Time for McCullough and Rogan 2: Electric Boogaloo.
In my last article, I wrote about how McCullough spouted a lot of crap in regards to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. In this article, I will debunk a lot of his claims of conspiracy and oppression by governments all around the world towards people who claim to be "skeptical" of COVID-19.
On this front, McCullough does not pull any punches. He makes unverifiable claims of suppression by the government, of conspiracies to burn or hide hydroxychloroquine, and he even makes the claim that vaccination and lockdowns are akin to Jewish people being gassed in Nazi Germany. No... really, I am not joking about that point.
So let's look into these conspiracies and see if there is any proof behind any of what he says.
Did governments burn hydroxychloroquine?
Just 9 and a half minutes into this interview, McCullough makes many claims that are patently false or otherwise unprovable.
"Do you know the second-largest producer of Hydroxychloroquine? The plant was mysteriously burned down outside of Taipei. It was extraordinary, what was going on? Doctors from Africa were telling us that or there were some type of mercenary people raiding the pharmacies at night and burning the Hydroxychloroquine."
The first claim is about a factory known as SCI Pharmtech, which caught fire due to an accidental explosion in December of 2020. The company claims it was an accident, and firefighters at the scene claimed that "There is no evidence that the cause of the fire is criminal at this stage."
It is also important to note that the fire happened in December of 2020, but the factory claims that it stopped production of Hydroxychloroquine in August.
This is not the first time promoters of medical conspiracies have made unfounded claims of malfeasance. There are also claims that two factories that make magnesium stearate (an ingredient in Hydroxychloroquine) were burned down at the same time. This is patently false, as one of the claims is about a recycling factory in Mexico, and the other is about a factory in Illinois that does not produce magnesium stearate.
As for the claim about mercenaries raiding pharmacies to burn or destroy Hydroxychloroquine, I got nothing. There is no evidence that this ever happened outside of McCullough himself. Personally, I don't find McCullough credible enough to believe that he had a call from anyone in Africa.
There is also the claim that places like Brazil and Australia, among other places, only denied the use of Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 because Trump supported it. There isn't any evidence whatsoever to back this up. In fact, Brazil's president Bolsonaro was a strong supporter of Hydroxychloroquine and would have no reason to reject it simply because of Trump.
In fact, evidence shows that supporting Hydroxychloroquine gave you a far higher status in the minds of many inside their collective governments. This is why far-right leaders like US ex-President Trump and Brazilian President Bolsonaro supported this unsupported medication for COVID-19. People who spoke up against using this drug for COVID-19 faced many issues, such as being fired (Rick Bright) or brutally ridiculed and lied about by many on the political right (Anthony Fauci) However, this is ironic because Trump has since changed his stance and is now a firm supporter of vaccination.
While Brazil did destroy Hydroxychloroquine after it came out that it was useless for COVID-19, and Australia banned imports of the drug for the same reason, neither was due to Trump. Both were based on evidence that the drug was not a viable treatment for COVID-19.
This is why debunking claims like this is so obnoxious. It takes two seconds to make a false and unproven claim, but it takes far longer to check that claim and see if it holds water. It took me 7 paragraphs to disprove the nonsense that McCullough spouted in 4 short sentences. s
Suppression of COVID-19 treatments?
One of the claims made by McCullough and others is that mRNA vaccines are bad and that they will cause potential serious long-term side-effects. This isn't backed up by any data, and even if it was it would not matter, as the majority of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe are not mRNA vaccines. Even in the US, we have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is not an mRNA vaccine.
While he is attacking all of the credible options to protect people against a COVID-19 infection, such as vaccines, he does not seem to mind defending COVID-19 treatments that have no evidence backing them. I mention this in my previous article, showing that he supports Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine as treatments for COVID-19, regardless of how little evidence there is for these drugs as treatments.
