Like Many Right-Wing Pundits, Dennis Prager Has Been Consistently Awful With Regard To Covid

I wonder how many people died as a result? If everyone had acted with regard to covid as Dennis Prager acted, we could have had millions of more deaths.

In the Spring of 2020, Dennis had Covid minimalist Michael Fumento on his show five times saying that current concern about Covid was hysterical. Dennis agreed. noted for February 25: "Dennis talks to Michael Fumento, investigative reporter and science writer. What is going on with the coronavirus?… The Left fears everything…" March 2: "Dennis talks to Michael Fumento, investigative reporter and science writer. The topic is the coronavirus. Fumento sees no need to change his original prognosis: this is a media-generated panic…" March 10: "Dennis has a hard time understanding why we are panicking about the coronavirus. Why is it so different than the regular flu? Dennis talks to Michael Fumento, investigative journalist and science writer. The virus is now past peak in both China and S Korea."

January 23, 2020, Fumento published an op/ed in the New York Post titled "Don’t buy the media hype over the new China virus". March 8, he published:

Coronavirus going to hit its peak and start falling sooner than you think

A CNN reporter broadcasts from Wuhan, China, on the recent viral outbreak. There is nobody near who could possibly infect him ­— unless the cameraman has Guinness Book of Records coughs and sneezes. So why does he insist on wearing a blue surgical mask while talking?

It’s called “drama,” which is badly needed, because there appears to be nothing very special about this outbreak of the 2019-nCoV or Wuhan ­virus. It should actually be called the DvV, or Déjà vu Virus, because we have been through these hysterias before. Over and over. Heterosexual AIDS, Ebola repeatedly, the H1N1 swine flu that was actually vastly milder than the regular flu and, especially, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

Once you start debunking mass hysteria over outbreaks, it gets easy, because the same patterns repeat themselves.

The best remedy for all epidemic hysteria is perspective. How is this new outbreak different and thus potentially more dangerous from other diseases we have dealt with in the past or are dealing with now?

Wuhan is repeatedly labeled “deadly” — but so is every other ­virus most people know about. But especially deadly? Nearly 600 cases have been confirmed with at least 17 reported deaths.

Pragertopia show notes for 2020 read: February 27: "The world is panicked over the coronavirus which has killed very few people outside of China. Why aren’t we panicked every year by the common flu?" March 2: "The world is consumed by the coronavirus fears. Are people who fear the world will end in 12 years from carbon emissions more likely to fear the virus than those who are skeptical about man-made global warming?" March 5: "Coronavirus panic has reached a fever pitch, even though you are remarkably more likely to die from the flu." March 6: " What if we reacted this way to the regular flu which kills tens of thousands in the US every year?" March 11: "Israel, Italy and soon other countries are shutting down because of coronavirus fears. Many universities and colleges are now shutting, too… Dennis had two speeches cancelled this week… 1000 coronavirus cases confirmed in the USA. That compares to 30 to 40 million annual flu cases…"

March 12: "Dennis compares the swine flu to the coronavirus. The swine flu was much worse, but the world didn’t shut down. Why are we shutting down now? …Dennis returns to the public health panic of the century." March 13: "The country continues to shut down… Is this the right prescription? Or an over-reaction? Why weren’t we paralyzed during the swine flu in 2009? 60 million got it then. 25K people died." March 17: "There are harmful consequences to shutting down the US economy. Are we allowed to discuss this or is it now forbidden? We don’t know how many people have the virus, so there is no accurate way to measure the death rate… 90 or so people have died in the USA from the coronavirus. Right now, there seems to be no indication of imminent disaster." March 18: "Dennis talks to Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Dennis and Victor remain uneasy with the destruction of individual lives and the general economy over the coronavirus scare. Yes, it’s a serious issue, but what is the price we are paying by shutting down the economy?"

March 3, 2020, Dennis discussed the Corona Virus for the first time in his weekly column:

We Go From Hysteria to Hysteria

We now endure multiple hysterias at once.

The latest, of course, is COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus. In addition to China, where the virus originated, major cities in Italy and Japan are in lockdown mode, and Japan has closed all its schools. In the United States, where, as of this writing, six people — most, if not all, of whom were already ill — have died, the states of Washington (where all six deaths occurred) and Florida and the city of San Francisco have declared states of emergency…

Unless the coronavirus beco

mes a worldwide mass killer, it will be fair to say that the hysteria over coronavirus will cause much more suffering than the virus.

In his column March 17, Prager wrote: "If the government can order society to cease functioning, from restaurants and other businesses to schools, due to a possible health disaster, it is highly likely that a Democratic president and Congress will similarly declare emergency and assert authoritarian rule in order to prevent what they consider the even greater “existential threat” to human life posed by global warming."

Pragertopia show notes for 2020 continue: March 19: "The President announces some good news: a drug therapy that helps those who have the virus… We need to keep perspective. There is no indication this is the Spanish flu of 1918… How can we know what the mortality rate is for the coronavirus when we don’t know how many people have it?… Dennis reiterates that we seem to be making good progress toward a coronavirus treatment. That’s much more important now than a vaccine." March 20: "California and New York are now closed for business. Do the numbers of deaths justify this drastic action? Dennis does not believe so. Neither does the Wall Street Journal." March 23: "Our lives are now dominated by the virus. All of life has cost and benefits. Are we calculating the cost of closing down society? Dennis talks to Aaron Ginn, Silicon Valley technologist. He’s done a deep data dive into virus stats… What price are we willing pay to stop the virus? Isn’t that a fair question?… Why have Italy and Iran been hit so hard? Look to their involvement with China…" March 24: "The President speaks more truth in ten minutes than the NYTimes, CNN et al do in a week… Why are those on the Left much more fearful of the virus than those on the Right? Dennis has theories."

March 25: "An Israeli scientist says Trump is right. This virus will not lead to catastrophic death tolls… The same people who predicted a disaster with the swine flu are the same people predicting disaster for the coronavirus. They were wrong then. Are they wrong now?… Stanford scientists agree with the Israeli scientist re: death toll." March 26: "Sweden has not shut down. So far it’s doing fine… The Imperial College epidemiologist who made dire death predictions changes his mind… Dennis talks to Alex Berenson, former NY Times reporter." March 27: "Dennis has steeped himself in coronavirus research and reports… The Left/Right divide is clear on the corona virus as it is in all issues… Why isn’t everyone who has the virus given hydroxychloroquine? The virus crisis and the shutdown of the economy vindicate the themes of The Happiness Hour. Dennis explains." March 30: "The costs to the world economy and to individuals rises every day… The Left hates the President more than they love the American people… We will get over the coronavirus, but we won’t get over the moral sickness of the Left… Two Dem governors ban the use of hydroxychloroquine in their states… How much will the lonely and the depressed suffer from this shutdown? We will never know…" March 31: "Dennis talks to Thierry Baudet, member of the Dutch parliament and founder of the Forum for Democracy (FvD) party… Is it time for a second or third opinion on whether the cure is worse than the disease?… There is a big price to be paid for social isolation. Who’s thinking about that? Millions are suffering severe economic loss. Who is their enemy? Statistical models or the virus? Why is India in lockdown? The Left loves cities, but cities are where the virus is taking its biggest toll… Should everyone wear a mask?"

What does the evidence say about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine? According to Wikipedia: "Hydroxychloroquine has been studied for an ability to prevent and treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), but clinical trials found it ineffective for this purpose and a possible risk of dangerous side effects."

In his March 31, 2020 column, Prager wrote:

If there is one thing on which you’d think left and right could agree, it would be the proper response to the present coronavirus. After all, COVID-19 doesn’t distinguish between left and right: Conservatives and liberals are just as likely to contract and even die from it.

Yet, it’s amazing how consistently left and right differ on even this issue.

Virtually every opinion piece in The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other mainstream, i.e., left-wing, journal share two characteristics: a sense of foreboding (millions will die) and an unshakeable conviction that to prevent mass death, the world’s economy must be shut down.

Meanwhile, virtually every opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal and on just about every conservative website contains less foreboding and asks more questions about whether the cure may be worse than the disease. To cite some examples:

March 11: Ben Shapiro published a piece titled “Our Fears About Coronavirus Are Overblown.”

March 16: The Hoover Institution published a piece by Richard A. Epstein that’s thesis was: “I believe that the current dire models radically overestimate the ultimate death toll.”

