White House to Fox: Why isn't your 'biggest concern' the number of people dying from vaccine misinformation?
Fox News' Peter Doocy pelted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki with extremist conspiracy theory questions on Friday related to a study released this week finding just 12 people on Facebook are responsible for 65% of all coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
His questions were so contrived and baseless Psaki at one point was forced to ask why the Fox News correspondent's "biggest concern" wasn't the increased numbers of Americans dying from coronavirus disinformation, which also happens to be the very disinformation he and his network are spreading.
"Okay so these 12 people who you have on a list, 12 individuals. Do they know that somebody at the Surgeon General's Office is going through their profile?" Doocy asked.
The information the White House shared came from this study by a group that is not a part of the federal government, and was published in countless news reports.
"Our biggest concern here, and I, frankly, think it should be your biggest concern, is [the misinformation] leading them to not take a vaccine. Young people, old people, kids, children – this is all being, a lot of them are being impacted by misinformation," Psaki said.
Doocy refused to address that, but went on the claim that the "big concern though, I think for a lot of people on Facebook is that now this is big brother watching you."
Minutes earlier he had falsely claimed that the Biden administration was "spying" on Americans' Facebook profiles.
Psaki did not respond to that falsehood – again, the information comes from a study of Facebook pages that are public on the social media platform, but slammed Doocy for prioritizing a conspiracy theory over Americans dying.
"They're more concerned about that than people dying across the country because of a pandemic where misinformation is traveling on social media platforms? That feels unlikely to me," she said. "If you have the data to back that up I'm happy to discuss it."
Doocy also fired up the old attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said at the start of the pandemic that masks were not necessary – which at that point was based on the general scientific belief guided by the number of cases and what was known at the time, coupled with the dire lack of PPE for medical first responders.
"There are videos of Dr. Fauci from 2020 before anybody had a vaccine and he is out there saying there's no reason to be walking around with a mask and so is the administration going to contact Facebook and ask them to take that down?" Doocy asked.
Psaki refused to entertain that old conspiracy theory other than to remind Doocy that "science evolves" and "information evolves," but then slammed those who are spreading a false claim about the vaccine.
"I have never seen any data such as suggest that, that the vaccines cause infertility, that is information that is irresponsible," she said.
"Our biggest concern here, and frankly I think it should be your biggest concern, is the number of people who are dying around the country because they're getting misinformation that is leading them to not take a vaccine" -- Jen Psaki to Peter Doocy pic.twitter.com/xOj7j450dj
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 16, 2021
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