Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center -- in apparent excersing of its pro-Trump defense reflex -- strangely went all in on defending the Trump administration's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan, even though there really wasn't much of one.
Curtis Houck ranted in a Jan. 21 post:
On Thursday morning, CNN White House correspondent MJ Lee filed an anonymously-sourced story on behalf of her fellow lefties that set the agenda for Zuckerville and like-minded outlets (which our friend Drew Holden chronicled in another legendary thread): “Biden inheriting nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start ‘from scratch,’ sources say.”
But as we would learn hours later from Dr. Tony Fauci of NIH, the Biden administration “certainly [is] not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.”
Huh. So, in other words, Lee’s story was nothing more than pants-on-fire fake news. Trump should ask Bernie Sanders how it felt to be on the receiving end of Lee’s propaganda.
If the plan was nonexistent, how come there have been 18.4 million shots given, according to Bloomberg?
Because, as others have pointed out, the plan, such as it was, wasn't a very good one -- it was concerned only with shipping the vaccines to states, which were then on their own in figuring out distribution. PolitiFact summarized: "There are many criticisms of this process, including that it took too long to give states money to implement their plans and a lack of communication from the top about how the rollout would work. But that was the plan they drew up." The Biden administration has said it will help the states much more closely than the Trump administration did.
But the MRC had its narrative -- Trump had a rock-solid plan, CNN was lying -- and it was running with it.
Tim Graham huffed in his Jan. 22 column:
Nonexistent? If the Trump administration had a “nonexistent” vaccine strategy, how was the vaccine distributed across the country? This is self-evidently false. CNN somehow didn’t have the talent or intelligence to Google the 11-page HHS document on their Operation Warp Speed vaccine strategy. Instead, CNN reporter MJ Lee was relying on anonymous Trump-trashing sources for her dishonest spin.
Trump is easily portrayed as saying any strategy he unveiled was the best strategy ever. The CNN/Biden approach is the exact opposite, a wild and boastful exaggeration that there was zero planning, zip, nothing. You could argue Trump’s plans were insufficient. But that wasn’t enough: they had to lie for effect.
MRC chief Brent Bozell ranted in a Fox Business appearance: "The plan called, had it all set up for distribution in every state, in every territory, tribal distribution, even local distribution. You're entitled to your opinion. You're not entitled to lie. And CNN flat-out lied to its viewers. Its viewers need to understand it is not biased, they're not spinning it, they're flat out lying. That just wasn't true.”
Graham returned to complain on Feb. 15:
Isn't it fascinating that the liberal media lecture us about all the dangers of misinformation about the coronavirus, but now the Biden-Harris team just keeps repeating nonsense about how they had to start "from scratch" on the vaccine? That there was "no plan"?
Even after CNN fell on its face running this claim from an anonymous source, only to be corrected by media darling Anthony Fauci, Vice President Kamala Harris said it out loud to Axios reporter and co-founder Mike Allen for the website's HBO show. Allen just accepted this garbage.
Can we expect ANY "independent fact-checkers" to locate this obvious misinformation, just lying there?
Of course, we can't expect Graham to tell his readers that whatever plan Trump had was wholly inadequate to the task.
On Feb. 17, Joseph Vazquez cheered how Fox Business host Larry Kudlow was eager to rip apart a lie Vice President Kamala Harris told Axios about the vaccine rollout effort of former President Donald Trump’s administration," even happier that "Kudlow shot back over a hot mic: 'Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!'"
The same day, Kristine Marsh accused Fauci of "backtracking from his own prior statements so he could defend Vice President Kamala Harris’s “starting from scratch” lie" by saying (accurately, not that Marsh or the MRC will admit it) that "the actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people's arms was really rather vague."
Kyle Drennen groused that a later interviewer of Harris "ignored Harris lying in a recent interview about the Biden administration having to 'start from scratch' in its COVID response after President Trump left office," claiming that the questions that were asked "conveniently took the place of any attempt to hold Harris accountable for lying in a recent Axios interview about the Biden administration supposedly having to 'start from scratch' in its COVID response, as if the Trump administration had not done anything to combat the pandemic. Something even Dr. Anthony Fauci said was false."
Graham harped on it again in a Feb. 20 post, pretending to be outraged that the Washington Post gave Harris only two Pinocchios for Harris' statement, trying to split hairs in offering a defense:
In this case, Kessler thinks it's fair game to say there was "no national strategy" since it was "state-centric." You can't have a "state-centric national strategy"? He did think it was "trouble" to say "starting from stratch," even though he elastically allowed they have "fill in the blanks" a bit.
"Starting from scratch" is not "trouble." It's non-factual. There is no evidence of such a claim, if we may use the liberal-media argot. For people who lecture about the importance of facts and truth, they seem to be extremely willing to sculpt falsehoods into all kinds of puzzling shapes and then pronounce they're well, half-true.
Remember: For the MRC, narrative is everything. The truth -- that Trump's plan was apparently only marginally better than no plan at all when it came to the end goal of vaccines in people's arms -- is secondary.