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TNC

Must Read Alaska publishes false claims regarding Alaska hospital crisis

In recent days, the popular conservative blog Must Read Alaska has published multiple pieces of media that attempt to cast doubt on the existence or severity of Alaska’s current hospital capacity crisis. A September 22 article, authored by Must Read Alaska owner Suzanne Downing and titled “Anchorage doctor: ‘There is no rationing of care,” purports to be the anonymous account of a doctor who works at both Providence and Alaska Regional. A September 21 video, which Downing falsely claims was shot in the ER “waiting room,” shows empty chairs in an unused area in the hospital.

Downing’s quixotic media effort comes as Alaska repeatedly reaches and surpasses record highs for new COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations, and Alaska hospitals buckle under severe strain from an influx of severely ill, largely-unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. At a September 22 press conference, Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska) activated statewide crisis standards for care, an extreme measure that recognizes the lack of capacity to properly care for all patients and authorizes hospitals to allocate resources based on predicted patient outcomes.

Downing’s September 21 article claims to be the anonymous account of a doctor who works at Providence and Alaska Regional. The doctor claims that, “We are a long way from having a degree of problem where we are rationing care,” and states that most of those currently hospitalized in Alaska are there because they eat or drink too much, or “drive too fast.” The doctor states that crisis standards are “not a term of art” and declares that Alaska hospitals “are not in crisis.”

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The claims made by the anonymous doctor are inconsistent with weeks of statements by Alaska medical organizations, numerous medical professionals, and state agencies. Providence Hospital publicly announced that it would be rationing care on September 14. Governor Dunleavy activated statewide crisis standards for care on September 22. In a press availability yesterday, Providence Dr. Michael Bernstein stated that elective surgeries have been postponed. Dr. Bernstein stated that the current inability for patients to access critical care is something rarely seen outside of “a third world country.”

Dr. Bernstein also pushed back on the idea that the hospital crisis is the result of vaccine mandates, which have not yet gone into effect at the hospital: “To date, the vaccine requirement has had no impact on our staffing.”

On September 21, Downing posted a video to Must Read Alaska social media captioned “An Anchorage woman strolls through the emergency room waiting room at Providence and finds the place pretty empty.” The video appears to show a person pushing a stroller through a waiting area full of empty chairs. Downing embedded the video in her September 22 article, preceding it with the following claim:

“A Must Read Alaska reader corroborated the doctor’s story with a stroll through the emergency room welcome area of Providence hospital. The place was nearly empty, as shown in her video that she shared with Must Read Alaska.”

The video was flooded with comments by Must Read Alaska readers, thanking the blog for sharing the “truth” about the COVID crisis in Alaska hospitals.

Screenshot of video posted by Suzanne Downing to Must Read Alaska allegedly showing the ER “waiting room”

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But there’s just one problem: the video doesn’t show the ER waiting room. In fact, multiple Providence staff confirmed with the Landmine that the video shows a walkway in the main Providence lobby area, which is typically occupied by visitors. One doctor told the Landmine that visitors have not been allowed in Providence since September 6. The person filming is turned around by security before reaching the actual ER waiting area, which is not seen in the video.

To date, Downing has not issued a correction, retraction, or apology regarding her false statements about the video.

Must Read Alaska, long a reliably conservative blog, has increasingly become a hub for fabricated stories and conspiracy theories in recent months. In early July, Downing authored a series of stories falsely claiming that a woman was ejected from an Alaska Airlines flight for “wearing a mask with the word [sic] ‘Trump 2020’ on it.” In fact, the individual had been removed from the flight for wearing a mask with profanity on it and causing disruptions on multiple flights. Last week, Downing posted photos allegedly showing Assemblymember Christopher Constant, Alaska Landmine Editor-in-Chief Jeff Landfield, and others showing “disdain” for masks. The photos were over a year old and all individuals photographed were in full compliance with existing mask mandates.

Downing has published multiple articles containing fabrications and false claims about the 2020 election, masking, vaccines, medical providers, and other topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Coolbreeze
1 month ago

Bob Bird on Kenai Radio’s KSRM Bob Bird show took her story about the hospitals and ran with it. When his side kick, Jesse Bjorkman, tried to correct him sighting your article, Bob was almost livid. Apparently you, the doctors, Governor, feds and President were all in on it. You can try to correct an article or try to use facts…. but these people are not having it. I consider it all just a mental illness now….lol

Last edited 1 month ago by Coolbreeze
Flordiawoman
1 month ago

Adding to the malpractice is the fact that Downing is not a resident of Alaska and pretends to be posting from somewhere in Alaska when she appears to be posting articles from Florida. Cracks me up when she writes about the rainy weather from a an apparent beach chair from her Florida sunscape. It is not clear to me what the motivation is. Normally Suzanne Downing pre-releases “press releases” for our Governor, but of late the rants are in conflict with the Governor’s policies. I hope she gets the treatment she needs and gets well. The harm she is causing… Read more »

Foreveralaska
1 month ago

Honestly I argue with people in her comment sections just for fun as there are some real looney-tunes there. However it does worry me greatly how much people use her website to reinforce there often time ill-informed beliefs and conspiracies.

