CNN anchor Chris Cuomo took a rare swipe at his own network Thursday night over its now-debunked report about the Biden administration “starting from scratch” with a coronavirus vaccine rollout plan.
Earlier Thursday, CNN raised eyebrows with its purported “scoop” that quoted unnamed Biden officials alleging, “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch,” as well as that the new administration would have to start from “square one” since, according to CNN, “there simply was no plan.”
During a White House press briefing later in the day, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was tapped by President Biden during the transition to be a White House adviser, was asked directly by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker if the new administration was “starting from scratch.”
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“We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution,” Fauci responded before elaborating on the Biden administration’s own plan.
Fauci later appeared on “Cuomo Prime Time,” but even the CNN star was heavily skeptical of his network’s reporting.
“Another thing that I don’t buy comes out of our reporting … that people in the administration say they’re starting from scratch with the vaccine. No, they’re not!” Cuomo exclaimed. “You have an infrastructure out there that you’re well aware of that has to be improved. But they shouldn’t get any benefit of a low bar here either. … Are they gonna scrap it or are they going to build on it, make it better?”
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“No, no they’re not going to scrap it,” Fauci responded.
“I was involved in the development of that stuff. They were not going to scrap that,” Fauci then chuckled.
CNN heavily pushed the story prior to the briefing. According to Fourth Watch media critic and former CNN producer Steve Krakauer, the anti-Trump network had mentioned its now-disputed scoop “a total of 23 times” before Fauci spoke to the press.
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CNN White House correspondent MJ Lee, who authored the controversial report, defended her reporting on social media, characterizing Fauci as “a holdover from the Trump administration.”
Lee also attempted to rely on President Biden’s earlier comments to validate her reporting, tweeting, “In the last hour, Biden said Trump’s vaccine rollout had been a ‘dismal failure.'”
The CNN reporter was mocked by critics for referring to Fauci as a “holdover” from President Trump.
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As of early Friday morning, no correction, retraction, or editor’s note has been added to CNN’s original report that was published on its website. A small burb was placed at the bottom of the report reading, “This story has been updated with additional reporting.”
CNN did not previously respond to Fox News’ request for comment.