Matt Taibbi Learns To Stop Worrying And Love Merck

Ephrom Josine
7 min readOct 7, 2021

Before we begin, I should say that I don’t hate Matt Taibbi, far from it. I think he’s a good journalist who writes entertaining articles on the news of the day. Personally, I put him in the same category as Michael Tracey — who I also don’t hate, even if I think he sometimes acts like a total idiot. They’re both smart people, but they both have this contrarian impulse in them that occasionally makes them look like total doofuses.

Enter the new Merck COVID-19 drug, a drug I have previously written very critically about. Of course, Taibbi quickly jumped all over this drug as not only a possible wonder cure for COVID-19 — but also as evidence of media bias against Donald Trump. Enter Taibbi’s 10/6/2021 article “Did Political and Media Bias Stall the Release of Merck’s New Covid-19 Drug?

Of course, the answer Taibbi expects you to leave his article with is “yes.” But he can only do so through establishing two things:

  1. That Merck’s drug works
  2. That we had reason to believe it would work under Donald Trump

We’ll start with his evidence that Merck’s drug works — it’s basically non-existent. All Taibbi does is link to media reports — isn’t this the same guy who wrote an entire book about why we can’t trust the mainstream media?on a study that was ended early and has not been peer reviewed.

Taibbi also points out:

Nearly every story cited data from Merck’s own press release, which claimed studies had shown an experimental oral drug had tremendous promise.

So Merck released a press release saying the drug works and that’s all the evidence you need to be sure the drug works? Merck is the same company that had Rofecoxib on the market for five years, a drug which caused roughly forty-six thousand heart attacks and twenty-six thousand deaths.

I should also note this weird digression where Taibbi mentions the fact that the federal government has previously backed drugs that were later found out to be horribly ineffective:

The uniformly celebratory nature of coverage of the Merck product evoked memories of an infamous press episode in the early 2010s, when an alleged wonder drug called Tamiflu was pitched — by the CDC

Ephrom Josine

Political Commentator; Follow My Twitter: @EphromJosine1