Despite the apparently friendly relationship between the Biden administration and much of the mainstream media, one top White House official recently admonished two of the nation’s most influential newspapers.
According to Fox News, the Biden administration went after The New York Times and Washington Post over their “completely irresponsible” tweets about COVID-19.
“Unreal to not put that in context”
In its tweet, the Post cited a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that highlighted outbreaks among fully vaccinated individuals.
“Vaccinated people make up three-quarters of those infected in a massive Massachusetts covid-19 outbreak, pivotal CDC study finds,” the newspaper posted.
White House Deputy Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement Ben Wakana responded with a harsh rebuke of the tweet.
“Completely irresponsible,” he wrote, according to Fox. “3 days ago the CDC made clear that vaccinated individuals represent a VERY SMALL amount of transmission occurring around the country. Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated. Unreal to not put that in context.”
Wakana, who also serves as part of the White House’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Team, took a similar approach in response to coverage from the Times.
“Let’s be clear”
In its tweet, the newspaper referred to the same CDC study, adding: “The Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be spread by vaccinated people as easily as the unvaccinated.”
Wanaka’s growing frustration appeared evident in his response, which came in the form of an all-caps tweet.
“VACCINATED PEOPLE DO NOT TRANSMIT THE VIRUS AT THE SAME RATE AS UNVACCINATED PEOPLE AND IF YOU FAIL TO INCLUDE THAT CONTEXT YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG,” he wrote.
He subsequently elaborated on his point, writing: “Let’s be clear. If 10 vaccinated people walk into a room full of COVID, about 9 of them would walk out of the room WITH NO COVID. Nine of them.”
The CDC itself has drawn some backlash after releasing new guidelines that encourage even vaccinated Americans to wear a mask in many indoor situations. As the Biden administration continues pushing its vaccination message, it seems clear from Wanaka’s tweets that the White House is attempting to control the narrative as much as possible.