Nets Pounce on Bogus Claim Doctor Fired for Opposing Drug Trump Pushed

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On Wednesday, the liberal media lit up with the new anti-Trump narrative about Dr. Rick Bright, who claimed without evidence that he was fired from his HHS position for opposing the use of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug President Trump had touted as a possible treatment for the Chinese coronavirus. But new reporting from Politico (not a right-wing outlet) found officials had been looking to fire him for incompetence for about a year, and he had praised the drug himself.

ABC’s World News Tonight invested the most time in promoting the bogus allegations, giving them over two minutes of airtime (2:19). And without any apparent research into the Bright, White House correspondent Terry Moran enthusiastically parroted his accusations against the President:

Tonight, Dr. Rick Bright, who led the key federal agency that’s developing drugs and a vaccine to fight the coronavirus is suddenly out of his job and he’s speaking out. Bright saying he was abruptly removed from his post this week because, he claims, he insisted on rigorous, science-based vetting of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that has been embraced by President Trump.

And as if it didn’t prove the bogus nature of the allegations, Moran touted how Bright was being represented by the same lawyers who tried to slander Justice Brett Kavanaugh (something the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News were smart enough not to do). “They say his removal from that post was, quote, ‘retaliation plain and simple’ and they want to see him reinstated,” Moran declared.

For CBS’s part, White House correspondent Paula Reid was another voice in the echo chamber. “CBS News has learned that this key official, who spent his entire career on vaccine development, was pushing for more rigorous testing of these treatments endorsed by President Trump right before he was pushed out of his position,” she announced with no evidence.

 

 

With no apparent vetting of what he claimed, Reid eagerly pushed his allegations:

Bright said the administration "Has pressured me other and conscientious scientists to fund companies with political connections, as well as efforts that lack scientific merit." He added that, "Sidelining me in the middle of this pandemic and placing politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk."

And on NBC, anchor Lester Holt hyped the “extraordinary allegation from the doctor who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine and is now out of that job.”

White House correspondent and fake news maker Geoff Bennett added: “Dr. Rick Bright says he was removed from his post after he pressed for a thorough vetting of a coronavirus treatment embraced by President Trump. Specifically the drug hydroxychloroquine.”

Meanwhile, Politico reporter Dan Diamond did actual research into Dr. Bright and what he found debunked the allegations. According to his reporting, Bright had praised the HHS’s acquisition of large quantities of the drug, and suggested it was a boon to the department:

Three people with knowledge of HHS' recent acquisition of tens of millions of doses of those drugs said that Bright had supported those acquisitions in internal communications, with one official saying that Bright praised the move as a win for the health department as part of an email exchange that was first reported by Reuters last week, although Bright's message was not publicly reported.

In addition, Diamond took to Twitter to share photographic evidence that Bright was being looked at for removal as early as last year. In the tweet, Diamond showed a timestamped text message exchange from January 2 proving people understood Bright was on the way out because of his “incompetence and insubordination.”

Definitely, not the narrative the networks wanted to go with against Trump.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
April 22, 2020
6:38:51 p.m. Eastern [2 minutes 19 seconds]

DAVID MUIR: And as we reported at the top here, a doctor at the Department of Health and Human Services tonight. He’d been helping lead the fight to develop a vaccine. He now says he’s been removed from his post, he says because he spoke up about drugs not backed by science including hydroxychloroquine. Here's Terry Moran.

[Cuts to video]

TERRY MORAN: Tonight, Dr. Rick Bright, who led the key federal agency that’s developing drugs and a vaccine to fight the coronavirus is suddenly out of his job and he’s speaking out. Bright saying he was abruptly removed from his post this week because, he claims, he insisted on rigorous, science-based vetting of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug that has been embraced by President Trump.

(…)

MORAN: Dr. Bright, in a statement he released after being transferred to another agency, declared: “I am speaking out, because science, not politics or cronyism has to lead the way.” Bright says he defied directives to push the anti-malaria drug, saying, “it was being promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit.”

The Veterans Administration tried it on COVID-19 patients and researchers say it may lead to a higher death rate. Jonathan Karl pushed the President on these new findings.

(…)

MORAN: Trump and allies have hyped the drug repeatedly, to the apparent dismay of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who’s called the evidence for its use “anecdotal.” And when Dr. Fauci tried to answer a question from a reporter earlier this month, he was pushed aside by the President.

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

MUIR: So, let’s bring in Terry Moran live from Washington tonight. And Terry, this Doctor is now calling for an investigation?

MORAN: That's right, David. Dr. Bright is asking the Inspector General of the Department Health and Human Services to investigate what the Doctor says is, quote, “the politicization of work on medicine and a vaccine for the coronavirus.” And the Doctor’s also hired lawyers, the same lawyers who represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Justice Bret Kavanaugh’s accuser. They say his removal from that post was, quote, “retaliation plain and simple” and they want to see him reinstated. David.

MUIR: All right. Terry, thank you.

 

CBS Evening News
April 22, 2020
6:36:31 p.m. Eastern [1 minute 24 seconds]

NORAH O’DONNELL: Tonight, the man who led the government's race to a vaccine is blowing the whistle and calling for an investigation. Rick Bright says he was removed from his job after pressing for rigorous vetting for a drug embraced by President Trump as a miracle treatment. Bright said “science must always trump politics.” It's all unfolding late tonight. And CBS' Paula Reid is at the White House. Paula.

PAULA REID: Norah, CBS News has learned that this key official, who spent his entire career on vaccine development, was pushing for more rigorous testing of these treatments endorsed by President Trump right before he was pushed out of his position.

[Cuts to video]

The explosive charge came from Rick Bright, who said he was dismissed yesterday after pushing for a more thorough vetting of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug the President has pushed as a possible breakthrough for coronavirus.

Bright said the administration "Has pressured me other and conscientious scientists to fund companies with political connections, as well as efforts that lack scientific merit." He added that, "Sidelining me in the middle of this pandemic and placing politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk."

The President has touted the promise of hydroxychloroquine many times, despite questions raised previously by many other health officials about its effectiveness.

(…)

 

NBC Nightly News
April 22, 2020
7:10:27 p.m. Eastern [56 seconds]

LESTER HOLT: And tonight, an extraordinary allegation from the doctor who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine and is now out of that job. Geoff Bennett at the White House, now. Geoff, what do we know?

GOEFF BENNETT: Lester, Dr. Rick Bright says he was removed from his post after he pressed for a thorough vetting of a coronavirus treatment embraced by President Trump. Specifically the drug hydroxychloroquine.

Dr. Bright says in a statement obtained by NBC news, “I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions and not in drugs, vaccines, and other technologies that lack scientific merit. I'm speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science, not politics or cronyism has to lead the way.”

President Trump spent weeks hyping hydroxychloroquine as a potential coronavirus miracle drug, but a new study of coronavirus patients in V.A. hospitals found more deaths among those treated with the drug than those treated with standard care. The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to our request for comment. Lester?

HOLT: All right, Geoff, thank you.

NB Daily Health Care Coronavirus Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Online Media Politico Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Fake News Video Terry Moran Paula Reid Lester Holt Donald Trump