March 16: City Journal published conservative thinker Victor Davis Hanson’s piece that’s thesis was: “Our response could prove as harmful as the virus itself.”

March 17: My column titled “Why the Remedy May Be Worse Than the Disease” appeared on many conservative sites

March 19: The lead Wall Street Journal editorial was titled “Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown.”

March 19: A column titled “Will the Costs of a Great Depression Outweigh the Risks of Coronavirus?” appeared on The Federalist’s website.

March 24: The Wall Street Journal published a column by two Stanford professors of medicine titled “Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say?”

Meanwhile, the liberal and left-wing media published hundreds of articles warning us of millions of deaths if we don’t shut down the American economy.

Or take the example of President Donald Trump’s announcement at a press conference on March 19 that hydroxychloroquine had “shown really good promise” in helping to cure COVID-19.

Virtually every left-wing news medium mocked him for making that claim.

March 21: “AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s Breathless Takes on Drugs for Virus.”

…A particularly egregious example of the left-right divide on the coronavirus response appeared in The Washington Post on March 27. One of its columnists, Max Boot, wrote:

“Radio host Dennis Prager bemoaned our unwillingness to sacrifice lives as we did during World War II, saying ‘that attitude leads to appeasement’ and ‘cowardice.’ The United States lost 418,500 people in World War II … but it would be far worse to lose 2.2 million civilians — the worst-case estimate of the U.S. death toll if we let the novel coronavirus spread unimpeded.”

…hysteria is to the left what oxygen is to biological life. Leftists pride themselves on being rational. But the further left one goes, the more feelings displace reason.

A second reason is hatred of Trump. On the left, damaging Trump is more important than truth and more important than the welfare of the American people. If Trump believes hydroxychloroquine offers hope, let’s debunk its usefulness.

A third reason is leftists are afraid — of life and of death. Fear of life is why they build “safe spaces” on campuses for students who cannot handle a visiting speaker with whom they differ. And they are afraid of death. They undoubtedly find Patrick Henry’s famous cry, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” incomprehensible, if not downright foolish.

Here are more Pragertopia show notes for 2020: April 2: "Dennis has lost some listeners because of his questioning stance on the virus. So be it… We are being ruled by scientists and experts who tell us how we are run society. They tell us what to do. And we do it…" April 3: "We have turned our fate over to experts… Dr. Fauci now says we can return to normal when there are no new cases and no deaths. If he really means it, it will months and months before we can come out of quarantine… The Swedes continue to go their own way. There’s more freedom there than the USA. …should young people have any contact with older people; if we come to distrust models for the virus, should we distrust models for global warming." April 6: "More and more people (and “experts”) are questioning whether we are employing the right strategy, balancing the fight against the virus and saving the economy… The Left is adamant that we shut down everything… Why is there even a left/right divide on the virus?… FDR said all we have to fear is fear itself. If the President said that today, the media would say he was being irresponsible…"

April 7: "We are losing our liberties in this crisis. It may be necessary in the short term. What happens in the long term? What dangerous precedents are being set? The Left hates the President more than they love the American people. The NYTimes has campaigned against the use of hydroxychloroquine even though many doctors have testified that it works. Why is the NYTimes against it? Because President Trump is for it." April 8: "Why is the Left waging war against hydroxychloroquine? Dennis talks to Pastor Rob McCoy. He recently resigned from the Thousand Oaks, CA city council after he refused to cancel his church service." April 10: "The Left doesn’t want the virus to end soon. Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, the architect of ObamaCare, says that we need to stay locked down for 18 months or until a cure is a found… why are we so quick to give up our freedoms; how many people die of flu every year; why do we trust experts." April 13: "Why does Florida have so many fewer deaths than New York? They started their lockdown 10 days after New York. Doctors and scientists have no more wisdom than third basemen… The virus panic has brought out the inner tyrant of many politicians. The first among the worst is Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer… When do we start rebelling against politicians who want to tell us how to live?"

April 14: "How do we balance the deaths from Covid-19 with the damage done to the economy, the child and spousal abuse, the suicides? Is that a permissible debate?… What gives governors and mayors the right to close down states and cities?… When can we all go back to work? When it’s safe? What is safe? The Democratic governors are having a field day acting out their authoritarian impulses. They will tell us what we can do and when?… Dennis talks to Dr. Simone Gold, emergency department physician and lawyer. She’s dealing with corona cases every day. Many of our liberties have been taken away during this virus crisis. Have we let them go too easily? Have we lost our love of liberty? Dennis has thoughts."

So who is show guest Dr. Simone Gold? And how credible is she? According to Wikipedia: "Simone Melissa Gold (née Tizes) is an American physician, attorney, author, and the founder of America's Frontline Doctors, an American right-wing political organization known for spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. She gained notoriety when a video of an America's Frontline Doctors press conference in front of the US Supreme Court Building went viral in July 2020. She is known for speaking out against the COVID-19 vaccine, stating that "[w]e doctors are pro-vaccine, but this is not a vaccine." On January 5, 2021, Gold spoke at a rally in Washington D.C., telling attendees to refuse to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and the next day took part in the 2021 United States Capitol attack. She spoke from the rotunda of the Capitol and was later arrested for her participation in the storming…"

April 14, 2020, Dennis wrote in his weekly column: "Why are governments the world over rendering hundreds of millions of their citizens jobless, impoverishing at least a billion people, endangering the family life of millions (straining marriages, increasing child and spousal abuse, and further postponing marriage among young people), bankrupting vast numbers of business owners and workers living paycheck to paycheck, and increasing suicides?"

Here are more Pragertopia show notes: April 16: "Conservatives are saying it’s time to get back to work; Democrats, Liberals and Leftists are saying we have to make the quarantine even stronger… Glendale, CA tells its citizens that they must wear a mask to walk their dog… When is the push back going to come from free citizens? Weeks ago the idea was that masks did very little good or might be counter-productive; now they’re essential. What changed?… This is time to be proud to be a conservative…" April 17: "Would the entire country shut down if half the country’s death were in Montana or Iowa? This is a New York phenomenon. But that’s where the news media is… The governor of Michigan says that protestors of her draconian shutdown policies are right-wing radicals."

April 20: "The Mayor Los Angeles sets conditions to open up the city that can’t be met. So we open when?… When does “better safe than sorry” not work anymore?… Dennis talks to science writer and investigative reporter, Michael Fumento. The corona virus is following its predicted pattern." April 21: "Cities are using drones to track their citizens’ corona behavior… Oregon has barely been hit by the virus, but it is still locked down… The Left loves power over people…Science is not infallable. When it’s worshipped, it becomes a false god." April 22: "The suffering that will result from this worldwide economic shutdown will be unprecedented. The Left says they care about children. The children will suffer the most. Millions literally will not have food… The governor of Georgia plans to open up his state. He’s being vilified for it."

April 23: "People are dying because they’re not going to the hospital when they need to. They are more afraid of catching the virus than treating their real illness. Dennis reads about a young person in Israel who died making this tragic mistake… The media has spooked the world with their hysterical statements… Dennis talks to Aryeh Leifert, American-born Israel tour guide from Walking Israel Tours. Israel has been in a severe lockdown for a month. Tourism doesn’t exist. We’ve given up our freedoms and endangered the lives of millions to fight this virus. But there have been more deadly viruses than this one and we didn’t shut down for them. Why not?…Dennis talks to Tyson Langhoffer, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom. Church-goers are being prohibited from meeting even in cities where there have been no deaths."

April 27: "Have we made the biggest mistake in human history by shutting down the economy to stop a virus? Dennis talks to Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education and best-selling author. Time to open up the world. Patrick Henry would be seen as a kook now. Give me a liberty or give me death? Are you nuts, Pat? You mean give me security? Right?… More and more Americans who care about freedom are ignoring “stay-at-home” orders — going to beaches, opening their small businesses."

