Believe It: A Top Old School Journalist Stands Up for Ivermectin and Free Speech

Matt Walsh, a 45-year American newspaper editor, reminds his audience of 425,000 that science and journalism save lives with humility and honest debate.

From a onetime Ringling Circus warehouse in downtown Sarasota, former Miami Herald editor and Forbes magazine writer Matt Walsh directs a dozen family-owned, award-winning newspapers in Florida.

“Demand Surges for Deworming Drug for Covid,” The New York Times August 30 headline began with a deception before the graceful, barely discernible leap to a falsehood, “Despite Scant Evidence it Works.”

It was just another day in the most misleading, murderous coverage of a global issue in modern times, the attempted assassination of poor little ivermectin. Little Ivy, smaller and safer than aspirin and sometimes portrayed as a lovable little blue bird by its worldwide supporters, is the remarkably safe, affordable, FDA-approved, generic, Nobel-Prize winning drug known to doctors as one of the great “wonder drugs” in human history, rivaling penicillin, until it made the mistake of killing both COVID and big pharma profits like nothing known to science . Ivermectin made the critical mistake of saving hundreds of thousands of lives from COVID globally, documented by data scientists, health ministries, and ICU physicians around the world, with doses as common and cheap as the antibiotic that heals the kids’ knee scrapes: 10 cents a dose in India and a buck or two in upstate New York.

One can see that something had to be done. But even by the Times’ standard, eighteen deceptions or falsehoods in twenty-two paragraphs seems excessive, like hanging, then disemboweling, beheading, and quartering, which hasn’t been deemed necessary to complete an execution since the 14th Century.

What’s so frightening about little ivermectin that The New York Times must daily drive stakes through its heart? And start again the next day with the garlic and the spike and hammer because the little pill keeps jumping from the casket, whispering its inconvenient, unstoppable truths?

“…A drug typically used to treat parasitic worms,” the Times lead paragraph states (except better known in human medicine as eradicating elephantiasis and river blindness in Africa in one of the great humanitarian achievements in medical history) “…that has repeatedly failed in clinical trials to help people infected with the coronavirus” (except in the 58 randomized and observational controlled trials of 10,200 people showing it strongly reduces transmission, time to recovery, hospitalization, and death). “The only functional strategy we have for getting control of Covid-19 is vaccination,” Dr. Irwin Redlener of Columbia University told the Times…(except in Mexico City, and many other places on Earth with brown and black and poor people the Times simply ignores, where the IMSSS Health Agency collapsed the pandemic with ivermectin, when 50,000 patients treated early with it compared to 70,000 not treated found a 75 percent reduction in need for hospitalization.) A show of hands, please: Is none of this news? Ivermectin propaganda is a whole new discipline, as robust as Victorian poetry or 20th Century fiction, and there’s no time to cover it all here.

A refreshing counterbalance to the media slaying of ivermectin is Matt Walsh, owner of a group of award-winning newspapers and a fiercely ethical Old School journalist. He has had enough.

On August 19, Matt to took the pages of his newspapers and six websites reaching 425,000 readers from Naples and Sarasota north to Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic, and began to write and publish the most strongly worded defenses of free speech and ivermectin of any mainstream journalist in the U.S. Read his first missive here: The Battle for Ivermectin.

Matt became the first newspaper publisher to report the story of the most important clinical-scientific discoveries of the COVID-19 pandemic, which were made by doctor and professor Paul Marik of the Eastern Virginia Medical School, the most published critical care doctor in the history of medicine who also treats patients (as ICU chief of the large Sentara Norfolk General Hospital); professor and doctor Pierre Kory, formerly of the University of Wisconsin-Madison medical school, and their academic research colleagues at the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (flccc.net).

