With Dem-Loving Press, Science Is Whatever Biden Says It Is at the Time

Ya gotta love it.

Here was the May 13, 2021 headline on MSNBC: 

Biden: ‘Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do 

President Joe Biden said if you are fully vaccinated you no longer need to wear a mask, after the CDC updated guidance. Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated and be respectful of those wearing masks. 

Over there at The Washington Post in April was this Op-Ed by Dr. Leanna Wen. It centered around President Joe Biden’s then-recent speech to a Joint Session of Congress. The headline: “With masks and distancing, Biden’s speech sent the wrong message about the power of our vaccines.”

And what, exactly, was that wrong message? The Post Op-Ed by Dr. Wen began this way, bold print for emphasis supplied:

“With his speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, President Biden missed his biggest opportunity to reduce vaccine hesitancy.

The problem wasn’t the content of his speech — it was the setting.

The 200 attendees entered the 1,600-person-capacity House chamber spaced apart and wearing masks. Some appeared to be double-masked. They were asked not to make physical contact, though some still fist-bumped or shook hands. There were markers indicating which seats could be occupied, with numerous empty spaces in between. As the president spoke, the vice president and speaker of the House sat behind him, both clad in masks.

If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was six months ago, before Americans had access to safe, highly effective vaccines.  

…Imagine if Wednesday’s joint session had required that all attendees be fully vaccinated. Those who were not vaccinated were not welcome. But those permitted in could walk into the room, take off their mask, sit next to one another, and listen to a presidential address — just as they did in 2019.

The science shows that could have been done. It would have sent an unequivocal message that vaccines are safe, effective and the key to ending the pandemic. Instead, the American people got a different message, one that could impede the nation’s vaccine progress at a time when we can least afford it.”

Hmmm. Now? In late July? Here’s the headline from The New York Times based on a very big policy change from Biden per the CDC:

As Infections Rise, C.D.C. Urges Some Vaccinated Americans to Wear Masks Again

In communities with growing caseloads, vaccinated and unvaccinated people should return to wearing masks indoors in public areas, health officials said.

The new commands from Biden caused The Washington Post to say this: “Biden’s shift on masking creates new political difficulties, policy challenges.” 

Talk about an understatement.

Now The Post was singing an entirely different tune from when it ran Dr. Wen’s Op-Ed that said that “vaccines are safe, effective and the key to ending the pandemic.” This time around The Post was saying something else entirely, bold print for emphasis supplied:

“Standing maskless in the White House Rose Garden on a sunny May afternoon, President Biden heralded some happy news. “If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask,” the president declared. “It’s vaxxed or masked.”

Less than three months later, amid rising cases driven by the delta variant and more breakthrough coronavirus infections, Biden was forced this week to back away from that proclamation. The administration issued new guidance Tuesday that encourages fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in places with substantial infection levels, encompassing more than 60 percent of the nation’s counties.

This new landscape — and, some say, the administration’s less than clear messaging — is complicating Biden’s efforts to show that he is still leading the United States out of the pandemic, his presidency’s central promise.”

Unless one is so thoroughly living in the wonderland that is the liberal media bubble, the media problem here is self-evident. Namely, the liberal media has a bias to take the word of the liberal president —  and just run with it.  As long as Biden – and decidedly not Trump – is president? Then Americans can be assured per the Biden allies in the media that what Joe Biden says about the vaccines is golden —  it can be taken to the bank.

So when Biden said “If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. It’s vaxxed or masked,” his friends in the liberal media simply nodded and ran with the message. Now? Now they are burned, their credibility once again back in the dumpster. They allowed for no caution, and no skeptical “follow the science” scientific inquiry. They simply swallowed what Biden had to say without question —  and now they have to walk it back.

Look. This story isn’t about vaccines and masks. The real story here is the liberal media’s innate left-wing bias led them —  yet again —  into believing something was so – simply because a liberal president said it was so. Then, when the story turns out to not be as presented, they are caught red-faced.

The New York Post, no fans of Biden or the liberal media, accurately summarized this problem in a Friday lede editorial from the paper’s editorial board. It headlined this about CDC boss Dr. Rochelle Walensky: “It’s time to take CDC chief Rochelle Walensky off the air.” 

Said the editorial: 

“Then there’s the CDC’s foolish about-face on masking for the vaccinated: Even if it were better qualified, the message all too many Americans get is that the agency’s advisories are arbitrary and senseless — or, worse, that it has lost confidence in the vaccines to protect us right now.”

The simple fact here is that the line of communication goes from Dr. Walensky to President Biden to the mainstream media, sometimes actually leaving the President out entirely, with Walensky communicating directly with the media.

And the media laps it all up. Totally not understanding that, not only as The Post says – that the “message all too many Americans get is that the agency’s advisories are arbitrary and senseless” – but that as a corollary millions of Americans already not trusting of the media believe that what the country is being told by that media on vaccines and masks is “arbitrary and senseless.” 

Bad enough that the media is not trusted on a smorgasbord of political issues of the day. But to damage that trust when it comes to getting the facts —  the science — right on life-or-death issues like a vaccine?

Not good.

Not good at all.

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NY Times Seizes on Alarmist CDC Guidance to Stir Front-Page Covid Fears: ‘Universal Masking’

New York Times covid-beat reporter Apoorva Mandavilli’s overheated lead story on Saturday, “Immunized People Can Spread Virus, the C.D.C. Reports – Cases Among Vaccinated Are Relatively Rare and Tend to Be less Severe,” seized upon rushed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control to push once again for universal masking.

The numbers from a comprehensive study of a virus outbreak over the July 4th holiday in the packed coastal resort town of Provincetown, Mass., in fact look disappointing, even alarming at first glance. But are the figures really as bad as the Times wants us to think?