April 28: "Waiting until its safe means waiting until never… We are living through a dress rehearsal for a police state… Many small businesses will close as a result of the corona panic. Tragic… Do you want to live fully or do you want to be safe? Every day you must choose. It is cruel to not allow a loved one to be with a family member or friend who is dying. This is the situation at all nursing homes across the country… Why are religious people less consumed by the coronavirus hysteria than the non-religious? Dennis has his theories." April 29: "Dennis talks to Dr. Rob Steele, a cardiologist in Michigan, one of the Coronavirus hot spots. Based on his clinical experience and research, he thinks it’s time to end the lockdown and get back to work…"

April 30: "A health minister in Finland recognizes that they may have been shut down the country too early. They have had no chance to build up herd immunity. We are giving up our freedoms, one by one… We know who this disease fatally attacks: the old and infirm. This is true across the world… We are not following the science, we are following scientists… Dennis talks to Dr. Daniel Erikson, Emergency Physician in Bakersfield, CA. Co-Owner Accelerated Urgent Care. His video with his business partner and fellow doctor had 5 million views on YouTube before YouTube blocked it for violating “community guidelines.” We are all guinea pigs. Healthy people are being quarantined. We have no way of knowing if this experiment is working."

April 28, 2020, Dennis wrote: "People will argue that a temporary police state has been justified because of the allegedly unique threat to life posed by the new coronavirus. I do not believe the data will bear that out. Regardless, let us at least agree that we are closer to a police state than ever in American history."

May 5, 2020, Prager wrote: "The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History".

April 28, 2020, Dennis said: "The lockdown is the greatest mistake in the history of humanity."

Not all right-wing pundits were as wrong as Dennis Prager on Covid. For example, on April 21, 2020, The Wrap reported:

Counties where viewers of Fox News’ “Hannity” outnumbered “Tucker Carlson Tonight” were associated with a higher number of COVID-19 deaths in the early stages of the pandemic, according to a new study from the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics.

Although the two most-watched cable shows air on the same network, the study’s authors analyzed transcripts from each and concluded that “Carlson warned viewers about the threat posed by the coronavirus from early February, while Hannity originally dismissed the risks associated with the virus before gradually adjusting his position starting late February.”

The study’s authors — Leonardo Bursztyn, Aakaash Rao, Christopher Roth and David Yanagizawa-Drott — wrote in the working paper that they were interested in studying the effects of the two most-watched cable news shows in the U.S. to monitor for an effect on viewer behavior and health outcomes.

The researchers surveyed 1,045 Fox News viewers aged 55 and older in April on their changes in behavior — such as with more hand washing, canceling travel plans and social distancing — in response to the virus. The study found that Hannity’s viewers changed their behaviors five days later than other Fox News viewers, while Carlson’s viewers changed their behaviors three days earlier than other Fox News viewers.

If people turned off Dennis Prager on coronavirus and instead spent five minutes a few times a year with a data driven Steve Sailer essay on the topic, they would have been better served. On March 10, 2020, Sailer devoted his first weekly column to Covid: "Mathematically, as long as R0 is greater than 1, the epidemic spreads. When R0 falls below 1, however, it starts to die out."

March 18, 2020, Sailer wrote that "the pandemic is extremely serious, but the situation is not hopeless. We are at a point where it’s not quite too late to take action."

March 25, 2020, Sailer wrote: "the United States of America in particular, the Anglosphere in general, and the world overall have a very deep bench of talented and trained medical and scientific personnel who can step up and take the initiative even when the official channels get bogged down. The U.S. has invested heavily in genetics and other biomedical sciences in recent decades and is poised to reap some benefits in this crisis. Although we have been lectured incessantly (at least until about a week ago) about the lack of women in computer coding and physics, for the last two generations talented women have tended to flock in large numbers instead to the life sciences, which, at the moment, seems like a very good thing."

April 29, 2020, Sailer wrote:

When faced with a new conundrum with no certain answer, the single most valuable political principle is precisely what many people simply can’t abide at this moment: freedom of speech.

During the novel coronavirus crisis, when nobody has proved infallible, we need, more than ever, an open marketplace of ideas in which opposing strategies are fiercely debated.

…censorship is growing, along with elite enthusiasm for making emergency rules permanent. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Google subsidiary YouTube and the main force in the firing of James Damore, said that YouTube will be stifling:

"Anything that would go against World Health Organisation recommendations would be a violation of our policy."

Of course, the World Health Organization has thus far not distinguished themselves for their wisdom.

November 11, 2020, Steve Sailer wrote:

Consider…how the public announcement of the blockbuster result from the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine test was delayed until after Election Day.

The best coronavirus strategy that any president could come up with has always been to be president when vaccines start rolling out. Thus Trump long claimed that a vaccine would succeed real soon now, while Democrats downplayed that idea and spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about vaccines.

Back on Nov. 1, The New York Times news section gloated:

Welcome to November. For Trump, the October Surprise Never Came.

Trump’s hope that an economic recovery, a Covid vaccine or a Biden scandal could shake up the race faded with the last light of October.

By Shane Goldmacher and Adam Nagourney

President Trump began the fall campaign rooting for, and trying to orchestrate, a last-minute surprise that would vault him ahead of Joseph R. Biden Jr. A coronavirus vaccine….

I’m not easily shockable, but I found it eyebrow-raising to discover that the November Surprise, Monday’s announcement by the Pfizer-BioNTech team that their new vaccine was spectacularly effective (over 90 percent), likely could have been made a week earlier, which would have given Trump a late October Surprise.

… The firms had their labs stop processing cases and just put the samples in cold storage. They stopped the count. They ran out the election clock.

The FDA was aware of this decision. Discussions between the agency and the companies concluded, and testing began this past Wednesday.

Perhaps coincidentally (or perhaps not), last Wednesday was the day after the election. As one cynic suggested: They didn’t choose a sample size for when to report, they chose a date.

So, it appears that Monday’s announcement perhaps could have been made before the election. But the corporations weren’t in the mood to follow their own protocol and Trump’s FDA let them get away with stalling on telling voters and investors what had been achieved.

From a political and financial standpoint, the firms likely made the self-interested right decision to delay. Even giant pharmaceutical companies don’t want to wind up on blacklists for vengeance by Democrats. But from a scientific and ethical perspective, it was highly questionable.

December 16, 2020, Sailer wrote:

It’s only natural to be frightened of getting a needle stuck in your arm loaded with a novel vaccine developed at such a pace that few besides the optimistic President Trump believed it could be rolled out this year.

Likewise, it’s common to be either hypochondriacal about a new infectious disease or dismissive of its dangers. A huge number of Americans assume COVID poses an apocalyptic menace, while others try to loudly reassure themselves that they must be virtually invulnerable.

My view, though, is that it’s time to get the damn pandemic over and done with.

It’s important to note that COVID is a crisis of moderate magnitude, neither “Just the flu, bro” nor the end of the world (as I will demonstrate below). The problem is that it’s been very hard to come up with a measured, moderate response proportionate to the dangers of an infection that spreads exponentially and thus tends to be either growing or shrinking.

As Tyler Cowen has pointed out, it’s very hard to fight coronavirus to a draw. It’s probably beyond our skill set. Instead, at any point in time, the place where you live is either winning over it or losing to it.

Fortunately, with the delivery of the first of several vaccines, we are now finally at the point where victory is in sight, assuming Americans don’t botch the opportunity to put this whole awful experience in our past. But a large enough number of us must choose to win.

The two quite similar vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have proved themselves highly effective.

On October 18, 2021, Dennis said on his show: "I'm broadcasting from my home because I'm not going into the station as I have COVID. I was tested positive last week and I have been steadily improving. At no point was I in danger of hospitalization. I have received monoclonal antibodies, that's Regeneron. I have, of course, for years — a year and a half, not years — been taking hydroxychloroquine from the beginning, with zinc. I've taken z-pack, azithromycin, as the Zelenko protocol would have it. I have taken ivermectin. I have done what a person should do if one is not going to get vaccinated.

"It is infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity and that is what I have hoped for the entire time. Hence, so, I have engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID, which is, indeed, as bizarre as it sounded, what I wanted, in the hope that I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics. That is exactly what has happened. It should have happened to the great majority of Americans.

"The number of deaths in this country owing to COVID is a scandal which one day will be clear to Americans. The opposition of therapeutics on the part of the CDC is owing to the corruption of the belief in the value of vaccine and only vaccine. Whether it is because of all the money that goes into the CDC from the pharmaceutical companies or a simple unquestioning faith in vaccines, or both, only God knows. So, I have walked the walk on this matter and here I am."

According to the FDA on September 3, 2021: "The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19."

According to a November 1, 2021 news report: "Hasidic doctor Vladimir Zelenko [is] an outspoken critic of the COVID-19 vaccine, and gained notoriety for prescribing Ivermectin to his COVID patients."

