Issues & Insights

Biden Attacks Alarmist COVID News Stories — Even As He Stokes Them

White House photo

CNN might be a horribly biased and woefully unreliable news organization these days, but its reporters do know how to convey the White House propaganda well. Case in point is the story posted on CNN’s website over the weekend about how the Biden administration is desperately trying to get the news media to stop playing up the risk of the Delta variant.

“The White House is frustrated with what it views as alarmist, and in some instances flat-out misleading, news coverage about the Delta variant,”  reported Oliver Darcy over the weekend. “That’s according to two senior Biden administration officials I spoke with Friday, both of whom requested anonymity to candidly offer their opinion on coverage of the CDC data released that suggests vaccinated Americans who become infected with the Delta coronavirus variant can infect others as easily as those who are unvaccinated.”

Darcy goes on to provide a multitude of examples of how the White House berated various news agencies for their coverage of the CDC report that prompted its mask-wearing mandate for vaccinated people.

After the New York Times tweeted that “The Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be spread by vaccinated people as easily as the unvaccinated, an internal C.D.C. report said,” a White House staffer responded:

CNN’s Brian Stelter also parrotted the White House talking points on his weekend show.

“It is time for a reset. A reset in how COVID-19 is covered by the media,” Stelter said. 

But wait. Isn’t the real story about how the Biden administration is now complaining about over-the-top COVID coverage after Joe Biden himself did everything he could to scare the public about the disease?

His entire presidential campaign was based on it. So were his endless calls for nationwide mask mandates. And his push for his $1.9 trillion “rescue” plan.

And isn’t the story also that the White House is complaining about needlessly scaring the public while the administration’s own CDC is doing just that?

Last week, the CDC issued a call for mask mandates for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status, because of the Delta variant in areas with “high” transmission rates. The clear implication is that a COVID vaccine is pretty worthless when it comes to stopping the spread of the disease.

For “every 20 vaccinated people,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that “one or two of them could get a breakthrough infection.”

As Jacob Sullum explained at Reason, “that estimate is off by at least an order of magnitude. In fact, it implies that vaccinated people face a higher risk of infection than unvaccinated people do.”

Sullum notes that “the CDC’s rationale for resuming universal masking itself implies that vaccinated people are playing a significant role in spreading the Delta variant.”

So is it any wonder that the same news outlets that have been trafficking in COVID fears for more than a year looked at the CDC’s change of heart for what it was – a dire new warning?

The real story, if CNN cared to look into it, is that by issuing wildly conflicting statements, Biden has now managed to do the one thing he promised not to do: confuse and anger the public.

And no wonder. For more than a year, the nation has been pushed around by government officials claiming it was all in the interest of public health, who said repeatedly that getting vaccinated was a ticket to freedom from the behavior mandates.

Now the administration is saying, what? All is well, except when we decide it isn’t? Or when bad news might hurt us politically?

This is Biden’s pandemic now. He did, after all, promise to “shut down the disease.” So the public is going to hold him – not Republicans, not the media – responsible for the confusion, the anger, the low vaccination rates, the spreading Delta variant, and any misguided restrictions the government imposes.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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