Really? Media ran with tragic story of patients denying covid as they died from it

by WorldTribune Staff, November 24, 2020

South Dakota emergency room nurse Jodi Doering in a Nov. 16 CNN interview gave a first-hand account of seeing patients denying they had covid as they lay dying from the virus.

“It wasn’t one particular patient. It’s just a culmination of so many people, and their last, dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening, it’s not real.’ And when they should be spending time FaceTiming their families, they’re filled with anger and hatred, and it just made me really sad,” the nurse told CNN on “New Day” during an interview with Alisyn Camerota, who then asked if the anger and hatred is directed at Doering.

CNN personality Alisyn Camerota interviews Jodi Doering

“I think it’s just a belief that its not real and nursing happens to be on the receiving end of that,” Doering, who is a travel nurse, responded.

CNN’s interview with Doering went viral, with one clip piling up over 5.8 million views on Twitter. Other major media outlets who saw the story fit their narrative ran with it. Clips from the interview were used on “CNN Newsroom” with Brianna Keilar, “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon and it was mentioned on Jake Tapper’s “The Lead.”

As usual with such narratives, the corporate media left the actual reporting to independent media and citizen journalists.

And when the fact-checking was done it revealed that Doering’s story appeared to have been a “massive exaggeration” if not worse.

David Zweig, in a report for Wired, noted: “Are COVID Patients Gasping ‘It Isn’t Real’ As They Die? An ER nurse’s anecdote of deranged denialism went viral. But when the media caught wind of the story, reporters didn’t do their jobs.”

Zweig, who has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among other outlets, contacted other hospitals in the same area of South Dakota in which Doering works, but no one seemed to have the same experience.

Zweig noted: “I called a number of hospitals in the same part of South Dakota to ask emergency room nurses if they’d noticed the same, disturbing phenomenon. At Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital, about 20 minutes from Doering’s hometown of Woonsocket, an ER nurse told me, “I have not had that experience here.” At my request, Kim Rieger, the VP for communications and marketing at Huron Regional Medical Center, one of the four medical facilities where Doering works, spoke with several nurses at Huron to get their reactions to the CNN interview. None said they’d interacted with Covid patients who denied having the disease. “Most patients are grateful, and thankful for our help,” one told her. “I have not experienced this, nor have I been told of this experience, ever,” another said.

The National Review also looked into Doering’s story and could not find any other nurses in the area who witnessed the things she claimed.

RedState’s Scott Hounsell also investigated and found Doering “at the very least, over-embellished a great deal of her story.”

In a follow-up, Hounsell noted: “Now it appears, her story is likely completely untrue — and it only gets weirder from there.”

Hounsell noted that RedState had contacted Huron Regional Medical Center (HRMC) and “was unable to confirm anything about Doering’s employment with the hospital or even if she was assigned to any work on a COVID-19 unit. We were able to confirm that the hospital has had six COVID-19 deaths over the entire pandemic. The probability that Doering was present for any or all of them is quite low.”

For his report, Hounsell contacted two staffing firms and both stated that Doering’s actions, if true, “would have likely earned her not only dismissal from the assigned hospital, but also a permanent ban from being assigned by the staffing firm in the future. Violations of patient privacy are a zero-tolerance issue for many healthcare employers.”

Hounsell concluded: “Doering may very well have witnessed what she claims to have witnessed, but not at the frequency or the magnitude at which she claims she did. At the very least, her actions are unethical, and much more likely at this point, a total and complete fabrication.”

One social media user noted: “Nurse Jodi Doering all over Twitter and MSM talking about covid horror. She works and lives in Sanborn County SD, which has only had 1 death and currently no patients even on a ventilator!”

Blogger Koen Swinkels noted: “When a story is this outrageous yet at the same time perfectly confirms your own biases and prejudices it is wise to stop for a moment and critically examine it. But it appears that very few people did, not even reporters at serious media institutions such as the Washington Post and CNN.”

If they had, the blogger noted, they would have found the following:

“Jodi Doering works at the Huron Regional Medical Center. On the South Dakota Covid dashboard we can see the Covid data for that hospital for November 15, one day after Doering sent her tweet:”

“As you can see, there were no Covid patients on ventilators, only one Covid patient in the ICU, and only six Covid patients in the hospital,” Swinkels noted.

Now remember what Doering tweeted:

In a Nov. 14 tweet, Doering speaks of the covid patients from “the last few days,” indicating she was speaking of recent events.

“This all creates the impression that there have been a large number of Covid patients on ventilators in her hospital, and a fair number of them very recently. Which is clearly not the case,” Swinkels points out.

NewsBusters conducted a study which found that CNN spent 23 minutes and 38 seconds on Doering’s tale over a two-day period.

“Of course, CNN has yet to air an acknowledgment or correction because, when there’s a narrative to push, CNN subscribes to the mantra of if it rings true, it is true,” Curtis Houck wrote for NewsBusters on Nov. 23.

In his report for Wired, Zweig noted that the Doering episode “has some similarities to other weakly sourced accounts of covid denialism in states that vote Republican. In July we heard reports of rampant ‘covid parties.’ One version of this story had college students in Tuscaloosa hosting parties with infected guests, and then betting on who else would catch the virus. Another took the form of a second-hand account from a nurse in San Antonio. A 30-year-old patient was said to have admitted just before he died that he’d gotten sick by going to a Covid party. ‘I thought it was a hoax,’ he allegedly told the nurse, ‘but it’s not.’

“As Wired’s Gilad Edelman reported at the time, none of these accounts held up to further scrutiny — yet each had been picked up from its original source and then amplified by larger publications that added little or no additional reporting. There’s good reason for these stories to be passed along, Edelman wrote. The hospital administrator who first went public with the story of the last-breath covid-party confession is ‘trying desperately to get the American public to take the coronavirus seriously. If she hears a perfect cautionary tale, it isn’t necessarily her responsibility to investigate whether it’s too perfect before passing it along. It is, however, precisely the job of reporters.’ ”

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