How effective is azithromycin for Covid? This study released July 16, 2021 found it had no benefit.

On November 9, 2021, Dennis wrote his weekly column on why natural immunity to Covid is better than vaccine immunity. "Nor does the study warn that getting the vaccine may also induce harmful consequences. To its everlasting shame, that is a taboo subject in America’s medical community despite the fact that the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists over 700,000 cases of suspected injury and more than 17,000 otherwise unexpected deaths temporally associated with COVID-19 vaccines."

Anyone can make a report that they had a negative reaction to the Covid vaccine. That's hardly a convincing argument about the dangers of vaccines. And we have no evidence that Covid vaccines have killed anyone. Reuters noted April 2, 2021: "Of the 145 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the United States from Dec. 14, 2020 through March 29, 2021, “VAERS received 2,509 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.” Having reviewed “available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records,” the CDC found “no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths”."

With his love for Bible-based morality, Dennis Prager could have pointed out that social distancing is a tactic endorsed by the Torah. Notes Wikipedia:

Although the term “social distancing” was not introduced until the 21st century,[14] social-distancing measures date back to at least the 5th century BC. The Bible contains one of the earliest known references to the practice in the Book of Leviticus 13:46: “And the leper in whom the plague is… he shall dwell alone; [outside] the camp shall his habitation be.”

So where do public health officials get the right to shut us down? Prager might have learned from Michael Lewis's superb 2021 book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story: "If there is the faintest possibility of a catastrophic disease, you should treat it as being a lot more likely than it seems. If your differential diagnosis leads to a list of ten possibilities, for instance, and the tenth and least likely thing on the list is Ebola, you should treat the patient as if she has Ebola, because the consequences of not doing so can be calamitous."

The prestigious Nature magazine published February 18, 2021: "The average years of life lost per [Covid] death is 16 years."

Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust wrote April 28, 2020 for Scientific American:

Comparing COVID-19 Deaths to Flu Deaths Is like Comparing Apples to Oranges — The former are actual numbers; the latter are inflated statistical estimates

When reports about the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 began circulating earlier this year and questions were being raised about how the illness it causes, COVID-19, compared to the flu, it occurred to me that, in four years of emergency medicine residency and over three and a half years as an attending physician, I had almost never seen anyone die of the flu. I could only remember one tragic pediatric case.

Based on the CDC numbers though, I should have seen many, many more. In 2018, over 46,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. Over 36,500 died in traffic accidents. Nearly 40,000 died from gun violence. I see those deaths all the time. Was I alone in noticing this discrepancy?

I decided to call colleagues around the country who work in other emergency departments and in intensive care units to ask a simple question: how many patients could they remember dying from the flu? Most of the physicians I surveyed couldn’t remember a single one over their careers. Some said they recalled a few. All of them seemed to be having the same light bulb moment I had already experienced: For too long, we have blindly accepted a statistic that does not match our clinical experience.

The 25,000 to 69,000 numbers that Trump cited do not represent counted flu deaths per year; they are estimates that the CDC produces by multiplying the number of flu death counts reported by various coefficients produced through complicated algorithms. These coefficients are based on assumptions of how many cases, hospitalizations, and deaths they believe went unreported. In the last six flu seasons, the CDC’s reported number of actual confirmed flu deaths—that is, counting flu deaths the way we are currently counting deaths from the coronavirus—has ranged from 3,448 to 15,620, which far lower than the numbers commonly repeated by public officials and even public health experts.

Surgeon David Gorski wrote August 31, 2020 about the nonsense that only 6% of Covid deaths are solely from Covid:

On the death certificate form, there is a space for the immediate cause of death and then several lines for underlying causes. In brief, death certificates are filled out by the medical certifier (who can be the physician who had treated the patient before death), who provides his best medical opinion regarding the cause of death. Part I of the death certificate includes the proximal cause of death, or what directly caused the death, and Part II lists conditions that contributed to the death…

For example, if a patient dies of respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which was the result of pneumonia, which was the result of COVID-19, the proximal cause of death was the respiratory failure, but contributing causes were ARDS and COVID-19, with the one farthest up the chain being the underlying cause of death under Part I. If the patient had hypertension or asthma, that would go under Part II.

What is the true Covid death toll? The Economist magazine, using academic estimates that the true Covid death toll is 3.4x the official death toll, as of November 12, 2021, estimates the true worldwide death toll at 17.2 million.

Dennis wrote Nov. 29, 2022

…that question — “What is the price?” — was avoided by virtually every political leader in the world as well as the vast majority of epidemiologists and physicians, journalists and editors, college presidents, deans, professors and K-12 teachers.

They never asked, “What is the price?” with regard to locking down businesses, schools and, in many cases, entire countries.

That is why so many political leaders, teachers, college presidents, doctors, epidemiologists and other scientists turned out to be fools.

The handful of scientists — and, of course, the even smaller number of academics or people in the mainstream media — who questioned the lockdowns were labeled purveyors of “misinformation” and “disinformation,” the terms used by the Left to describe all dissent….

Fools, led by universities — Harvard shut down in early March 2020, when there were 51 confirmed cases COVID-19 in the entire state of Massachusetts — and followed by virtually every teachers union, ruined countless young Americans’ lives.

This happened because teachers unions are led by fools and because virtually every public health authority is a fool. And because the overwhelming majority of American parents put their faith in fools — and thereby injured their own children.

"Every year of my life, except for 2020, I went to another country," said Dennis on his January 9, 2023 Youtube show.

On his December 12, 2022 show with Julie Hartman, Dennis said: "How do they [Julie's peers] decide what is true? By [expert] consensus. A consensus of scientists say that we have to stop all carbon emissions by X year. So they take a vote on what is true. The consensus was that masks had to go on two-year-olds [during Covid]. Now that is regarded as child abuse, which is how I regarded it during the time. I have been right on virtually every issue that I have differed with the majority on in my life."

Julie: "Especially on ivermechtin and hydroxychloroquine."

Dennis: "And lockdowns. I said the greatest international mistake in history. All you need to do is think and read. Science is based on consensus? Truth is based on consensus?"

"All these revelations are coming out about Twitter suppressing conservatives. My favorite insight of [2022] — how do I know who's telling the truth? Whoever is suppressing speech is lying. We [conservatives] don't suppress speech." Holocaust deniers are true evil but I am not for suppressing their free speech. If truth is allowed out, there is no Left. And Twitter proved it."

Julie: "We've lost our ability to think clearly. I had a friend who was going to get vaccinated [against Covid] for the fourth or fifth time and I said to her please do not do this. There's all this evidence coming out that the vaccine causes harmful effects in young people… I sent her all these studies including Naomi Wolf on Substack that your wife Sue sent to me… My friend couldn't see what was really happening. She bought whatever excuse the Danish government is saying. A government isn't going to admit that we forced this vaccine on you citizens and now I feel bad about that it is harmful. "

Dennis: "Does your friend know about all the scientists who are now speaking about myocarditis in young people?"

Julie: "I know about that because of your wife who spends all day investigating this stuff."

April 24, 2023, Dennis said: "People sacrifice their lives to the god of safety. We saw that during Covid. Preferring to have their children meet no other children for a year, two years, not go to school for safety, we're putting masks on two-year-olds on airplanes, getting a vaccine that was never properly tested."

October 3, 2022, Dennis said: "The lockdowns only did harm. They did no good… Will they acknowledge that the vaccines did a lot of harm? They may have done some good."

On his November 14, 2022 Youtube show with Julie Hartman, Dennis said: "Finally, I'm back to cruising with my listeners and viewers after two years of nonsense, lockdowns. We're going to the gems of Eastern Europe. Book today… Four private lectures with me and Allen Estrin. Nightly cocktail receptions, spacious state rooms… chefs table experience, beverages included. Champagne, select wines, beer and nightly specialty cocktails. Unlimited free wifi."

On his November 7, 2022 Youtube show with Julie Hartman, Dennis said: "An article in The Atlantic that just came out, we have to bury the hatchet, and no recriminations over mistakes made during two years of Covid. Like locking kids down for two years. Don't get angry at teachers. Everyone makes well-intentioned mistakes. It was evil what they did and it was done all over the world. Teachers hurt kids without giving a damn about them. They're hypochondriacs. And they're woke. I'm so angry at what they did. I'm so angry at what medicine did — not allowing people to visit their dying relatives because of Covid. In the name of health, the amount of evil that is done in the name of health. More vile things have been done in the name of health than in any other name."

