After a week that consisted of vehement pushback against the Biden administration’s new mask edict and threats of bringing back crippling Covid restrictions, the liberal media decided on Friday to fall in line during the White House press briefing with only Fox News’s Peter Doocy remaining skeptical about this sudden change.
And on the misinformation front, numerous reporters parroted Biden administration line of using a Covid outbreak earlier this month in Provincetown, Massachusetts to justify masking and other mitigation measures when, in reality, that highly debaucherous event isn’t representative of the American populace.
The Associated Press’s Alexandra Jaffe opened the questions for Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre by touting the leaked CDC PowerPoint that painted a grave picture of the Delta variant, even for the vaccinated.
Jaffe even read excerpts about its transmissibility before wondering if President Biden isn’t being grim enough with the American people, adding: “[W]hy aren’t we seeing universal recommendations for universal masking? Why is it just in the areas of transition when the CDC seems to be suggesting universal masking is needed?”
Jean-Pierre gave a lengthy answer covering their tracks, defending Biden’s own words over the last month and asserting that “the answer” to get out of the pandemic continues to be “need[ing] more people to get vaccinated.”
NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell was the first reporter to bring up this “Fourth of July party that happened in Massachusetts, where the Delta variant was predominant” as a way of inquiring whether President Biden should reup bans on large gatherings.
Jean-Pierre replied that Biden will continue “to follow the science” and “listen to public health experts” as his “north star.”
ABC’s MaryAlice Parks and CBS’s Weijia Jiang would also talk about this “superspreader” casting doubt on the ability of vaccines to thwart breakthrough cases, but neither acknowledged the problems with this story.
For the unaccustomed, “bears” could be defined as larger, masculine gay men with plenty of hair. And “Bear Week” in the Bay State has a reputation of involving plenty of poor life choices, including plenty of making out and gay sex.
But sure, let’s dictate public health policy off of that in the same way we’d make changes based on the inside of a frat on a Saturday night or hotel rooms during spring break in Florida.
Back to the questions, CBS’s Weijia Jiang wondered about more mask requirements and bans on gatherings due to the Delta variant and Provincetown (click “expand”):
JIANG: Just to follow up on all of that, you mentioned the CDC’s data that was released on Tuesday. I think the question is, why doesn’t that guidance match the internal memo’s guidance because on Tuesday they updated the mask guidance to say you only have to wear in places that have high or moderate transmissibility. The internal memo that was leaked says given higher transmissibility and current coverage, vaccine coverage, universal masking is essential to reduce transmission. So, one, why don’t the recommendations match? And, two, should the American public anticipate updated guidance that includes universal masking and also new guidance about large gatherings and how many people should gather, given what we are seeing from Provincetown?
JIANG: Has White House review the CDC’s internal memo and slides?
JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything to — to say about that, and I could look at languages.
JIANG: Okay cause the languages — the analogies are hopeful to understand, like, you know there that the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox or more contagious than the common colder or Ebola. Are these things that they’re going to present to the public to help us understand?
JEAN-PIERRE: Well the data is being released today.
JIANG: [F]ollow-up on Kelly. Of all the weeks not to have a Covid briefing, why this week?
JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I know that’s the question you all are asking me, but they — the doctors have been on national television all week, speaking to this, answering the questions on your net — on your networks, so they’ve been out there talking about — they’re not hiding. They’re actually having the conversations with anchors and hosts in answering the hard questions about the Delta variant, about the CDC masking. And so, they’ve been out there. They’re not hiding. They’re actually speaking to this almost every day, so you know, and — and we heard from the President of the United States yesterday for more than 30 minute speech that many of you were in[.]
Later in the briefing, Reuters’s Jeff Mason sounded dire as he pondered the likelihood the administration is considering “more lockdowns, partial lockdowns or — or anything along those lines.”
Though Jean-Pierre would say “we are not going to head toward a lockdown,” Biden would at least partially contradict her (and himself from Thursday) just hours later when leaving the White House.
Elsewhere, NPR’s Scott Detrow twice asked about the return of more frequent Covid testing for White House reporters and staff, CNN’s Phil Mattingly correctly noted the Delta variant claims could increase vaccine hesitancy, and a reporter in the CBS News Radio seat followed colleagues from earlier in pushing for “new restrictions, possible restrictions surrounding large group gatherings.”
As stated at the top, Doocy kept up the pressure. In his first of four questions, he pointed to the infinitesimal size of breakthrough cases, leading to Jean-Pierre taking a stance for the rest of the back-and-forth that wasn’t too different from Psaki’s playbook of condescension (click “expand”):
DOOCY: Building off your point the vaccines work, then why is the President asking vaccinated people to mask up? If there have been just. 0.00035 percent of the 161 million fully vaccinated Americans who have had breakthrough case [sic].
JEAN-PIERRE: Look, Let me give you the facts about the delta variant. And maybe this — This will help Peter. It spreads more than twice as easily for one person To another, and it’s spreading rapidly. It is really just across the country, and that is just the fact. Two months ago, only one percent of Covid in the U.S. were Delta. Now? More than 80 percent are Delta. And so, this is where we are today with this vaccine, and so it is. We are listening to the experts, the CDC guidance and this is what they are telling us. If you live in an area that has — that is highly contagious, and that has high levels you have to — they are saying — they are, you know, giving the guidance of wearing a mask to protect yourself and to protect your community and your family. That is the guidance that we’re getting.
DOOCY: And some of the preliminary stuff we’ve seen from the CDC says this new guidance for vaccinated people to mask up is based on data from people who got sick partying in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Has the White House seen any proof that quote is spreading — vaccinated people are spreading Covid who are not going to big parties?
JEAN-PIERRE: Here’s what we — we know and I’m just going to repeat again. We need to get people vaccinated. That — that is really the answer here. That is what we’re seeing from C — that’s what we’re hearing from CDC. That’s what we’re even seeing from the slides is that people need to get vaccinated. That is how we fight the Delta — the delta variant. That is how we find Covid.
Before she moved on, Doocy worked in two questions about the status of the Justice Department giving the greenlight for President Biden to mandate all American get the Covid vaccine.
To see the relevant transcript from July 30’s briefing, click here.