WND Adds To Its COVID Misinformer Army
Joel Hirschhorn uses his WorldNetDaily platform to lobby for dubious coronavirus treatments and to carry out a bizarre vendetta against Anthony Fauci.
By Terry Krepel
Nevertheless, the bio also describes him as "a member of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons" -- the fringe-right medical organization that has been most recently devoted to spreading misinformation about coronavirus. On that measure, Hirschhorn fits right into the AAPS' conspiratorial mindset.
ConWebWatch has previously documented Hirschhorn's bizarre attempt to "indict" top governmental expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, based on a "grand jury"empaneled in his fevered brain, on various counts involving opposing the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, despite the fact there's little credible evidence that it works. Hirschhorn ranted in a Nov. 11 column:
Hard to believe, but very few Americans have doctors who are using a safe, proven protocol for early home/outpatient treatment for those with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result. If they had, some 180,000 deaths could have been prevented so far.
Hirschhorn cites the usual dubious suspects in support of his argument: Harvey Risch, Vladimir Zelenko, and the bogus HCQ statistics assembled anonymously and touted by the AAPS. And as befits a guy who put Anthony Fauci before an imaginary"grand jury," Hirschhorn ranted that "The media-hyped meme that Fauci is a trusted expert is nonsense."
Hirschhorn returned on Nov. 24 to complain that "The leftist press has totally ignored the hearing and the main messages delivered by senators and distinguished doctors who testified." He attacked the sole opposition (and, thus pro-science) expert, Dr. Ashish Jha, as a "shill" for Democrats, accused Fauci of "malpractice," then proclaimed: "The big reveal of the hearing was that Democrats have no interest in expanding access to proven home treatments for COVID and saving lives. Right now, leftist Democrat politics are causing tens of thousands of preventable COVID deaths. All those who voted for Biden should know that Democrats are a fundamental cause of the rising numbers of COVID hospitalizations and deaths."
In March, Hirschhorn got WND to publish an excerpt from his new book, "Pandemic Blunder," which is also a screed against Fauci for failing to buy into the right-wing hype over dubious medications like hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus. He conspiratorially declared:
This book does more than describe the pandemic blunder, particularly in terms of the influence of Dr. Anthony Fauci. It can help Americans protect their lives by not being victimized by disinformation and propaganda from leftist media. Pandemic management has failed because of corrupt forces aiming to make billions of dollars from expensive medicines and vaccines. There has been widespread dereliction of duty on the part of many local, state and federal government officials.
Hirschhorn went on to cite what he claimed were "credible sources" on the alleged efficacy of hydroxychloroquine. They include Simone Gold of another fringe group, America's Frontline Doctors -- of which Hirschhorn is also a member -- and who we last saw taking part in the Capitol riot; and Zelenko again.
Hirschhorn then sounded like he was auditioning for a job at the Media Research Center:
The first thing is to depend on information from “conservative” sources and avoid paying attention to COVID information from leftist, mainstream sources. In the former category are shows on Fox News, especially Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. There are a multitude of conservative websites, many of which have been identified in the previous parts of this book. Of particular note are websites that have published pandemic articles by this author; they include WND.com, lifesitenews.com, globalresearch.ca, unz.com, opednews.com, nolanchart.com. Another important website is americasvoice.news, which airs the Steve Bannon War Room show that has often given reliable information on the pandemic.
Hirschhorn then went on to rant against studies showing that HCQ and ivermectin -- another dubious medication embraced by the likes of WND and AAPS -- are ineffective and, thus, interfere with his activism (and, presumably, his current income stream):
Briefly, here are some points to remember if you hear about or read for yourself medical studies that conclude that HCQ or IVM is unsafe and ineffective.
He added, "A website particularly useful for getting information on prophylaxis is COVID19criticalcare.com. It tends to focus on the use of IVM rather than HCQ." This website is operated by something called the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, which was formed to push unapproved treatments like ivermectin and HCQ.
In other words, if you've read Hirschhorn's rantings at WND, it seems you've pretty much already read his book.
The rants continue
In his April 6 column, Hirschhorn was still pushing hydroxychloroquine and promoting the latest alleged research of Vladimir Zelenko, a doctor who was one of the early touters of hydroxychloroquine (and, thus, touted by WND), insisting that he used "real world evidence" to achieve his dubious findings. He went on to insist that "In my recent book, 'Pandemic Blunder,' I used RWE to conclude that 70 to 80% of COVID deaths could have and still can be prevented by using the cheap and effective protocols."
Hirschhorn whined further on this subject in his April 16 column:
In our pandemic world, the battle between good and evil boils down to this: advocates for wide use of cheap and effective early home COVID treatment vs. stronger forces pushing contagion controls and vaccines. Herein I will explain why the home-treatment movement has had little impact in that battle.
And it wouldn't be Hirschhorn rant if he wasn't bashing Fauci:
In the final analysis, one person deserves the most credit for the limited success of the early home COVID treatment movement: Fauci. He skipped right over early medical actions to keep pushing contagion controls, expensive drugs for hospitalized patients and now vaccines.
How can WND be considered a trustworthy source of information when it publishes inaccurate, conspiratorially minded columnists like Hirschhorn?