Julie: "I grew up thinking doctors, alongside teachers, were the most morally upstanding people… For a time, I didn't believe that doctors were wreaking that much havoc. I thought, maybe they truly believe the Covid vaccine is effective. Maybe they truly believe that lockdowns are effective. I look around now in our society and think who can I trust?"

Dennis: "My heart breaks for your generation. I trusted every institution when I was growing up."

Julie: "I don't trust any."

Dennis: "You're right not to… The Atlantic says 'we need to forgive everyone for what we did and  said when we were in the dark about Covid.' I wasn't in the dark about Covid. In April 2020, I headlined, tweeted, and wrote a column and broadcast that it is the greatest international mistake in human history. I said that it was vile what was being done to children. I said it was cruelty, sadism not allowing people to be with dying relatives. I wasn't in the dark and I'm not a doctor."

Julie: "What about the Department of Homeland Security working alongside Silicon Valley to suppress "misinformation"?

"What scares me is that so many of my friends totally trust these institutions and don't know how corrupt they are… When they take many doses of the Covid vaccine and something happens to their health, they're not going to be happy."

"One thing that amazes me is how little people know about what is truly going on in this country… I said to a 65-year old corporate lawyer. He was, in some ways, quite well read. He was talking about integrity. I said, do you think that what the Clintons did with the Russiagate scandal is morally upstanding? Are you aware of the Steele dossier? No. He had no idea. Are you aware of the special counsel John Durham investigation that has found that both James Comey and Robert Mueller lied about some very important things. No. Did you know that Mark Zuckerberg gave $450 million to privatize election procedures?"

"They laugh at me."

Dennis: "It's one of my mottos – we know what they don't know."

(Decoding the Gurus notes: "We’ve noticed that gurus tend to act in a manipulative fashion with their followers and potential allies. This often takes the form of excessive flattery, such as intimations that their followers are more perceptive, more morally worthy, and more interested in the pursuit of truth than outsiders… It is necessary that the orthodoxy, the establishment, the mainstream media, and the expert-consensus are always wrong, or at least blinkered and limited, and are generally incapable of grappling with the real issues.")

Julie: "They laugh at me like I was on QAnon… Some of my more peripheral friends have this false notion that I've been radicalized. They truly believe that the things that I just mentioned to you, which are 100% true and shouldn't even be deemed right-wing beliefs because they are facts, they believe those things are conspiracy theories. They believe I have gone on to QAnon, whatever that is. They think I go on these crazy right-wing sites and come up with these conspiracy theories. There are really bad things going on and they think it is just made up. I get the sense that a lot of them want to distance themselves from me because they think I'm nuts."

Dennis: "I got a question from a young person on my Fireside Chat — how do I know what to trust? How do I know what's true? I said, those who wish to censor others are usually lying. If you are telling the truth, you are OK with other people speaking their minds."

That sounds great, but is there strong evidence for this? Many people on the Left want to censor "misinformation" about vaccines. Where is the evidence that they are lying? If you are a scientist who has devoted his life to virology and you believe you are telling the truth about the efficacy Covid vaccines, why would you be unbothered by people without expertise denigrating vaccines to millions of people? Many on the Left want to censor Nazi and ISIS propaganda because they claim it is dangerous. Where is the evidence that they are lying? Many on the Left want to censor racial slurs. Where is the evidence that they are lying? Prager's point sounds profound, but it falls apart upon examination.

October 24, 2022, Dennis said he believes that Covid vaccines for people under 50 do more harm than good.

Feb. 15, 2022, Dennis wrote: "In September 2021, for the 15th consecutive year (except for 2020), I led Jewish High Holiday Services for about 400 people — no masks required, and no vaccination necessary. Other synagogues could have done the same thing — but nearly all rabbis and synagogue boards were too scared and too obedient to do so. And of course, the same holds true for most churches, whether Catholic, Protestant or Mormon. Too scared. And too obedient to irrational dictates."

New York magazine leftist Jonathan Chait writes May 2, 2023:

Conservatives got COVID extremely wrong. Where is the accountability? Where is the course correction? The answer is that they don’t exist, because the conservative movement is incapable of engaging in them…

Donald Trump threatened to fire Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official, for telling reporters in February 2020 that the virus would likely spread to the United States. Trump insisted that month that China was “getting it under control more and more, that the United States had just 15 people [with COVID], and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” He repeated over and over: “Just stay calm. It will go away.” (March 10). “It’s going to go away, hopefully at the end of the month. And, if not, hopefully it will be soon after that.” (March 31). “It is going to go away. It is going away.” (April 3). “I always say, even without it [a vaccine], it goes away.” (June 16). And on and on…

But even highly respectable conservative intellectuals made utterly absurd claims about the pandemic’s likely death toll. Hoover Institute scholar Richard Epstein predicted COVID would kill just 500 Americans, before correcting a small computational error and revising the prediction to 5,000 (still a gross underestimate, as more than a million Americans have perished from COVID-19).

In March 2020, the Journal ran an op-ed arguing that the standard models of the projected COVID death toll were “too high by orders of magnitude,” proposing the actual death toll would be 20,000 or perhaps 40,000. The prominent voodoo economist Kevin Hassett created a model that persuaded White House staff that COVID deaths would drop to zero by mid-May 2020.

The wishful delusion that COVID posed barely any serious health risk produced other delusions. Hydroxychloroquine would cure it! The vaccines were unnecessary or even harmful! These errors were the product of ingrained mental pathologies on the right, which is why a figure like Hassett is now merrily assuring Republicans that defaulting on the national debt would be no big deal.

Far from examining the epistemic bubble that produced these bizarre beliefs, conservatives have coalesced around them. Trump is now running away from Operation Warp Speed, because it constitutes a political liability for him. Ron DeSantis, the Journal’s preferred candidate, has turned the anti-vaccine movement into a powerful wedge against Trump. DeSantis has appeared with and promoted anti-vaxxers and recruited an idiosyncratic vaccine skeptic, Joseph Ladapo, to run his state’s health department. Florida is “affirmatively against” providing the COVID-19 vaccine to children, making it the only state to adopt such a position. Ladapo recently altered a study to exaggerate the risks of the vaccine.

July 12, 2022, Dennis wrote:

You're A Scientist? So What?

Then there was the American medical community’s opposition to therapeutics, dismissing hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (both used with zinc) as frauds despite the testimony of numerous physicians that they saved COVID-19 patients’ lives when used appropriately. State medical boards around the country threatened to revoke the medical license of any physician who prescribed these drugs to treat COVID-19 — despite these drugs being among the safest prescription drugs available.

As early as July 2020, Harvey Risch, M.D., Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, wrote in Newsweek:

“I myself know of two doctors who have saved the lives of hundreds of patients with these medications, but are now fighting state medical boards to save their licenses and reputations. The cases against them are completely without scientific merit.”

As a result of the American medical community’s opposition to therapeutics, Risch wrote, “tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily.”

Doctors throughout America were essentially telling COVID-19 patients, “Go home, get rest, and wait to see if your COVID-19 gets worse. If you can’t breathe, come to the hospital where we can put you on a ventilator.” Ventilators, it quickly became clear, were a virtual death sentence for COVID-19 patients. And then they died alone. reported Aug. 5, 2021:

Yale Doc Backing HCQ Cites Questionable Data — Negative results from randomized trials not even acknowledged

America's Frontline Doctors aren't the only physicians pushing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ); another expert frequently toeing that line is Harvey Risch, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Risch authored a Newsweek editorial on July 23 calling on doctors to immediately start treating patients with HCQ.

Risch points readers to his review — he is the only author — published in late May in the American Journal of Epidemiology that cites five studies in support of HCQ, particularly when used early in the course of COVID-19.

None are randomized controlled trials. One is the heavily publicized and now discredited French study by Didier Raoult, MD, and colleagues in March that sparked initial hopes for HCQ. Two have no corresponding data or publications.

Risch asserts his own re-analysis of the French study suggests a stronger benefit for HCQ plus azithromycin when started earlier in the illness compared with standard of care. But researchers have called the original data involving only 42 patients "uninterpretable."

