Critics are lashing out at CNN as a “propaganda” network after studying a side-by-side screengrab of two CNN tweets about COVID vaccine distribution that seemingly exposed a double standard from the outlet as to how they have covered the Trump vs. the Biden administrations.
In the first CNN headline, tweeted in October 2020, on Trump’s effort to speed vaccine trials, CNN framed it as such, “Even before his diagnosis, Trump had taken to calling drug companies to check on their vaccine trials, asking how much longer they’ll take and ginning up pressure around his desire for a vaccine before Election Day.”
Fast forward to the Biden administration, and CNN was much more complimentary about the White House’s actions, writing, “The urgent, wartime effort by President Biden and his advisers to get millions of vaccines has allowed to US to go from having one of the worst Covid responses in the world to being a leader on vaccines.”
It wasn’t lost on social media users that CNN appeared to making Trump out to be a bully, and casting Biden as a hero. Critics called out CNN as “propaganda” and “biased” and accused the outlet of “intellectual dishonesty” for its double standard.
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Conservative columnist Brad Slager found another relevant example of CNN giving credit to the 46th president, but not the 45th. In one screenshot, CNN editorialized that Trump’s vaccine goal was unlikely to come to fruition. But in their Biden headline, the editors did not question the president’s plan.
Other observers noted that the Biden administration was already off to a running start on vaccine distribution thanks to their predecessors.
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Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a former health advisor for Operation Warp Speed, the public-private partnership introduced under the Trump administration to streamline the speedy and effective development of the coronavirus vaccine, claimed in March that 90% of Biden’s rollout goal was the same as his predecessor’s. That is despite Biden’s chief of staff Ronald Klain claiming they inherited no plan, and CNN publishing a piece alleging that the Biden White House was “starting from scratch.”
In his ceremony celebrating the distribution of 200 million vaccine shots, Biden also alleged that the milestone probably would not have been reached under Trump’s watch until September. But again, according to analysts’ estimates, the U.S. was on track to reach 200 million shots administered by the middle of May.