Doctors Marik, Kory, et. al pioneered the use of corticosteroids to treat late-stage Covid patients, which became the global standard saving tens of thousands of lives, when the NIH, CDC, and WHO were vehemently, wrongly, and tragically recommending against steroids to treat COVID. They were also the first doctors to report to the world, in the peer-reviewed literature, that ivermectin was saving hundreds of thousands of people around the world and had nearly unlimited potential to save humanity from the pandemic.

The doctors’ treatment protocols of safe, FDA-approved drugs, including ivermectin, for COVID prevention, early and late-stage treatment, hospital care, long-haul symptoms and even post-vaccine symptoms, have saved more lives and relieved more misery in the pandemic than any human being can count, and would yet, many scientists believe, restore normal life everywhere if used universally. The rest of the mainstream media has known about these remarkable doctors and this remarkable generic drug that, in tandem with the vaccines already jabbed into billions of arms, and even without mass vaccination according to scientists like m-RNA vaccine technology inventor Dr. Robert Malone, could drive the coronavirus swiftly extinct. But they have simply ignored the story—and called some of the most renowned doctor-researchers on the planet scientific kooks and frauds.

Why science writers and editors at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, NPR, the Associated Press, Reuters, and the BBC have denied the world knowledge of treatments that could have saved perhaps even the majority of the 641,450 people who died in the U.S. and the nearly 4 million who died elsewhere in the world is something they will have to explain to their fellow human beings on every continent, to history, and perhaps to their maker. This outrage continues, and constitutes the most unethical, inhumane reporting on a global scale since New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for articles that covered up Josef Stalin’s collectivization of farms in the Ukraine that caused a famine that killed millions of people.

As human rights groups have demanded the newspaper return or renounce Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize, the Times itself has acknowledged this cover-up with this admission about Duranty:

“Conditions are bad, but there is no famine,” he wrote in a dispatch from Moscow in March of 1933 describing the “mess” of collectivization. “But – to put it brutally – you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Collectivization was the main cause of a famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine, the Soviet breadbasket, in 1932 and 1933 – two years after Duranty won his prize.”

Our Digital Age Durantys say conditions are bad in the pandemic, but there is little doctors can do. There is no treatment for COVID. Socially distance, wear a mask, get a vaccine. Take Tylenol and water and go to the hospital when you turn blue. Socially distance, wear a mask, get a vaccine.

Matt Walsh helped exposed much of the skullduggery, and bad science, medicine, and politics behind this humanitarian train-wreck when he published a 10,000-word magazine article, “The Drug That Cracked Covid,” across Florida and on the World Wide Web. He described the article as “the most important, factual journalistic story about COVID-19 that has been reported, written and published in the world to date.”

I wrote the article, after more than a year of reporting. It’s the same story I’ve shared in the last few days with subscribers here at our new husband-and-wife-run substack publication, RESCUE. If you haven’t read it yet, the entire three-part series is posted here on RESCUE and begins right here: The Drug That Cracked COVID.

My wife Teresa and I were the first two mainstream journalists to tell this story. Mary Beth Pfeiffer, a prize-winning investigative reporter and longtime community journalist, makes a third. You can’t miss her extraordinary stories for trialsitenews.com exposing the wider flabbergasting tale of “public health officials…failing to support safe, inexpensive drugs that could stop COVID-19 from progressing” and “media…actively impeding early treatment.” Read here: Mary Beth's stories.

Matt is the fourth. Boy, is he:

“If you do anything today, or this week, you must read Capuzzo’s story, “The Drug That Cracked COVID,” he wrote. “…In riveting detail, Capuzzo has exposed what we’ll call the tragic, criminal, irresponsible behavior of the U.S. and world medical establishment, Big Pharma, mainstream media, social media tech giants and top political and government leaders around the world. Capuzzo exposed with factual reporting their blatant ignoring and refusal to accept and their efforts to quash and silence undeniable, solid, convincing medical evidence of the effectiveness of ivermectin. You must read this story.”