A second study from Raoult's group published in May involved 973 patients all of whom got HCQ; there was no randomization or control.

For his third study, Risch links to a two-page Google document by Vladimir Zelenko, MD, a doctor who cares for a large Orthodox Jewish population in Monsey, New York. Zelenko has made headlines for managing to catch the ear of FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, to request help with access to HCQ for an outpatient trial.

Risch cites data from Zelenko on 405 outpatients who were treated with HCQ, azithromycin, and zinc, of whom six were hospitalized and two died. There was no control group, and the Google document doesn't provide more detail on the data.

The fourth citation is a controlled, but not randomized, study from Brazil with a total of 636 patients; 412 were treated with HCQ and azithromycin, with 224 who declined treatment serving as controls. Fewer of those on the drugs had to be hospitalized, but with no randomization, the treatment's role is uncertain.

Finally, Risch cites a small ongoing study in a long-term care facility on Long Island in New York that gave HCQ plus doxycycline to about 200 high-risk COVID patients, again with no control group. Only nine died, suggesting a treatment benefit, but Risch gave no source for the data nor other details.

Risch published a follow-up to that paper — again in the American Journal of Epidemiology, on July 20, and again as sole author — that outlined an additional seven studies that he said support HCQ early in disease. None appear to be large randomized controlled trials, though some have comparator groups. Some lack any citation at all. One study is additional data from Zelenko, on another 400 patients, but again unpublished and without full data.

In the Newsweek editorial and in the later journal submission, both of which were published following three highly publicized randomized trials that reported no benefit from HCQ, Risch did not address or even acknowledge them.

Just this week, about two dozen of Risch's Yale colleagues published an open letter on Medium, acknowledging his renown in cancer epidemiology but criticizing his "ardent advocacy" for HCQ. The letter notes that Risch is "not an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and he has not been swayed by the body of scientific evidence from rigorously conducted clinical trials which refute the plausibility of his belief and arguments."

From Rolling Stone, Nov. 23, 2021:

Is Dennis Prager Conservative Media’s Biggest Covid Jackass?

It's a lofty title, but his recent argument that the unvaccinated are the biggest American pariahs since slavery puts him in the running.

…Prager claimed last year that the disease is “not a killer” while continually drawing and erasing and re-drawing the line for when the U.S. should take real action to combat it. He even called the lockdown “the greatest mistake in the history of humanity.” He’s since touted a number of unproven therapeutics, including the “Zelenko Protocol,” a treatment plan developed by conspiracy theorist doctor and Jan. 6 rally attendee Vladimir Zelenko.

Prager is unvaccinated, of course, and during a recent even for Awaken Church felt compelled to play a game of Who’s the Biggest Pariah between the unvaccinated and “the gays … during the AIDS crisis.” It isn’t hard to guess who Prager thinks is more oppressed. “Were people with AIDS banned from travel? Were they banned from restaurants? Were they fired from their jobs? Were they deprived of a way of feeding their family?” he asked, neglecting to mention that anyone who is unvaccinated could have retained these things if they’d elected to take a live-saving shot, whereas people with AIDS were shamed and left to die in huge numbers by people who didn’t care about the disease because they didn’t care about the population it was killing.

Why stop with AIDS, though? Prager is well-versed in the history of humanity, remember?

“The unvaccinated are the most hated group since slavery,” he added.

It’s worth noting here that Prager comparing his oppression to that of the slaves was in service of his point about how the left “has a monopoly on victimhood.” 

…Some of Prager’s conservative radio brethren learned this the hard way. Five such hosts, at least who bashed the vaccine have died from complications stemming from Covid.  Nashville radio host Phil Valentine posted a statement in July saying that he “regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine'” before dying less than a month later

“I have engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting covid,” the 73-year-old said on his radio show. “Which is — indeed, as bizarre as it sounded — what I wanted, in the hope I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics.”

…Who isn’t lying to you? Prager, of course. He knows what he’s talking about because he’s done “a lot of homework” on Covid — unlike the scientific and medical communities, which want to kill you … or something … for some reason.

Time magazine, May 15, 2023:

'What Price Was My Father's Life Worth?' Right-Wing Doctors Are Still Peddling Dubious COVID Drugs

Moore’s father started watching online videos of doctors in white coats who claimed that alternative COVID treatments were being used effectively in India. He told his skeptical children that the studies they cited as evidence made sense. Soon after, he refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Instead, he paid $90 for a telemedicine appointment with America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLD), a right-wing anti-vaccine group that claimed the U.S. government was suppressing effective treatments, hospitals were killing COVID patients, and vaccines for the virus caused cancer. Moore’s father told his wife he trusted their credentials; President Donald Trump had praised the group as “very respected doctors.” A few days after the consultation, ivermectin and antibiotic pills arrived on his doorstep from a pharmacy in Alabama.

When Moore’s father contracted COVID in Dec. 2021, he didn’t initially go to the hospital as his symptoms worsened. He believed so strongly that ivermectin would cure the virus that he refused to seek medical help until it was too late. In his final days, Moore could only watch through the glass as her dad battled delirium, trying to tear off his oxygen mask in a panic. “The worst patients we’ve seen are the ones that delayed treatment because they were self-medicating through ivermectin,” Moore says a nurse told her. “You wouldn’t believe how many people we’ve treated who have done this.” When Moore asked if any of those patients left the hospital, the nurses shook their heads no.

The extent of what Moore calls her dad’s “death by deception” only became clear after he died. In his office, she found emails and documents from AFLD outlining their “COVID protocol”…

Dr. Simone Gold, a former emergency room physician who founded AFLD, has opened a new telemedicine practice in Florida, allegedly using millions raised by AFLD during the pandemic as startup capital. Other anti-vaccine groups have continued to capitalize on their online following by charging hundreds of dollars for ivermectin consultations, which they are now promoting as a cure for non-COVID illnesses.

…Jeremy’s immediate cause of death was “sudden death in the setting of therapeutic use of hydroxychloroquine”…

The previous summer, Jelena discovered, Jeremy had started following AFLD online after listening to podcasts that promoted conspiracies about COVID-19. At the time, the group was producing slick videos on social media, falsely claiming that U.S. health agencies were withholding life-saving treatments, and that doctors refusing to prescribe them were like “good Germans who allow the Nazis to kill the Jews.” Jeremy, who worked as an industrial sandblaster, became convinced that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were the only effective treatments for the virus.

Oct. 5, 2020, Dennis said: "I take zinc every day and I take hydroxychloroquine every week. The fact that the people feel intimidated is only because we have communists running medicine, just like we have running everything else. I never used this term before. I can't — You prefer leftists? I'll use leftists. They shut you up. Free speech has never existed in anything that the left controls. Never. Whether it's the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe under communism, or the universities today in America."

Aug. 24, 2021, Dennis said: "Why should doctors be any better than lawyers, or professors, or any other group that has disgraced itself in American life? There's no reason. Doctors have the same degree of wisdom as gender studies professors. The issue isn't medical knowledge. The issue is wisdom and courage. There are plenty of doctors who have it. Read about The Great Barrington Declaration….Your doctor knows nothing about COVID, nothing. All they know is how the virus works, that's all they know. It is an amazing thing that listening to this show, of a non-doctor, you have learned more about COVID — more about masks — than your doctor probably knows. Not only is it not a boast, it is totally meant to be an attack on the medical profession. I should not know 10 times more than your doctor about all of the issues with therapeutics. And if your doctor thinks ivermectin is dangerous, change your doctor. And I mean it. Might be a nice guy — go golfing with him, or her — but check out another doctor."

Sep. 29, 2021, Dennis said: "Many doctors have killed patients because of their ignorance, obstinance, and arrogance. It is not odd that the Talmud — the second holiest work in Judaism — stated 2,000 years ago that the best doctors go to hell. Doctors, even when they could do nothing 2,000 years ago, were known for their arrogance. There are some wonderful doctors in America — some, just for the record. Never said this in my life, my eyes have been opened in the darkness of the last two years. And they have been dark. Why haven't all Americans' eyes been opened? Like to teachers, and teachers unions, and colleges. Every student going back to college has to have a vaccine? Despite the fact that their age group is virtually untouched by this — untouched, I mean no fatalities. In fact, the more young people that get COVID the better it is for them and society, they have natural immunity. But your college doesn't accept natural immunity."

