformation, and questioned why they didn't look further into the story that seemed questionable from the beginning.
"[Maddow] had a tweet about it that went viral. She’s got an audience of millions of people and couldn’t be bothered to even look into a story that pretty obviously doesn’t pass the sniff test," he wrote.
As of Monday morning, Maddow's tweet was still up.
Holden also called out a number of media outlets for spreading the misinformation, including Business Insider, The Guardian, the Daily Mail and left-wing news site the Daily Kos.
"I just really don’t understand why seemingly real news outlets … didn’t bother to even look into this story before they pushed this narrative? Didn’t it sound odd? Wasn’t it worth investigating? Maybe a single phone call?" he wrote.
Corrections to the story have yet to be made by some of the outlets and individuals, however Rolling Stone issued an "update" over the weekend, noting the hospital system's denial of the story.
The FDA and CDC have warned against the use of ivermectin to treat the coronavirus, issuing a statement cautioning Americans that it is not an approved drug for the treatment or prevention of the virus.
Fox News' Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.