Hirschhorn indulged in even more Fauci-bashing in his May 14 column, which began by pushing hydroxychloroquine and moved quickly into Fauci Derangement Syndrome:
Many months passed between the time COVID treatments were blocked and COVID vaccines became available. Again, call this the "Fauci kill zone." This is assuming the vaccines actually save lives. Those data are not yet available. But what we do know is that use of the early treatment protocols could have prevented at least 70 to 80% of COVID deaths, as documented in "Pandemic Blunder." Well over 400,000 lives were lost unnecessarily in the Fauci kill zone, and even more from the indirect lives lost because of government actions, like lockdowns.
For his May 26 column, Hirschhorn went into full conspiracy mode:
Starting in early 2020, powerful people, government agencies and private sector entities coalesced around a pandemic strategy. Evil globalists were active behind the scene as the world was mesmerized by a wildly spreading viral pandemic. This strategy was never explicitly and publicly described. It could not be … because it was sinful.
Hirschhorn also wrote, "Dr. Joseph Mercola said the vaccine actually is gene editing, which impairs your body's natural immune response." One: Mercola is a quack who's into even more bogus conspiracy theories than Hirschhorn is, and two: the mRNA coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna do not edit your genes.
He also asserted:
Israel has been praised for having the highest vaccination rate per capita in the world. The Israeli People's Committee reported in April that there have been 1,000-1,100 deaths in proximity to COVID vaccination and a total of 2,066 adverse events. Noted was the absence of media coverage of the ill effects of vaccination. The report concluded: "Never has a vaccine injured so many!" Note that the population in Israel approaches just 9 million, making the level of vaccine negative impacts very significant.
As a fact-checker found, the Israeli People's Committee does not do legitimate medical research, and the report itself states that it "should not be relied upon for medical or other purposes, and it certainly does not contain any medical recommendation."
That would have been a big warning sign for Hirschhorn, but pushing conspiracy theories is more important to him than telling the truth.
Hirschhorn served up even more Fauci-bashing in his June 21 column:
Recently, a physician in India made this fascinating observation: "In the 1985-86 edition of 'Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine' [a highly recommended book for students in medical school], Dr. Fauci wrote that HCQ worked as an anti-viral agent despite being an anti-malarial drug. There was no COVID-19 back then. HCQ's anti-viral properties were known."
Again, Zelenko's methods were questionable and poorly documented. But who is Didier Raoult? Well, he published a study touting hydroxycholoroquine early in the pandemic that President Trump latched onto. Soon after, however, other scientists raised questions about how it was conducted and other ethical issues, which resulted in revelations about Raoult's own dubious scientific background, which resulted in him facing disciplinary action over the study. Which, ultimately, resulted in Raoult suing one of the scientific whistleblowers for exposing his shoddy research while he and his supporters doxxed her online. So: the kind of person Hirschhorn would trust, which means the rest of us shouldn't.
Nevertheless, Hirschhorn went on to rant:
To sum up, the preponderance of all the medical evidence has always been that HCQ worked to safely and cheaply treat and prevent COVID. Yet big media refuse to admit this, as does Fauci. Anyone who says otherwise is a pandemic liar who belongs in hydroxy hell, because so many American deaths over 500,000 and so much suffering could have been prevented. The American public deserves the truth. When more people know the truth, maybe the judicial system will prosecute those responsible for so many deaths, especially Fauci.
In his July 5 column, Hirschhorn touted a "citizen petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop the full approval of COVID vaccines until many serious concerns and issues are genuinely addressed," adding: "There has been no significant coverage of this historic petition by mainstream and corporate social media. This cancel action is itself as remarkable as the petition itself. This is a concerted effort to keep the public uninformed about the many problems with the COVID vaccines. Any person who spends the time to peruse the 20-page petition would most likely have a very negative view of the vaccines."
Which, of course, is Hirschhorn's goal. He went on to tout how "the biggest name on the list of signatories is the esteemed Dr. Peter McCullough of Baylor University. He has been very outspoken and honest about many pandemic issues. He has said that, considering the high numbers of deaths and serious health impacts associated with taking the vaccines, FDA should do what it has done in the past when new medicines and vaccines had high negative impacts. Take them off the market." But McCullough is a major misinformer about the vaccines (and WND lets him do so without question), falsely portraying that deaths and other adverse effects to a government reporting system as indisputable evidence of the effects to the vaccines; in fact, no deaths have been linked to any COVID vaccine. Hirschhorn then engaged in his usual whining:
People who have not fallen victim to the endless propaganda of the political, big media and public health systems promoting COVID vaccine jabs may not be willing to seriously examine the medical and scientific details of the petition. The problem is cognitive dissonance. Too many people will not easily resolve their propaganda-induced positive views of the vaccines with the medical and science details in the petition. But that is what must happen. People must temper their fear of COVID infection with awareness that vaccines are now experimental and have not been sufficiently proved safe for all users.
The potential frustration and fear if the vaccines were deemed insufficiently safe could be mitigated by advocating for early home/outpatient treatment and preventive use of a number of cheap, safe and fully approved generic medicines.