Jan. 10, 2022, Dennis said: "Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whom I had on the show with the publication of his book on Dr. Fauci, has gone from being regarded as a kook to being regarded as a very serious, very courageous man. That's very big. In a sense, the left has lost. They've lost half this country that believed them on these matters just two years ago. "

Epistemic Sabotage

People like Dennis Prager, in the words of Decoding The Gurus, "produce ersatz wisdom: a corrupt epistemics that creates the appearance of useful knowledge, but has none of the substance. …the guru is highly motivated to undertake epistemic sabotage; to disparage authoritative and institutional sources of knowledge."

When I argue that someone like Dennis Prager engages in epistemic corruption, I claim that he manipulates knowledge for his personal, professional and monetary gain, and by so doing, he pollutes discourse. 

Dennis Prager's March 7, 2023 column is a classic example of his habit of epistemic sabotage. The innumerate pundit normally disdains academic studies, but because he found one that he thought supported his point of view, he embraced it as a truth bomb against the Left without regard to what it actually said. To push his personal and ideological agenda, he treated truth like a used tampon. 

Why the Left Is Pro-Mask

The world’s most trusted evaluator of medical studies, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, has just released as close to a conclusive report on the effectiveness of masks against respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 as we are likely to have for the foreseeable future. The report assessed data from 78 different studies, including 11 new randomized controlled trials involving 610,872 participants.

In the words of one of the authors, Dr. Tom Jefferson of Oxford University, Cochrane concluded, “There is just no evidence that they (masks) make any difference. Full stop.”

Among the reasons for that assessment was Cochrane’s conclusion that states and countries with mask mandates fared no better than states and countries without.

Moreover, Dr. Jefferson’s conclusions were not limited to cloth and surgical masks. Regarding N95 masks, Jefferson said, “Makes no difference — none of it.”

As for the early COVID-19 studies that policymakers cited to justify mandates for mask-wearing, Jefferson said: “They were convinced by nonrandomized studies, flawed observational studies.”

Compare Prager's column with the essay of sociologist Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times March 10, 2023:

Here’s Why the Science Is Clear That Masks Work

“Many commentators have claimed that a recently updated Cochrane review shows that ‘masks don’t work,’ which is an inaccurate and misleading interpretation,” Karla Soares-Weiser, the editor in chief of the Cochrane Library, said in a statement.

“The review examined whether interventions to promote mask wearing help to slow the spread of respiratory viruses,” Soares-Weiser said, adding, “Given the limitations in the primary evidence, the review is not able to address the question of whether mask wearing itself reduces people’s risk of contracting or spreading respiratory viruses.”

She said that “this wording was open to misinterpretation, for which we apologize,” and that Cochrane would revise the summary.

Soares-Weiser also said, though, that one of the lead authors of the review even more seriously misinterpreted its finding on masks by saying in an interview that it proved “there is just no evidence that they make any difference.” In fact, Soares-Weiser said, “that statement is not an accurate representation of what the review found.”

While the review assessed 78 studies, only 10 of those focused on what happens when people wear masks versus when they don’t, and a further five looked at how effective different types of masks were at blocking transmission, usually for health care workers. The remainder involved other measures aimed at lowering transmission, like hand washing or disinfection, while a few studies also considered masks in combination with other measures. Of those 10 studies that looked at masking, the two done since the start of the Covid pandemic both found that masks helped.

The calculations the review used to reach a conclusion were dominated by prepandemic studies that were not very informative about how well masks blocked the transmission of respiratory viruses…

Soares-Weiser told me the review should be seen as a call for more data, and said she worried that misinterpretations of it could undermine preparedness for future outbreaks…

Lab studies, many of which were done during the pandemic, show that masks, particularly N95 respirators, can block viral particles. Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist who has long studied airborne viral transmission, told me even cloth masks that fit well and use appropriate materials can help…

David Lazer, a political scientist at Northeastern University, calculated that before vaccines were available, U.S. states without mask mandates had 30 percent higher Covid death rates than those with mandates…

So the evidence is relatively straightforward: Consistently wearing a mask, preferably a high-quality, well-fitting one, provides protection against the coronavirus…

Others have come to think mandates represent illogical rules. To be sure, we did have many illogical rules: mandating masks outdoors and even at beaches, or wearing them to enter a restaurant but not at the table, or requiring children as young as 2 to mask in day care but not during nap time (presumably, the virus also took a nap). Some mask proponents and public health authorities have also used weak studies to make overblown or imprecise claims about masks’ effectiveness…

It’s no surprise that Jefferson says he has no faith in masks’ ability to stop the spread of Covid.

In that interview, he said there is no basis to say the coronavirus is spread by airborne transmission — despite the fact that major public health agencies have long said otherwise. He has long doubted well-accepted claims about the virus. In an article he co-wrote in April 2020, Jefferson questioned whether the Covid outbreak was a pandemic at all, rather than just a long respiratory illness season. At that point, New York City schools had been closed for a month and Covid had killed thousands of New Yorkers. When New York was preparing “M*A*S*H”-like mobile hospitals in Central Park, he said there was no point in mitigations to slow the spread.

In an editorial accompanying a 2020 version of the review — the review is in its sixth update since 2006 — Soares-Weiser noted a lack of “robust, high-quality evidence for any behavioral measure or policy” and said that “when protecting the public from harm is the objective, public health officials must act in a precautionary manner to take action even when evidence is uncertain (or not of the highest quality).”

Which of the two authors above is more committed to truth? Prager or Tufekci? Due to his agenda, Prager took what he wanted out of the study, and then moved on, like a man dispensing with a whore. 

Prager reminds me of the protagonist of the 1970 Paul Simon song The Boxer. "Still a man hears what he wants to hear/And disregards the rest"

In his commentary on the Book of Genesis, Dennis wrote:

…whether the lie is small or large, infrequent or frequent, told by an individual or told by masses of people—every person must ask himself whenever making any claim: Am I telling the truth? There is no more important question we can ask ourselves. Those who begin by justifying small lies—even just exaggerations—will, as the University College London study showed, end up telling bigger lies, and more and more often… Given the overwhelming importance of truth, it is no wonder the Talmud states, “God’s signature is truth.”

Justin Peters wrote for Slate Nov. 8, 2021:

Why Are Right-Wing Radio Hosts Still Being Such Jerks About COVID?

On Monday, Nov. 1, Dennis Prager began his popular radio show with a very strange boast. “I rarely say, ‘I did the following.’ It’s not my style,” the 73-year-old conservative host and YouTube culture war impresario said. “But I believe I am responsible for the CDC announcing the following: that if you have natural immunity you are less immune than if you have the vaccine.”

Prager was referring to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, released on Friday, Oct. 29, which found, basically, that the immunity conferred by full vaccination with an mRNA COVID vaccine is more effective than the “natural immunity” gained by having had and recovered from COVID-19. Good news, right? Ha! If you welcomed the CDC’s findings, you are almost certainly not in Dennis Prager’s target demographic.

The CDC’s conclusions are broadly in line with the scientific consensus on the efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. And they directly contradict Prager’s contention, voiced over and again on his long-running, nationally syndicated show, that natural immunity to COVID-19 is superior to vaccinated immunity. To Prager, the CDC’s latest findings did not mean that he, Prager, was wrong—they meant that the liberal, corrupt health agency had ginned up a bogus study in order to cloud the debate and specifically silence his voice.

“All I did was open up to you, my audience,” Prager said, referring to his advocacy for natural immunity. “I had no idea that I would shake up the nest to the extent that I did.” Assuring his audience that he had done “a lot of homework on COVID,” and highlighting an Israeli study from August (even though it has not yet been peer reviewed and had certain limitations that ought to make any prudent person think twice before citing it as definitive), Prager weaved a fantastical counternarrative as a way of underscoring his central point: that the CDC study in question was a dirty, rotten lie. “To some of you, it is stunning to say the CDC is lying,” said Prager. “To me, it is like saying the sun shines brightly when there are no clouds.”

Huh? Why would the CDC rush out a false study—co-authored by more than 50 people—just to neutralize a random right-wing radio host? Why would Prager presume calumny and conspiracy in the agency’s motives? These fair questions naturally beget another fair question: Why are so many right-wing talk show hosts still being such dicks about COVID measures?

