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USA Today Smears Mercola Over Vitamin C and D Information

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

fact bias check usa today

Story at-a-glance -

  • Mainstream media, supported by monopoly tech platforms like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, are going to great lengths to control the narrative of what you see and read about the COVID-19 pandemic
  • May 2, 2020, USA Today tried to debunk my April 7, 2020, article, “Vitamins C and D Finally Adopted as Coronavirus Treatment,” which has more than 814,600 views, without presenting any counterevidence
  • The majority of mainstream media in the U.S. are owned, funded (through advertising) — and therefore easily controlled — by only a few powerful corporate entities and industries, some of which are overseas and may not even have American interests at heart
  • Only 47% of American adults trust mainstream digital publishers to report accurate information about COVID-19. Still, 85% trust the CDC and 77% trust WHO, both of which have the same conflicts of interest as most mainstream media
  • Both vitamin C and D have an enormous amount of evidence showing they provide important immune function benefits, and that your immune function is your front-line defense against all illness, including COVID-19

The fact that there is an information war going on is quite evident at this point. Mainstream media, supported by monopoly tech platforms like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, are going to great lengths to control the narrative of what you see and read about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Videos questioning the narrative — even when done by health professionals and scientists — are taken down faster than you can share them. Social media accounts of well-respected health professionals are being suppressed and removed. Twitter is even trialing a moderator tool that warns users when they’re about to post “harmful” language, although it’s unclear what the company might deem harmful.1

Fact-Checking at Its Worst

“Fact-checking” is also in overdrive, with journalists who are clueless about health and choose to side with the authoritarians writing articles “debunking” clear and provable facts without any counterevidence whatsoever.

Case in point: May 2, 2020, USA Today published “Fact Check: Vitamins C and D Are Not Used in ‘Conventional Treatment’ of Coronavirus,”2 an article aimed at debunking my April 7, 2020, article, “Vitamins C and D Finally Adopted as Coronavirus Treatment,” which has more than 816,000 views. USA Today writes, in part:3

“Mercola’s claim about vitamins and the coronavirus cites a New York Post article from March 24 that describes the use of vitamin C by Northwell Health, a New York hospital system, to treat patients with coronavirus.

Northwell spokesperson Jason Molinet confirmed to USA TODAY that ‘vitamin C was one of many therapies employed at the discretion of physicians in our health system.’

Molinet declined to answer follow-up questions about how widespread the use of vitamin C was, what the results of the treatment were and what studies or data Northwell relied on when deciding whether to use vitamin C as part of COVID-19 treatment. He declined to make a doctor available to speak about the treatment, saying, ‘That’s the extent of our statement on this.’

Our Ruling: False.

Though vitamin C is used, at least in one New York hospital system, to help treat some patients on a case-by-case basis, there is no known evidence to suggest it is effective.

Occasional use of vitamins C or D in COVID-19 treatment at the discretion of a patient and doctor is not the same as saying they are being adopted ‘in the conventional treatment’ of the coronavirus, as Mercola’s article says.”

This is beyond a shoddy “debunking” attempt. What does “adopted in conventional treatment” actually mean? The fact that vitamin C is being used in a conventional hospital setting to treat COVID-19 patients means it is in fact being adopted in conventional treatment.

I never stated or implied vitamin C is being used as “the standard of care” everywhere, but the fact is, it has been adopted as part of COVID-19 treatment by New York state’s largest hospital system.

My article also clearly states Northwell hospital system is using vitamin C “in conjunction with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin.” I never stated or implied vitamin C is being used in isolation as the sole treatment, or that it could be (it probably shouldn’t).

So, essentially, USA Today confirmed my report, then slapped a “fake news” label on it after falsely asserting “there is no known evidence to suggest [vitamin C] is effective.”

My article, meanwhile, detailed the scientific evidence — with scientific references — underpinning the suggestion to use vitamin C and vitamin D to boost your immune system, which in turn can help protect against COVID-19, seeing how it protects against most other viral illnesses.

USA Today presents no such counterevidence. Instead, it cites an opinion expressed by the founder of QuackWatch.org in 2012 — eight years ago — and directs readers to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, which states “the only way to minimize the chances of contracting the virus is to take preventive steps such as social distancing … frequent hand-washing and cleaning of often-used surfaces.”

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Information Combat Is the New Warfare

Why do USA Today, CDC and WHO want the public to believe that there’s absolutely nothing they can do to protect themselves against SARS-CoV-2? Why do they want us to think our immune system is irrelevant when it comes to preventing and/or surviving COVID-19? Could it be because they want you to feel helpless enough to want a vaccine?

Rule 101 of debunking is that you have to present counterevidence. There’s clear evidence showing vitamin C’s usefulness against infectious disease, including sepsis, which is a major cause of death from COVID-19. If you’re going to claim that there’s “no known evidence to suggest vitamin C is effective,” then that means you have to produce studies showing vitamin C is useless against infections and sepsis.

So, why did USA Today not bother digging up those scientific references rather than quoting Quackwatch and directing readers to the CDC and WHO websites, where, again, no actual scientific evidence is cited? Could it be because their shoddy journalists are counting on people to not think critically?

Unfortunately, we’re bound to see more and more of this kind of irrational censoring of valuable health information as mainstream media pushes the WHO/CDC/Bill Gates narrative that our only hope for a return to normalcy is to vaccinate and digitally track, trace and surveil the global population.

In other words, their answer to the COVID-19 pandemic is the rapid rollout of a global totalitarian regime under which you can be placed in house arrest at any moment and be banned from travel, work, education, leisure and social activities simply because you’ve been infected or not infected/have or do not have antibodies/have or have not been vaccinated.