Confession: I’ve known Matt Walsh for forty years. We met at The Miami Herald in 1980, when that famous Miami Vice-era newsroom was chock-full of crime stories and wits like Carl Hiassen, Edna Buchanan, and Dave Barry. I was a reporter and Matt was a fast-rising business writer and editor with a desk at the other end of the newsroom (Kurt Russell used Matt’s desk for his role in the 1985 movie, The Mean Season.)

 Matt Walsh, on the July 2019 night he was inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame, with his daughter Emily Walsh, publisher of four of the Observer Media Group’s titles, including the Longboat Observer, and his wife Lisa, who founded the company with Matt in 1995.

Matt’s a Missourian, and like so many from the Midwest found his way to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Seeking safer neighborhoods to raise children, he and his wife, Lisa Beliles, whom he met at the University of Missouri-Columbia journalism school, left Miami and moved to St. Petersburg, where Matt was editor of Florida Trend magazine. Then Forbes magazine recruited him to cover the U.S. southeast, which he accomplished out of his St. Pete garage. In 1995, the couple, with Lisa’s dad, a retired newspaperman, purchased the Longboat Observer, and began reinventing the local weekly newspaper that circled the drain most everywhere else, defying the collapse of print while embracing the digital age.

Matt is as Old School as it gets. Central casting is more like it: Walsh prowls his newspaper office in his trademark steel spectacles and bow ties, a Roaring Twenties look, inspiring more than 110 employees with his trademark slogan—“Ad astra!” he calls out in the Latin—to the stars. The phrase originates with Virgil, who wrote in the Aeneid, nineteen years before Christ: “sic itur ad astra” (‘thus one journeys to the stars’). Now that’s Old School.

Why does Old School matter? What wisdom does an Old School editor summon from the stars? The Old School of journalism is a philosophy as strange to many Americans today as Zoroastrianism, but worth careful study. It is deceptively simple compared to, say, the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, for the journalist is more of an ordinary type than Gautama Buddha, and founder of no religion except to trust no one—not even Mother—and verify.

So the Old School boils down to the single, deceptively simple notion: Get the other side of the story. Present two sides or more, whatever imperfections the flawed human being known as a newspaper reporter can dig up on a ruthless deadline. But this simplicity conceals a complex philosophy that is world-changing both when it is followed, and when it is ignored. True objectivity is impossible, the ascendent pomo (postmodern) journalists claim today. And they are right. But the practice of it is essential and healthy for society and for people, like striving to get in better shape with exercise and eating right is a good idea even if perfect fitness is unattainable.

The simple-minded notion of “getting both sides of the story” acknowledges the complexity of human society. It pays humble homage to the worthiness of liberals, conservatives, and quite a few other labels, in the grand experiment of a free people in a democracy consulting their individual consciences, weighing them with social morality, and making free choices—for love, for president, for county commissioner, for sushi instead of fries.

The ferocious contemporary denial that there even exist “two or more sides to the story,” the postmodern fantasy that no truth exists, only power, and therefore the noble powerful will communicate one truth to the benighted powerless, is the sign of a cynical elitism, no less the foundation of fascism. So Old School journalism is important because it may save your life. In our omnipresent media age when CNN may have more influence over your doctor than the New England Journal of Medicine, a good Old School editor can save your life. A bad editor can kill.

Walsh, following a cardinal Old School rule, plucks opinion from the news pages like lint from a suit collar. Walsh’s newspapers, dropped free at 1,583 locations across Florida, are bright, sophisticated tabloids known for balanced reporting on the pandemic, hurricanes, taxes, politics, and the big events of the day, as well as schools, sports, real estate, and police blotters. Beautiful photography and true tales of the struggles and endurance of the human spirit help shape life in their part of the world.

With Matt, his wife Lisa, and now their daughter Emily Walsh running the show, the family newspapers, from the Sarasota Observer to the Ormond Beach Observer, have won hundreds of journalism awards and the respect of a generation of readers. Walsh has created a world removed from the slimy social mediascape and partisan frenzies of the mainstream media—a lost world, a better world, a throwback to the Golden Age of newspapering. Opinion in the newspaper is limited to the few opinion pages.