Despite the complete lack of evidence supporting his claim and the growing body of evidence rebutting it, he still believes it. In fact, he claims that the entire medical community across the world is suppressing Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine as treatments to push vaccination. He says this himself just 31 minutes in:
"It seems to me early on there was an intentional, very comprehensive suppression of early treatment in order to promote fear, suffering, isolation, hospitalization and death. And it seemed to be completely organized and intentional in order to create acceptance for and then promote mass vaccination."
He, just a few minutes later, mentions the same thing when talking about the idea of Mass Formation Psychosis that he will soon bring up.
"there must be a single solution offered by an entity in authority. And in this case, it's clear worldwide the solution was vaccination. Everybody must take the vaccination. It's not a US program. It's not a European court. It's everywhere."
So McCullough argues that the entire scientific community, as well as every government on earth, are colluding to suppress his preferred COVID-19 treatments while forcefully pushing vaccines on people. Occam's Razor suggests that if the vast majority of experts in medicine are disagreeing with you on a topic they are experts in, the simpler conclusion would be that you are the wrong one.
The amount of evidence needed to prove that the vast majority of experts in virology, epidemiology, and medicine, as well as nurses and doctors, all around the world, are conspiring together to push an agenda would be staggering. And so far, we have yet to find any evidence at all for this.
On top of this, no country has banned the use of Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin for their evidence-based uses. Nobody has prevented doctors from prescribing it to patients even if they believe it to be ineffective. So there is no evidence that these drugs are in any way being suppressed, just not given to people when it has no benefit and could even be harmful. In fact, these drugs seem to be booming in their sales numbers.
Lack of early treatment protocols for COVID-19?
Here is a video from 2020 talking about what people can do to treat the early symptoms of COVID-19:
One baffling claim that McCullough makes in his interview is that 50-85% of all people who have died from COVID-19 infections could have been saved if early treatment was done. In the interview he states:
“The 800,000 deaths we have right now, I can tell you to a one they’ve received either no or inadequate early treatment.”
The main issue in regards to early treatment is that most people do not even go to see a doctor until they are very sick, or are brought to a hospital by ambulance. The CDC in 2019 showed that while 85% of people saw a doctor in the past year, the number of visits per person on average in a year was only 2.7. The Kaiser Family Foundation also showed that non-COVID-related hospital visits in 2020 dropped, which the CDC claims are due to people delaying treatment
It is hard to provide any kind of early treatment for patients who do not come in until they are at death's door. Of the doctors who do see patients, most prescribe what they can to reduce inflammation and breathing issues, such as acetaminophen, antibiotics, and bronchodilators. This can also be seen from a survey of physicians who worked on the front lines in April of 2020.
So knowing this information, it is very odd that McCullough would say, 44 minutes in:
"Do you know today in America, we have over 300 medical schools. Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic. Not a single hospital has their own unique protocol to treat COVID 19. They don't have a single original idea. Do you know that none of those organizations, Joe, have ever treated a COVID patient to prevent hospitalization and death?"
This is baffling to me, as the NIH has had treatment guidelines going back to April of 2020. Other organizations that had treatment options at the time include ISDA, Harvard School of Medicine, the Boston University of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and much more! All back in March and April of 2020.
Ah, but McCullough says "their own unique protocol", which means he is criticizing these organizations for not experimenting on people by creating a protocol not backed in the available science at the time. But why would he be so strongly against organizations agreeing with each other on the science and evidence? Well, because he believes they are colluding to brainwash the masses, as we will soon read about.
"Mass Formation Psychosis" and comparing lockdowns to the gassing of Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
As with many people nowadays, McCullough becomes very quick to compare any regulations meant to curb COVID-19 to Nazi Germany. Just 30 minutes into the interview, he claims:
"We're in what's called a mass formation psychosis... What your listeners need to know is a mass psychosis is when there is a groupthink that develops so strong that it leads to something horrific. And the examples are these mass suicides that occur in these religious cults. The example is Nazi Germany, when people walk into gas Chambers and were gassed."
First of all, I want to claim that the reason people "walked into gas chambers" was due to a bunch of Nazis that were threatening to blow their brains out if they did not follow orders. It was not due to any kind of psychosis. The reason the Jewish people and others followed the demands of the Nazis is based on the basic human psychology of not wanting to be slaughtered by a group of genocidal maniacs.