This strategy stands to make drug and tech companies untold billions of dollars, and the drug industry is undoubtedly a key player behind the media messages you see. The drug industry spent roughly $6 billon on drug ads to consumers in 2016,4,5 and drug ads (sometimes disguised as content through the use of something called advertorials) make up a fair share of the advertising dollars that media corporations depend on for their survival. 

USA Today Is Part of Media Monopoly

In November 2019, Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, merged with GateHouse Media, owned by New Media Investment Group.6,7,8 Together, they now form the largest media monopoly in the U.S., with more than 260 dailies under their umbrella.9

The management of this vast news network is done by Fortress Investment Group, a private equity firm, which in turn is owned by Tokyo’s SoftBank.10 According to CNBC,11 SoftBank’s CEO, the Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, also has “a wide network of relationships” in the tech industry and is said to be “one of the technology industry’s most influential investors.”

In 2018, Son funded EarthNow, a project involving 500 satellites equipped with machine learning technology to surveil the entire planet with real-time video. Another funder of this project was Bill Gates.12 (Incidentally, this project sounds like it could find a purpose in Gates’ proposed surveillance plan, and not be relegated to catching illegal fishing and tracking animal migration.)

My point, though, is this: The majority of mainstream media in the U.S. are owned, funded (through advertising) — and therefore easily controlled — by powerful corporate entities and industries, some of which are overseas and may not even have American interests at heart.

Media’s ties to Big Pharma and Big Tech run deep. Is it any wonder then that so often, so many news outlets use the same exact talking points on health, drugs, pesticides, GMOs and 5G, just to name a few? How is it that they’re using the identical language, as if they’re all reading and copying a single script?

Trust in Mainstream Media Is Rapidly Eroding

Fortunately, many are starting to see through the bias. The censorship has gotten so ridiculously blatant, it’s hard to miss. As a result, mainstream media are losing what little credibility they had left. Their machinations have simply become too obvious.

As of September 2019, American’s trust in mass media had dipped to 41%; only 13% trusted the media “a great deal.” 13

March 19, 2020, Publishers Daily reported14 the results from a February 2020 Axios/Ipsos poll15 showing only 51% of American adults trust newspapers to provide them with accurate information about COVID-19 — the same ratio saying they track the pandemic “very closely.”

Only 47% trust mainstream digital publishers to report accurate information about COVID-19.  Still, 85% trust the CDC and 77% trust WHO, both of which have the same conflicts of interest as most mainstream media.16

In the EU, the average net trust in the media as a whole is in the negative — minus 9% — when you include all forms, including radio, television, press, digital publishers and other online sources, including social media.17

Nutrition Is Essential to Protect Against Viral Illnesses

Regardless of what the mainstream media want you to think, many are starting to realize the truth, which is that both vitamin C and D have an enormous amount of evidence showing they provide important immune function benefits, and that your immune function is your front-line defense against all illness, including COVID-19.

As reported in the paper18 “Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect Against Viral Infections,” published April 23, 2020:

“The role nutrition plays in supporting the immune system is well-established. A wealth of mechanistic and clinical data show that vitamins, including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folate; trace elements, including zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, and copper; and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid play important and complementary roles in supporting the immune system.

Inadequate intake and status of these nutrients are widespread, leading to a decrease in resistance to infections and as a consequence an increase in disease burden. Against this background the following conclusions are made:

(1) supplementation with the above micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids is a safe, effective, and low-cost strategy to help support optimal immune function

(2) supplementation above the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but within recommended upper safety limits, for specific nutrients such as vitamins C and D is warranted; and

(3) public health officials are encouraged to include nutritional strategies in their recommendations to improve public health.”

In related news, Finnish researchers have identified specific immune health-related genes that are regulated by vitamin D.19 In vitro tests show vitamin D targets genes that support immune function in response to acute infection, infection in general, and autoimmunity. According to the authors, “15 genes were identified as major mediators of the action of vitamin D in innate and adaptive immunity.”

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Increased COVID-19 Mortality

Irish researchers recently published an editorial20 highlighting the role of vitamin D deficiency in severe COVID-19 infections specifically. According to the authors:

“… the evidence supporting a protective effect of vitamin D against severe COVID‐19 disease is very suggestive, a substantial proportion of the population in the Northern Hemisphere will currently be vitamin D deficient, and supplements, for example, 1,000 international units (25 micrograms) per day are very safe.

It is time for governments to strengthen recommendations for vitamin D intake and supplementation, particularly when under lock‐down.”

You can learn more about this in “Vitamin D Level Is Directly Correlated to COVID-19 Outcome.” Similarly, a May 6, 2020, report21 published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (its prepublication featured in the Daily Mail May 122), found that countries with lower vitamin D levels have higher death rates from COVID-19. According to the authors:23

“The Seneca study showed a mean serum vitamin D level of 26 nmol/L in Spain, 28 nmol/L in Italy and 45 nmol/L in the Nordic countries, in older people. In Switzerland, mean vitamin D level is 23 nmol/L in nursing homes and in Italy 76% of women over 70 years of age have been found to have circulating levels below 30 nmol/L.

These are the countries with high number of cases of COVID-19 and the aging people is the group with the highest risk for morbidity and mortality with SARS-CoV2.”

In the preprint version24 of this paper, the authors concluded: “We believe that we can advise vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection.” In the final version,25 they toned down the recommendation to: “We hypothesize that vitamin D may play a protective role for COVID-19.”

Gannett-owned USA Today is clearly, knowingly, publishing health news aimed at preventing people from effectively protecting themselves against severe COVID-19 infection. So, what’s their excuse for not sticking to scientifically verifiable facts?