Biden Administration Warns It Will Crack Down on The Spreading of Fear, Hate and Propaganda
Covid Misinformation is costing lives
In a scathing attack reported in Politico on July 12th, President Biden’s Chief Medical Officer Anthony Fauci vented his frustrations at the misleading messaging from media outlets and key Republican figures in regard to the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine rollout. Singled out within the piece were news channels Fox and Republican representatives including Marjorie Taylor-Greene.
Taylor-Greene an outspoken hardline conservative and ally of former President Donald Trump has been characteristically vocal about recently announced plans to offer vaccine outreach across the USA. The initiative’s purpose — to offer the shot to citizens who cannot get to vaccine centers.
Her response — rather than to encourage an effort that might protect more people from the deadly delta variant was instead to spread fear and misinformation about the supposed risks of death as a side-effect of the vaccine. The Tweet was flagged by Twitter as misleading for containing inaccurate information:
Over 623,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US out of the 34 million cases, compared to the 5,946 that Taylor-Greene claims have died from the 335 million doses of vaccine administered across the country — her argument seems statistically flawed and irrelevant at best.
Earlier in July she compared the Biden administration’s push to rollout the vaccine to the actions of the ‘Brown Shirts’ in Nazi Germany. Ironically these comments came just days after she’d been forced to formally apologize for a comparison between mask-wearing and conditions faced by victims of the holocaust.
Taylor-Greene’s state of Georgia also has the 7th highest number of cases and correspondingly, deaths in the USA at this point. Coincidence?
Fear, misinformation and doubt
The move by the Biden administration to crack down on those who misinform and deceive the public isn’t merely driven by political points-scoring. It’s based on an undeniable trend that Covid-19 is still causing serious death and illness, particularly in states where the vaccine rollout is less widespread. One of the key factors in this is the misinformation being spread by largely-Republican politicians and right-leaning media outlets — in spite of the fact that most of these key individuals have themselves been vaccinated.
Republican Governor of Missouri, Mike Parson publicly states on his official Twitter account that the vaccine is effective and necessary. And yet, he’s also tweeted that he opposes Biden’s initiative to bring vaccination efforts into the community, completely misrepresenting the intent of the effort:
Coincidentally his state is amongst the slowest and least effective in rolling out the vaccine — an effort that’s being hindered by his apathy and indifference to the virus. The CDC reports that Missouri is the 39th lowest state of the 50for getting its population vaccinated. In Christian County for example, just 33% of citizens were reported to be fully vaccinated. It is also seeing a radical increase in cases and hospitalisation and has had to request federal assistance in responding to the surge.
Americans need clear and accurate information
Comments from Taylor-Greene and Parson are unfortunately representative of those made by many other Republicans in relation to Covid-19.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn has stated that the Biden effort to deliver vaccines door-to-door is a thinly veiled practice for the rounding up of bibles and guns.
Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado has suggested that welfare support distributed by the Biden administration as part of the American Rescue Plan isn’t necessary or welcome and should be withdrawn.
Until these leading lights of the Republican right, and the media networks that give them airtime are held to account for the misinformation they spread and the deaths that are occurring as a result, it seems likely the situation regarding Covid-19 in states like Georgia will only worsen.
Cases will increase, conspiracies will proliferate and politicians will blame the Biden administration for not doing enough — in spite of blocking each and every one of their initiatives as far as possible.