That said, I will assume he means to use a term like "shared psychotic disorder" or "mass hysteria" because the term "mass formation psychosis" didn't exist until a couple of months ago. Experts have also claimed that this is not a recognized scientific term and that there is no evidence for any kind of mass formation psychosis happening as a result of COVID-19.
This term was coined by a psychology professor known as Mattias Desmet. He works at Ghent University in Belgium. That said, he has never seemed to have published a single paper about this term. He seems to have made it up a couple of months back, and it has since stuck in the minds of people pushing an anti-vax conspiracy theory.
McCullough then describes what a "mass formation psychosis" is, and tries to link it to government responses to COVID-19:
"These horrific things in four elements here. It's very important, Joe.
1.) there must be a period of prolonged isolation: lockdowns.
2.) there must be a withdraw of things taken away from people that they used to enjoy. That's happened.
3.) there must be constant incessant, free-floating anxiety, all these news cycles, all the deaths and the hospitalizations, more variant mutant strains, everything. People becoming scared over and over again.
4.) The last thing, this is the capper, is there must be a single solution offered by an entity in authority. And in this case, it's clear worldwide the solution was vaccination. Everybody must take the vaccination. It's not a US program. It's not a European court. It's everywhere."
There is a lot to unpack about the idea of Mass Formation Psychosis. Also, another player joins in to discuss this notion, so let's talk about him as well, and his role in the dissemination of disinformation.
A tag team match with Dr. Robert Malone?
This view gained popularity not long after I started writing this article. This is because another person, Dr. Robert Malone, also went on Joe Rogan's podcast and talked about this as well. He is often credited as being the "inventor" of the mRNA vaccine by his followers, this is not the case. While his work was important in the study of mRNA for various purposes, thousands of other people have been studying it since the 1960s when it was first discovered.
Claiming him as an inventor also ignored the tireless decades of work by researchers such as Katalin Karikó, Drew Weissman, and Derrick Rossi. Without their dedication as well, mRNA may never have been considered for the vaccine.
A good video about this is by science communicator Rebecca Watson, who infers that the reason why Dr. Malone is rallying against mRNA vaccines is because he felt like he should have got more credit for his discovery. As a result, this might just be Malone's way of getting the attention he believes he should have gotten via his research.
Malone pretty much parrots McCullough when it comes to the ideals of Mass Formation Psychosis. As he points out in his interview with Rogan:
"[Mass Formation Psychosis is when society] becomes decoupled from each other and has a free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don't make sense. ... Then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point, just like hypnosis. They literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere ... They will follow that person -- it doesn't matter whether they lie to them or whatever, the data are irrelevant."
Also, like McCullough, Malone compares vaccine use and COVID restrictions with Nazi-era Germany. This has become such a common talking point that the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum put out a statement condemning the comparisons.
The idea that people must be under some form of "hypnosis" because they got a vaccine, started wearing face masks, and cared about their neighbors is a rather interesting point of view. Is telling people they should wear seatbelts and obey traffic laws a form of mass formation psychosis as well?
That said, many people are seeing the light and are working to prevent such dangerous and inaccurate ideas from spreading. On the 10th of January, 2022, 270 doctors, scientists, and researchers signed an open letter demanding Spotify (where Joe Rogan hosts his podcast) create a misinformation policy that prevents the spread of lies and proliferation. They go as far as calling Joe Rogan a "menace to public health". Spotify, however, has yet to respond at the time of writing this: January 19th, 2022.
Hopefully, we will see a change as social media sites stop providing platforms to quacks and shills who spread information that ultimately causes more people to refuse safe and effective medical care and get harmed or even die as a result. Until then, we just have to work to combat these claims with the available evidence.
The best practice is still the same as it has always been. Get your vaccines if you are able (Including a booster), wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, wear a mask, and stay 6 feet away from people if possible.
Ultimately, we can all work to be like this woman shown in a comic strip by the witty and experienced artist S.C.Watson: