Psaki: White House Has Reached Out to Media Outlets About COVID-19 Vaccines

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
July 20, 2021 Updated: July 21, 2021

The White House has reached out to several news outlets about their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, said press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday.

“We’ve been in touch with every network and many, many media outlets about coverage of COVID-19 to make sure people have accurate information, to voice concerns when we have them, and I think you all know we’re never shy when we have an issue with a story,” Psaki said during a briefing with reporters, responding to a question about a CNN report that detailed talks between Biden administration officials and executives at Fox News.

A Fox spokesperson told The Epoch Times that “CNN’s reporting is inaccurate,” and “there have been no high-level conversations between FOX News Media and the White House regarding our coverage.”

The spokesperson added: “We had one routine briefing with the White House in early May on vaccination rates and our DC bureau personnel are regularly in touch with them on a variety of issues, as is the case with every other network.”

Some Fox News commentators, meanwhile, including top host Sean Hannity, have recently called on viewers to get vaccinated.

Psaki’s recent comments about White House officials contacting news outlets about their COVID-19 coverage are sure to draw pushback.

The remarks come after she and other Biden administration officials issued critical comments about Facebook and called on the social media platform to restrict alleged COVID-19 “misinformation.” Psaki went a step further and said that individuals who post alleged misinformation about vaccines should be not only banned on Facebook but should be banned from posting on other social media websites.

Her remarks—and remarks from President Joe Biden—were criticized by Republicans and other commentators, including the left-wing Daily Beast’s Noah Shachtman, who said the administration was engaging in government overreach for trying to pressure Facebook into moderating its content.

In a rare critical comment over the weekend, Facebook released a statement saying that the Biden administration shouldn’t try to blame the social media giant for failing to meet the administration’s self-imposed July 4 deadline.

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts. The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet,” Facebook spokesman Kevin McAlister said.

During the onset of the pandemic, Facebook, Twitter, and Google-owned YouTube deleted posts or added “fact check” labels to posts—including to reports from The Epoch Times—that the virus emerged at a Wuhan, China, laboratory in 2019. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has vehemently denied the virus emerged from the facility and repeatedly has said it was transmitted to people via a yet-to-be-identified animal at a wet market in Wuhan.

In recent months, however, even some U.S. Intelligence Community officials have confirmed they’re actively investigating the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis. Biden said in May that he’s directed intelligence agencies to deliver a report within several months.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.