…“I took ivermectin for the last year and a half as a prophylactic, believing, and I put my actions where my mouth was, believing that ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine and zinc, et cetera, over the course of time, that it would prevent COVID from being seriously injurious to me,” Prager said on that Nov. 1 show, railing against those fools in the media who dared to characterize ivermectin as a mere “horse dewormer.” As per the irrationalist imperative to willfully confuse correlation with causation, the host presented his victorious bout with COVID as clear evidence both of the merits of Dr. Prager’s Curative Elixirs and of the superfluity of the various vaccines. By ostensibly proving that his ivermectin use was what prevented him from dying from COVID, Prager hoped to demonstrate that he was once again privy to the “real truth” that the liberal establishment is determined to suppress.

For decades now, the most successful conservative broadcast media sources have sought to isolate their audiences by constantly sowing distrust of any news outlet or official entity that exists outside of the hard right. The unifying theme is the notion that there are no depths to which the deep state, liberal media, and elitist professoriate will not stoop in order to advance their godless, anti-American, and culturally transgressive agendas.

So for committed Pragerheads, it is perfectly rational to believe—even as 750,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19—that the media is still suppressing the real truth about ivermectin and that the CDC is basically SPECTRE, because right-wing media has literally spent decades convincing its audience that politics is as conspiratorial and simplistic as a James Bond movie. “It’s impossible, virtually impossible, to live in a right-wing bubble,” Prager said on his program on Wednesday, in a statement that is so un-self-aware as to be almost entirely self-aware. Prager surely understands how right-wing media works, even as he also surely understands that he can never, ever publicly admit it.

This cynical strategy, enervating enough in normal times, is especially frustrating in the midst of an ongoing public health crisis in which lots and lots of people are still dying in part thanks to the endemic misinformation being spread by dummies on the radio. Actually, dummies might not be the right word here. No matter what you might think of their politics, Prager and his nationally prominent peers are not stupid. You can tell this is true because they are so adept at dancing right up to the lies-and-lunacy line while almost never crossing it. The evening opinion hosts on Fox News, for example, rarely tell outright lies; instead, they draw false equivalencies, or cherry-pick outlying details and use them to inaccurately characterize the whole, or offer misleading narratives that can be explained away as matters of opinion.

Even Prager is not explicitly anti-vaccine. He does not say that the vaccines don’t work, or that they are actively harmful to those who take them. Instead, he disparages them via a boatload of logical fallacies that he presents as plain common sense. “I have never once told any of you or anyone not to take the vaccine; it is not my province to tell you what to do. But it is my province to tell you the truth, and the truth is that natural immunity is stronger,” said Prager on Nov. 1. “Alex Berenson wrote about this. He’s the guy who was with the New York Times until he started telling the truth.”

As always with right-wing anti–virtue signaling, deflection is the point here. Prager and his peers’ goal writ large is to get their audiences so hot and bothered about federal government overreach and the scurrilous rascals in the elitist media that those audiences do not stop to think critically about what these hosts are actually selling. When Prager threw his show to commercial break, his announcer reported that The Dennis Prager Show was broadcasting “live from the Relief Factor Pain-Free Studio.” The ad gave away the game.

As historian Rick Perlstein observed in his seminal Baffler essay “The Long Con,” and as anyone can observe by watching or listening to more than 20 minutes of conservative broadcast content, right-wing media is and has long been underwritten by billions of dollars of advertising for dubious curatives. While lots of reputable news sources also have some questionable advertisers, the practice is particularly pervasive on the right…

“The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place,” wrote Perlstein. “One weird trick”–style remedies, in a very real sense, pay the salaries of hosts such as Prager; these hosts are incentivized to tout them just as their audiences are conditioned to trust them. The vaccines threaten the framework of burnished shit that supports and sustains these sorts of programs…

On Monday, Prager led off his show by blasting the city of Los Angeles for a new ordinance that would require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test in order to dine inside a restaurant, get a haircut, or engage in certain other indoor activities. Prager warned of “the communist hell that all communists create, and will in the United States if allowed,” and bemoaned “the love of power and the hypochondriacal fear, the maniacal fear that pervades the left about [COVID] and global warming.” Then, he threw the show to a commercial for Relief Factor, in which he spoke glowingly about the supplement’s “100 percent drug free ingredients, each helping your body deal with inflammation.”

…the layout of on the day it featured an article headlined “Ideas Will Drive Conservatives’ Revival.” Two inches beneath that bold pronouncement, a box headed “Health News” included the headlines “Reverse Crippling Arthritis in 2 Days,” “Clear Clogged Arteries Safely & Easily—without drugs, without surgery, and without a radical diet,” and “High Blood Pressure Cured in 3 Minutes . . . Drop Measurement 60 Points.” It would be interesting, that is, to ask Coulter about the reflex of lying that’s now sutured into the modern conservative movement’s DNA—and to get her candid assessment of why conservative leaders treat their constituents like suckers.

When Prager came back, he was at it again about natural immunity and the CDC—“who I believe are professional liars,” he clarified. By sowing doubt over the vaccines and crying foul over mandates, Prager and his peers are running through the tribal script of right-wing infotainment, otherizing every idea and institution that could plausibly be considered “liberal.” But in a very real sense, they just don’t want the liberals’ miracle drugs, because they already have plenty of their own.

In 2012, Rick Perlstein wrote:

The Long Con – Mail-order conservatism

In 2007, I signed on to the email lists of several influential magazines on the right, among them Townhall, which operates under the auspices of evangelical Stuart Epperson’s Salem Communications; Newsmax, the organ more responsible than any other for drumming up the hysteria that culminated in the impeachment of Bill Clinton; and Human Events, one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite publications. The exercise turned out to be far more revealing than I expected. Via the battery of promotional appeals that overran my email inbox, I mainlined a right-wing id that was invisible to readers who encounter conservative opinion at face value…. I learned of the “23-Cent Heart Miracle,” the one “Washington, the medical industry, and drug companies REFUSE to tell you about.” (Why would they? They’d just be leaving money on the table: “I was scheduled for open heart surgery when I read about your product,” read one of the testimonials. “I started taking it and now six months have passed and I haven’t had open-heart surgery.”) Then came news of the oilfield in the placenta…

These are bedtime stories, meant for childlike minds. Or, more to the point, they are in the business of producing childlike minds. Conjuring up the most garishly insatiable monsters precisely in order to banish them from underneath the bed, they aim to put the target to sleep.

Dishonesty is demanded by the alarmist fundraising appeal because the real world doesn’t work anything like this. The distance from observable reality is rhetorically required; indeed, that you haven’t quite seen anything resembling any of this in your everyday life is a kind of evidence all by itself. It just goes to show how diabolical the enemy has become. He is unseen; but the redeemer, the hero who tells you the tale, can see the innermost details of the most baleful conspiracies. Trust him. Send him your money. Surrender your will—and the monster shall be banished for good.

This method highlights the fundamental workings of all grassroots conservative political appeals, be they spurious claims of Barack Obama’s Islamic devotion, the supposed explosion of taxpayer-supported welfare fraud, or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

And, in an intersection that is utterly crucial, this same theology of fear is how a certain sort of commercial appeal—a snake-oil-selling one—works as well. This is where the retail political lying practiced by Romney links up with the universe in which 23-cent miracle cures exist (absent the hero’s intervention) just out of reach, thanks to the conspiracy of some powerful cabal—a cabal that, wouldn’t you know it in these late-model hustles, perfectly resembles the ur-villain of the conservative mind: liberals.

In this respect, it’s not really useful, or possible, to specify a break point where the money game ends and the ideological one begins. They are two facets of the same coin—where the con selling 23-cent miracle cures for heart disease inches inexorably into the one selling miniscule marginal tax rates as the miracle cure for the nation itself. The proof is in the pitches—the come-ons in which the ideological and the transactional share the exact same vocabulary, moral claims, and cast of heroes and villains.

…Lying is an initiation into the conservative elite. In this respect, as in so many others, it’s like multilayer marketing: the ones at the top reap the reward—and then they preen, pleased with themselves for mastering the game. Closing the sale, after all, is mainly a question of riding out the lie: showing that you have the skill and the stones to just brazen it out, and the savvy to ratchet up the stakes higher and higher. Sneering at, or ignoring, your earnest high-minded mandarin gatekeepers—“we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” as one Romney aide put it—is another part of closing the deal.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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