Richie Romero
1 month ago
Reply to  Foreveralaska

You wrascally wabbit. Aaaabaad aaaabaad that’s all folks

liz
1 month ago
Reply to  Foreveralaska

Lucky you. I’ve tried numerous times, all very accurate and well written comments, & they always get taken down. Usually within minutes of posting.

Upgreydd
24 days ago
Reply to  Foreveralaska

I too have done that, but my comments are typically removed within minutes. I actually get a kick out of tuning into Dimond Dan Fagan’s show when he has her on. He’s turned into a shameless hack, and she’s just…… nuts.

Erik Wassell
1 month ago

Leaving the rest aside, the Providence doctor who implies that postponing elective surgery rarely occurs outside of third world countries is off the mark.

Millions of elective surgeries have been postponed in just about every country in the world over the past year and a half. Hardly rare.

Kathie
1 month ago

Anybody who lives in Anchorage knows that the lobby. Hospitals are not letting folks wander around there these days, for many months, actually. If you are waiting for a ride or picking someone up from day surgery you wait in the car. So people outside of Anchorage don’t recognize this? Look on the Providence website. These claims are easily disproven. I agree with the other poster who says theyse folks must have a mental illness. Too bad it is making everybody else suffer.

Lynn Willis
1 month ago

Ms. Downing has adopted a very effective business strategy based on a quote sometimes attributed to Mark Twain: “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.”

Marty Karr
1 month ago

I agree with the other poster that Suzanne Downing appears to be mentally ill. Morally and ethically normal people do not deliberately lie like she does. She knows that people who pay attention know what she’s up to. The Republicans who patronize MRA know exactly what she’s doing. Her whole business model is just cynically manipulating the conservative base.

She needs to be called out more. She is doing real damage to Alaska and most media outlets are just ignoring it.

Downing went downhill
1 month ago

I use to read MRA before it went full QANON crazy conspiracy theory bullshit. The site is an absolute joke now. Catnip for broken, paranoid conspiracy theorists.

Whidbey Thedog
1 month ago

Downing is a failed “journalist” who never really made it in the big time, never got that call from the big market paper, but finally discovered a small-state niche where she found fame, notoriety, clicks, and profit by creating and driving in Conservative (a generous attribution in this case)/ Liberal wedges. Like many other Right-Wing media types, she knows better and doesn’t really believe all that she espouses, but the attraction of fame is just too great. She, along with her website, are culpable in the pandemic currently sweeping through Alaska by giving air time to a wide array of… Read more »

An American
1 month ago
Reply to  Whidbey Thedog

Sounds like most Hollywood,elites,bill gates Fauci and China these people must think they are going to live forever. Tisk tisk the day of recognition is approaching for all evil doers

Joel Adams
1 month ago

To me, The Landmine insinuates there may not actually be a doctor that wrote the piece at Must Read Alaska. Am I misleading or is Susan Downing being called a liar by The Landmine.

Flordiawoman
1 month ago
Reply to  Joel Adams

But there’s just one problem: the video doesn’t show the ER waiting room.
Math much?

Joel Adams
1 month ago
Reply to  Flordiawoman

I’m referencing the Dr. that The Landmine insinuates is fictitious.
We can all see where the video ends.

Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  Joel Adams

I don’t place any credibility in an anonymously source. If the source truly believes what they are saying then they need to attach their name to it. This to me appears to be a made up endorsement by a doctor since Suzanne Downing was unwilling to disclose the Doctor’s name. It is similar to Bronson claiming he has a lot of Doctors and medical experts endorsing his anti mask and anti Vax stance. I wish someone would put in a FOIA request for Bronson’s emails. Perhaps one of the Newspapers can do it to see if he is being truthful.

Mickeeak
1 month ago
Reply to  Joel Adams

I think although I might be mistaken, that the The Landmine wants their readers to come to their own conclusion. Ms Downing’s information appears to be misleading. I wonder why the anonymous Doctor couldn’t provide her with a current video or picture of ER? He is a medical professional who has access. Her picture of the Day Surgery/Family waiting area does not support her theory. So maybe she not lying she just got the areas of the hospital mixed up and the anonymous Doctor refused to provide her with the correct information. Mmmm?

Rick
1 month ago
Reply to  Mickeeak

No, she is flat out lying.

