If you thought the thinly sourced stories from anonymous ‘administration officials’ would end once Trump left office, think again: CNN is now indistinguishable from President Biden’s press shop.
The new administration sought to plant a story that preemptively blamed former president Donald Trump for any hiccups in its COVID-19 vaccine distribution program, and it found the perfect patsy in CNN reporter MJ Lee.
Anonymous Biden administration officials claimed to Lee that the Trump administration had no plan for actually distributing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines it worked so quickly to approve through the FDA.
‘There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch,’ one source told CNN, while another claimed the Biden administration was starting from ‘square one’.
If CNN had done some of its own research rather than acting as a stenographer for unnamed Biden sources, they would know that this is blatantly false. The Trump White House sent press release after press release informing the media of its progress under Operation Warp Speed, which included a distribution plan for the vaccines. The Health and Human Services website even features a handy infographic that outlines the process. The United States is currently administering nearly one million vaccines per day, which would be seemingly impossible with no plan. CNN and the Biden officials could perhaps have criticized the Trump administration for leaving too much of the vaccine distribution program up to the states, but it is just inaccurate to say there was ‘no plan to speak of’.
This story was such a whopper that even left-leaning journalists piled on to call it false. Sam Stein of the Daily Beast wrote, ‘There was, indeed, a plan from Trump. I listened in on govs calls on vaccine distribution. The plan had obvious shortcomings. but to say there’s nothing to rework is not true.’
‘Government officials did set up a system that’s distributed 36M doses to states,’ Dan Diamond of the Washington Post confirmed. ‘Either the situation on the ground is better than team Biden acknowledges, or Biden’s target is less ambitious than it seems.’
Dr Anthony Fauci, who was treated like a prophet by CNN when he worked under Trump, debunked the story during an administration press briefing:
‘We’re certainly not starting from scratch, because there is activity going on in the distribution.’
Lee responded to this news by referring to Fauci derogatorily as a ‘holdover from the Trump admin’, apparently forgetting that he has worked in government for decades and that her own outlet was one of his biggest cheerleaders just a few months ago. It was easier for her to blame someone else rather than admit she got the facts wrong because she was too trusting of the Biden officials who fed her the story — even if that someone else was St Anthony of Fauci.
The Biden administration, of course, wanted to lower expectations for its own vaccine rollout. If it didn’t meet its stated goal, it has a convenient news story blaming Trump for a lack of infrastructure. If it does meet or exceed its goal, the administration will be seen as overcoming impossible odds to save the American people. Sadly, CNN was all too willing to help rewrite history. So much for ‘Facts First’.