Fact Check This! Facebook & PolitiFact Rewriting History


A few days ago, I posted a link on a local political Facebook page to an article from Breitbart. The article detailed how Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Joe Biden’s erstwhile running mate, had backtracked on her position in regard to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. In late March, Governor Whitmer directed her Department of Health and Human Services to send a letter to all physicians in Michigan effectively threatening disciplinary action if they used the drugs to combat the coronavirus. Only days later the Governor changed her position, and Michigan began to reach out to the federal government seeking supplies of the drugs to use in treating coronavirus cases.

Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have shown promise for some time in treating the coronavirus. They have also been touted by President Trump. As a consequence, every red-blooded Trump hater in the nation has adopted the position that their use is tantamount to witchcraft and must be forbidden. Governor Whitmer was leading the charge on that, until it appears somebody in Michigan called her attention to the fact that the drugs just might be the answer to our prayers and that maybe, just maybe, we ought to put lives ahead of politics. It probably didn’t hurt that the FDA weighed in and approved the drugs for use in combatting the pandemic.



In response to my posting of the Breitbart article – detailing Whitmer’s about-face – Facebook sent the administrator of that page a notice announcing that the article amounted to “false information,” advising that a notice would be posted on the page to that effect and that a link would be provided to a PolitiFact article saying – in effect – that Whitmer had never changed her position and it was all a big misunderstanding. The notice also threatened to reduce the distribution and visibility of posts that spread “false news.”

So, now that “Big Brother” has weighed in and let us all know what we can and cannot think and say on the topic, let’s do something unheard of – let’s look at the facts.

The Facts

On March 24, 2020, the State of Michigan sent a letter to all licensed prescribers and dispensers in the state. That letter was entitled “Reminder of Appropriate Prescribing and Dispensing.” Here is the first, and operative paragraph of that letter in its entirety.

“Dear Licensed Prescribers and Dispensers:
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has received multiple allegations of Michigan physicians inappropriately prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to themselves, family, friends, and/or coworkers without a legitimate medical purpose. Prescribing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine without further proof of efficacy for treating COVID-19 or with the intent to stockpile the drug may create a shortage for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other ailments for which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are proven treatments. Reports of this conduct will be evaluated and may be further investigated for administrative action. Prescribing any kind of prescription must also be associated with medical documentation showing proof of the medical necessity and medical condition for which the patient is being treated. Again, these are drugs that have not been proven scientifically or medically to treat COVID-19.

In short, if you prescribe these drugs for use against COVID-19 in this state be prepared to be investigated and suffer the consequences. Interestingly, at about the same time the Governor was shutting off access to drugs that could save lives she was taking to Twitter to blame the President for not doing enough to save the people of Michigan from the virus.

As noted above, though, hardly had the Governor – and aspiring Vice-Presidential candidate- threatened her medical establishment than the results in the field from the use of chloroquine began to make her position untenable. We don’t yet have the definitive results of a study of the drugs on a broad scale for the treatment of coronavirus, of course, but what we do have is both impressive and heartening. Multiple studies have suggested strongly this widely available, and cheap; medication may be a cure for a rampaging pandemic. In fact, at least one highly respected physician, Dr. Stephen Smith, founder of the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health in East Orange, New Jersey, has called chloroquine a game-changerand added that its use marks the “beginning of the end” of the pandemic.

So, now that Governor Whitmer has been caught on the wrong side of an issue as important as the use of a drug that just might save the human race, something must be done. We must sanitize the record. We must alter the past.

The new narrative has already appeared and begun to be peddled on the web. The Governor was never opposed to the use of chloroquine or any of its derivatives. She was merely concerned about hoarding and stockpiling and acting to ensure that medications got to the people that needed them.

A letter was drafted. Perhaps it was poorly worded. You understand…

Here are the facts Facebook. The Governor of Michigan made an ill-advised, blatantly political decision that put thousands of lives at risk. She is now backpedaling at full speed and trying desperately to rewrite the record. She can lie all she wants. You can abet those lies as best you can.

You can’t bury the truth. “Fact check” this.