Suzanne Downing needs an ethics course
29 days ago
Reply to  Mickeeak

If she made a mistake, she could retract or correct it. She has not done so. Come on, she knew that video was bullshit from the beginning. Anyone who has ever been inside Providence knows that’s the lobby.

Greg
1 month ago

Funny how you state that this article is false and that they are rationing care starting on the 14th. Then in another article further down on your articles there is a article that has Governor Dunleavy stating that there is no rationing of care. Which article that you are publishing is false?

Flordiawoman
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

There is always rationing of care…due to fiscal concerns…see what kind of care you get uninsured vs insured and what medical choices you are given…

And there is clearly rationing of care happening at many of Alaska’s Hospitals including Providence Hospital that stated on 9/14 that they are instituting care rationing.

So do we believe the Governor or the medical providers? The Gov is not exactly helping with the health crisis here.

LisaV
1 month ago

Thank you for calling this out, I was waiting for you guys to jump in here, and you did not disappoint. One of the worst aspects of those articles is that it attracts dozens of asinine comments that continue to spin each other up with outright lies while claiming that everyone else is drinking the cool-aid. So it is getting traffic and advertising revenue. Businesses that buy advertising on that site need to step up and start cancelling, since they are suffering the effects of this pandemic as much as anyone else with employee absenteeism, labor shortages, and increased costs.… Read more »

NoerthernHawk
1 month ago

Why are so many nurses and other professionals leaving, quitting or walking away from their jobs? What I’m told us they refuse to be forced into taking a shot that’s being called a “vaccine”. By definition a vaccine should provide immunity or protection from a particular infectious disease, this shot does neither. Why aren’t you investigating the American people being lied to to inject a shot that, (might lessen the symptoms) does nothing? We know numbers of this “Covid” are WAY out of proportion when Dr. Brix told how VERY liberal they’ve been in regards to causality and morbidity of… Read more »

Brian
1 month ago
Reply to  NoerthernHawk

Go read Dr.Ann Zink’s comments during Governor Dunleavy’s press conference and you will find the true answers.. Aren’t you in denial about Covid or what??

Mark
26 days ago
Reply to  Brian

Brian you did not answer the question. You just passed the buck to Ann Zink. The jab does not work like they originally said they keep moving the goal post because they don’t have all the answers. So why are doctors and nurses leaving quoting or walking away?

Upgreydd
24 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Short answer? They’re not. It’s largely a publicity campaign by anti-vaxxer weirdos. “Many” doctors and nurses are not walking away.

Suzanne Downing needs an ethics course
29 days ago
Reply to  NoerthernHawk

What’s really going on here is that you’re being lied to by Suzanne Downing.

Patrice Parker
1 month ago

I don’t think Suzanne Downing is mentally ill. I think she has willingly gone to the dark side along with Tucker Carlson and the others. They’re most likely vaccinated, don’t believe a thing they say, and spend their days making the worst trouble they can. It’s all about gaining power, democracy be damned. The toughest part to understand is their willingness to sacrifice the lives of the ignorant and gullible. But we’ve seen that kind of depravity throughout history.

Suzanne Downing needs an ethics course
29 days ago

This moderate Republican stopped reading Must Read Alaska long ago. The blog went from needed alternative voice to campaign tool to wacky fake news site. The author is untrustworthy and trying to figure out whether the articles are true or not is a waste of time. Alaska could use a center-right news source but MRA ain’t it.

PJ Olson
29 days ago

Attempted hit pieces like this one aren’t news. More of a blogger on blogger cat fight. Disappointing.
Are we experiencing an overwhelmed healthcare system as a result of a 99.7% survivable virus that most need a test to find out that they have it?
Doesn’t really seem likely, does it?
The dreaded Covid swept through my little community of comorbidity ridden residents recently and…guess what…nobody got hospitalized and nobody died.
It’s all BS and that’ll become even more obvious as time goes on…if it isn’t obvious enough already.
I thought this blogger was conservative…obviously not.

slipstream
29 days ago
Reply to  PJ Olson

Hey PJ,

My brother died. Why don’t you tell him it’s bullshit?

Pepe_Trump_2024
29 days ago
Reply to  slipstream

I am sorry for your loss. But without news stories I wouldn’t know we’re in a pandemic. No one I know has died from it. My cousin caught it in February and was fine.

Liz
29 days ago

Consider yourself fortunate.

Art Cambell
28 days ago

Suzanne Downing, Reporting on Alaska from the shores of Tampa Bay, Florida. HaHa

liz
28 days ago

I am seriously confused with Bronson & his neo-nazi’ish groupie following these days. One minute he is telling people that hospitals are a private entity & there isn’t anything he can do to help the situation but the next minute he is laying into them about how they are requiring health care workers to vaccinate. Apparently it’s not his problem until these private entities choose to do something he does not agree with. Time for him to hit the sun tanning place some more.