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CNN's Berman conflates fish tank cleaner with anti-malarial drug touted by Trump

New Day co-anchor suppresses key difference in bid to shame president

Neutral Zone Infraction logo
Flagging reporters for crossing the line between fact and opinion
(Just the News)
Updated: March 28, 2020 - 9:42am

With the Neutral Zone Infraction, Just the News tries to do its part to maintain the line between fact and opinion in American journalism by blowing the whistle each week on an egregious example of slanted coverage by reporters. This week's offender: CNN's John Berman

CNN anchor John Berman neglected to divulge key information in a brief segment on the cable news network's "New Day" program when he mentioned the recent death of a man in Arizona.

"Game-changer, that is how President Trump describes the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. It's now one of 69 drugs being investigated as potential treatment against coronavirus," Berman said. "The problem: It has not yet been approved, and in Arizona one man has died after an apparent attempt to self-medicate with that drug."

Berman failed to note that the substance the man took was not meant for human consumption. It was something the man's wife had previously used in their fish tank.

The man "ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks," according to a Banner Health report available at the non-profit healthcare system's website.

"The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated," the Associated Press reports.

NBC News also reported the husband and the wife took the additive, saying "the toxic ingredient they consumed was not the medication form of chloroquine, used to treat malaria in humans. Instead, it was an ingredient listed on a parasite treatment for fish."

While the wife of the deceased man mentioned President Trump when speaking to a reporter, the president did not urge people to ingest products intended for use in aquariums, nor did he tell people to self-medicate without consulting a doctor.

While Berman noted that the man was apparently self-medicating, he left out the fact that the substance was not even human medication, and he failed to deliver the full story to viewers.

Just the News attempted to reach out for a comment from CNN but received no response.