Devil in the details: Media jumps to blame Trump for death of man who self-medicated with FISH TANK CLEANER containing chloroquine
An Arizona man has died after consuming a substance used to clean aquariums – but is also found in a drug the US president said could treat Covid-19 – prompting the US media to hop aboard the Trump blame train, details be damned.
The Phoenix-area man and his wife – who survived – ingested a form of chloroquine used as a fish tank cleaner on Monday, reportedly after hearing President Trump mention the chemical on TV. Though the substance is similar to one used in an anti-malaria drug touted as a possible treatment for the coronavirus, the aquarium additive comes in a different form and is highly toxic to humans. But that hasn’t stopped a spate of media outlets from casting blame on the president, insisting he encouraged the couple to guzzle down a lethal dose of a dangerous drug.
From NBC, to the Hill – which falsely claimed the man had taken a “malaria medication” – to ABC and beyond, much of the US press corps rushed to place the tragedy squarely on Trump’s shoulders. Netizens soon pointed out the problem with that framing, however, shredding the news agencies for running with a “dishonest” narrative.
Come on ABC. These crazy people ingested fish tank cleaner because it had chloroquine in it. And yet you try to blame their stupidity on Trump.......Geez. https://t.co/k0QEFmE6hd— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) March 24, 2020
Dishonest reporting. Man died from taking fish tank cleaner not malaria medication. Chloroquine is not the same as chloroquine phosphate. https://t.co/IRw17B9lI6— Dark2Light (@ExposingNimrod) March 24, 2020
While the president did suggest the anti-malarial had “very encouraging early results” in treating Covid-19, he noted it would still have to undergo clinical trials. At no point did he recommend anyone self-administer the drug outside the care of a doctor, and certainly never called for the consumption of any form of fish tank cleaner, as many pointed out on social media.
“BREAKING FROM @NBCNews! Do NOT ingest FISH TANK CLEANER,”wrote former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn.
This is like me saying that wine may have some salutary health effects, so you go home and down three bottles of rubbing alcohol. That one is on you.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 24, 2020
• Trump never said to administer medication yourself.• This couple ingested fish tank cleaner because they saw the ingredients contained the compound chloroquine.• This is not Trump’s fault. https://t.co/T5Bn8Hqaic— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) March 24, 2020
“They ate aquarium cleaner chemicals. Aquarium cleaner,”said another netizen. “Sad, but Trump isn’t responsible for people’s stupid actions.”
George Conway is telling people to take advice from a woman who allegedly decided to self-medicate, without talking to a doctor, by consuming fish tank cleanerAnd no, Trump never said it was safe for people to take fish tank cleaner https://t.co/sMjXAVChtL— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 24, 2020
The Arizona man is not the first to go wrong in attempting to self-medicate with the substance, with a number of reports out of Nigeria stating that hospitals had seen a series of chloroquine overdoses following President Trump’s first mention that it could be used to combat Covid-19.
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