But Walsh holds nothing back when he sits down to write the editor’s “Our View” column on the opinion pages. Even as he wrote sharp-worded columns and joined other Florida civic leaders calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to do more to stop the pandemic, he was deeply frustrated.

“For a year and a half, I felt bombarded with only one story being told,” he said, “that of the Fauci-CDC side, officialdom, the government, as if those people were the be-all-end-all know-it-alls. Anyone with a brain, especially journalists, should know better than to rely on anything that comes out of Washington. Didn’t we all learn in journalism school there are at least two sides to a story?”

The Mountain Home story opened a new door on the pandemic, he said:

“It was a “finally” moment,” he said. “Finally, a real journalist—not a Washington/mainstream, lazy hack—actually has done what good journalists do…You did the reporting, hunting, interviewing, researching to find the real stories on the street, the people on the front lines and in the trenches and facts that back up claims…When I read your story, there was no hesitation: More people need to see and know there is another side of this COVID story. Americans have been woefully deprived—deprived by Washington officials and, especially, by a national media that has not lived up to the integrity demanded of honorable journalism.”

Walsh reminded us of the best of Old School newspapering when his readers responded with fury to his path-breaking report. Many were grateful, saying the new information opened their eyes and even saved lives of loved ones. Many others were shocked, appalled, horrified by his publishing of harmful, forbidden “medical misinformation.” They turned Roget’s upside down and shook out all the synonyms for outraged and irresponsible and abomination. They demanded retractions, apologies, their money back, everything but hari-kari. Such are the bad manners of the new thought police.

But Matt took it in stride. It’s what Old School newspapermen do. They live by the hoary U.S. Supreme Court defense of free speech—even in 1978 when neo-Nazi’s threatened to march in Skokie, Illinois, home to many Holocaust survivors, the ACLU and the court upheld their right to speech. The answer to bad speech is not censorship, but more speech.

One reader wrote to Walsh’s daughter, Emily, about her dad’s “misguided” opinion article:

“I find the article both without scientific foundation and contrary to the Business Observer goal of delivering relevant news to the business community….the FDA, CDC, Mayo Clinic, the overwhelming majority of infectious disease doctors, as your article indicates the vast majority of hospitals, and even veterinarians are outspoken against the use of Ivermectin for Covid…Please stick to business reporting and avoid straying into areas where you have no expertise.”

In the new, postmodern, post-truth, nothing-but-power newsroom, an editor can’t tolerate disagreement with his positions. He labels such heresies “misinformation,” and flushes them down the memory hole.

Walsh wrote the guy back, thanking him for writing.

Then he gave him a helping of Old School philosophy. “Readers like yourself and many others are interpreting what I wrote as promoting and urging people to take ivermectin and to take it instead of being vaccinated,” he wrote.

“We did neither. What we did was expose our readers to a story of a drug that indeed has shown to be effective in many, many cases of COVID, and yet has been summarily dismissed by the national medical establishment, Washington and the national media as quackery. As any good journalist would do/should do, all we’re doing is presenting another piece of a larger story, another side of a story. It’s up to readers to reach their own conclusions.”

Walsh attached a three-page PDF, the scientific “Summary of Evidence for Ivermectin in COVID-19” from Drs. Marik, Kory, et. al at the FLCCC: Totality of Ivermectin Evidence.

And he promised the complainant that this week his newspapers “will be publishing letters and emails from readers who side with you. Along with their comments and criticisms, we are publishing answers from Dr. Pierre Kory, one of the founders of the FLCCC.”

He ended, “Thanks again for writing. Respectfully, Matt.”

Tomorrow we’ll bring you that conversation between the editor and his readers when the trucks start rolling to the 1,583 newspaper drop-off points, and people across the Sunshine State get something very rare in the media world today: both sides of the story.

The rebuilding of Old School journalism continues...

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