Fox News has mentioned the anti-parasite drug ivermectin at least 292 times since December 2020, according to a Media Matters review. The network’s relentless hyping of the drug as a COVID-19 treatment was irresponsible at the time and has aged terribly -- a major study released last month found ivermectin is not effective. But Fox has hidden those results from its viewers, not mentioning that study on the air a single time to date.
Fox hosts were among the loudest voices in a chorus of right-wing and counter-establishment media figures propping up ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. Prime-time host Laura Ingraham, for example, touted the drug as providing “enormous benefit” against the coronavirus, while her colleague Sean Hannity said it was “helping COVID-19 patients all across the country,” and fellow host Will Cain described it as “somewhat of a miracle drug.” The network most recently shilled for the drug on Monday night, when guest Stephen Miller told Tucker Carlson’s viewers that “for two years we were lectured, 'You can’t give people hydroxychloroquine, you can’t give them ivermectin.'”
Ivermectin references peaked on Fox in September, when the drug was mentioned at least 65 times, but it was mentioned on air at least once in every month from December 2020 through February 2022. Fox’s most popular and influential hosts produced the most coverage of ivermectin — The Ingraham Angle featured the most mentions, with 62, Tucker Carlson Tonight had the second-most, with 40, and Hannity had the fourth-most, with 25.
This coverage was always irresponsible. Fox commentators touted ivermectin based on little evidence that it was an effective treatment, and in the face of warnings from American and foreign regulators and the drug’s own manufacturer — even as they rejected vaccines that had much more robust support. Indeed, Fox’s promotion of ivermectin continued even after a major study some people had cited in support of ivermectin’s potential was withdrawn over concerns that it may have relied upon fabricated data.
But a new study released in March hammered home that ivermectin is not an effective COVID-19 treatment. Researchers conducted a clinical trial of nearly 1,400 Brazilians infected with the coronavirus who were at risk of severe disease and found that ivermectin was no more effective than a placebo at preventing hospitalization. Fox’s corporate cousins at The Wall Street Journal first reported the findings on March 18, and the full results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on March 30.
Fox has totally ignored this news. By championing ivermectin, its hosts exposed their viewers to a scam from the right-wing fever swamps – and the virus – and now they refuse to come clean.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the Kinetiq video database and the Nexis database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for the term “ivermectin” from December 1, 2020, through April 4, 2022. We counted each instance of the term as a single mention.