Even as President Joe Biden planned ways to walk back his assertion that social media platforms like Facebook are “killing people” by not suppressing “misinformation” about the COVID-19 vaccine, CNN put the caustic charge into overdrive — accusing the top-rated network on cable news of leading its own audience to needless deaths.
On Sunday’s “State of the Union,” host Dana Bash asked the surgeon general of the United States if the Fox News Channel has blood on its hands for allegedly stoking vaccine hesitancy among its viewership.
Bash played clips of Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson opposing vaccine passports and forced vaccination before asking Surgeon General Vivek Murthy if they bore personal or corporate responsibility for U.S. deaths from the Delta variant.
“President Biden did accuse social media platforms of killing people,” Bash said. “Do you think conservative media, like Fox News, are doing the same? Are they killing people, too, with rhetoric like you just heard?”
In the clips CNN played, both Fox hosts said they opposed forcing people to take a vaccination. Ingraham said, “There’s nothing more anti-democratic, anti-freedom than pushing an experimental drug on Americans against their will.” Carlson asked, “Is there a precedent” for the government to “force people to take medicine they don’t want or need … in our lifetime?”
Murthy appeared to agree with Bash’s framing of the quotes as discouraging vaccine use and warned about the dangers of spreading “misinformation.”
“Well, Dana,” Murthy replied, “I think all of us — including the media, including individuals, health professionals — have a responsibility to share the truth about health, as science dictates, as science informs us. And unless we do that … on critical issues like the vaccine, then we are going to ultimately put people at risk.”
“My worry is that all this misinformation that’s floating around is having a real cost that can be measured in lives lost. And that is just tragic,” he concluded.
As Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti reported, Murthy similarly “doubled down on the administration’s claims that Facebook and other social media outlets are driving vaccine skepticism, claiming on Fox News Sunday that social media sites are ‘aiding and abetting’ the spread of misinformation.”
Murthy’s media blitz came just one day before President Biden backed down on his statement that Facebook’s tolerant posting policies were “killing people.”
When asked last week about social media platforms that do not censor their users’ posts about the novel coronavirus, President Biden said, “They’re killing people.”
“The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people,” he added. Similarly on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”
Yet by the first of the week, the White House had changed its messaging. “Facebook isn’t killing people,” President Biden said Monday. He went on to say, “My hope is that they would do something about misinformation— outrageous misinformation about vaccines.”
Meanwhile, Fox News has repeatedly encouraged its viewers to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Tucker Carlson has long called his show “adamantly pro-vaccine.”
On Monday’s “Fox and Friends,” Steve Doocy turned back online rumors about the coronavirus injection. “The vaccine is killing lots and lots of people, or it changes your DNA, or there are little microchips. None of that is true,” he said. “If you have the chance, get the shot. It will save your life.” Later on Monday, anchors encouraged viewers to get more information about the vaccination from the FDA.
At Monday’s White House press briefing, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki if the president is concerned about vaccine hesitancy inside red states, would Biden consider asking former President Donald Trump to record a public service announcement touting the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, which was produced thanks to Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.
Psaki said the former president does not need an “invitation” to make such a PSA.
Medical experts agree that nearly all hospitalizations due to the Delta variant have taken place among the unvaccinated population.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.