Mandavilli’s coronavirus coverage is notoriously partisan and pessimistic, and her latest prominent piece has a five-alarm fire feel belied by the relatively calm headline deck from the print edition.

In yet another unexpected and unwelcome twist in the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Friday a report strongly suggesting that fully immunized people with so-called breakthrough infections of the Delta variant can spread the virus to others just as readily as unvaccinated people.

The vaccines remain powerfully effective against severe illness and death, and the agency said infections in vaccinated people were comparatively rare. But the revelation follows a series of other recent findings about the Delta variant that have upended scientists’ understanding of the coronavirus.

In the new report, which was intended to explain the agency’s sudden revision to its masking advice for vaccinated Americans, the C.D.C. described an outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., this month that quickly mushroomed to 470 cases in Massachusetts alone, as of Thursday.

….

An internal agency document, which was obtained on Thursday night by The Times, suggested even greater alarm among C.D.C. scientists and raised harrowing questions about the virus and its trajectory.

The Delta variant is about as contagious as chickenpox, the document noted, and universal masking may become necessary. Still, breakthrough infections overall are infrequent, according to the agency.

….

The gathering research into the variant throws into disarray the country’s plans to return to offices and schools this fall, and revives difficult questions about masking, testing and other precautions that Americans had hoped were behind them.

It’s worth noting that this disturbing, super-spreader holiday in Provincetown resulted in a total of four hospitalizations (two of which were with pre-existing health conditions) and zero deaths.

The panicky tone held.

Indeed, the questions now facing Americans seem nearly inexhaustible, almost insoluble. Should companies have employees return to workplaces if vaccinated people might, on occasion, spread the variant? What does this mean for shops, restaurants and schools? Are unmasked family gatherings again off the table?

An earlier report by Mandavilli also began melodramatically.

The Delta variant is much more contagious, more likely to break through protections afforded by the vaccines and may cause more severe disease than all other known versions of the virus, according to an internal presentation circulated within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….the internal document lays out a broader and even grimmer view of the variant.

Allahpundit at Hot Air, who tends toward Covid pessimism, read the CDC findings and his analysis is worth reading. He thinks the report’s results are being overstated and the amazing power of the vaccines are being understated.

Having now read through it, I have the same reaction as Greg Pollowitz: “[W]hat the CDC data on Provincetown actually shows is that even under perfect conditions for a superspreader event, the vaccine works spectacularly well.”

He also noted the difference between cases, which involve actual tests, vs. asymptomatic infections that go unrecorded. Generally, people with symptoms are far more likely to be tested. He writes, “If vaccinated people aren’t infecting others when they’re asymptomatic then Delta is much less of a threat than the CDC made it seem. And the study acknowledges that towards the end: ‘[A]symptomatic breakthrough infections might be underrepresented because of detection bias.’”

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How Has South Park Survived the Left’s Cancel Culture Jihad?

Cancel Culture grandfathered in a few pop culture touchstones between outrage cycles.

One example? Blazing Saddles. The 1974 western couldn’t be made today, as creator Mel Brooks repeatedly reminds us. Yet there’s been no concentrated effort to cancel the satire and its liberal use of the “n-word” to mock bigotry, not elevate it.

Perhaps the woke mob has just enough self-awareness to understand that would prove every critics’ point about them.

Another pop culture institution that has yet to be canceled? South Park. It’s not for lack of material.
The long-running Comedy Central show, from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, has spent the last two decades punching every hot-button theme western culture has to offer.

Racism
COVID-19
Trans Rights
Gun laws
Religion
Censorship
Gay marriage

You name it, South Park has slathered rude and crude comedy all over it. And it’s still standing.

Four years, ago, Parker told podcaster Chris Hardwick he’s shocked the show had lasted so long given the culture’s rising intolerance to cutting-edge humor.

 

 

Parker points to the “P.C. Principal” subplot, introduced six years ago in Season 19, as the moment he and Stone realized they had a juicy target on their backs.

“The culture was changing, and colleges were changing to the point where we thought, ‘OK. This is coming,’” Parker told Hardwick during their 2017 chat. “One of these days now, we’re gonna get, ‘how dare they f***ing did that’ and get run out of town,” Parker told the podcast. “What people don’t realize is that we’ve been waiting for that moment 20 years.”

“We’re still waiting for [cancellation],” he added. “The fishing poles are in the car.”

Parker anticipated the worst after the release of the 1999 comedy, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The same sentiment hit them after they created 2004’s Team America: World Police.

That fear didn’t impact South Park or its creative vision.

“We have other s*** we can do. We have other things we’re good at. We’re both still Colorado boys,” he said.

Parker looked back at the show’s earliest days during the podcast, a time when the most “outrageous” element on the show was a boy with a gay dog.

“That’s G-rated now, it’s like a Disney movie,” he said.

Some of Parker’s comments seem prescient in retrospect. He noted how one “outrage cycle” is quickly replaced by a newer, shinier model. And, in many instances, the source of said outrage is something South Park previously pulled off without incident.

“We’ve done worse than that. It’s crazy,” he said.

So why hasn’t a South Park scalp been added to the woke mob’s mantle?

Being unofficially grandfathered in has kept the show alive, to a degree. The show began in the 1990s, a time when political correctness was just starting to fester in western culture.

It helps explain why Social Justice Warriors stood down as insult comic Don Rickles kept his shtick going right up until his death in 2017. A younger comic would have found out the hard way the mob doesn’t allow the kind of sharp elbows Rickles threw in his prime.

There’s another factor in play.

The woke mob is teeming with bullies. They rely on peer pressure to dominate their prey, using the media to double down on their attacks.

“You retreat, they encroach,” Adam Carolla explained of their tactics. Social Justice types pick on those they deem weak, either for lack of material wealth or social clout. It’s why Joe and Jane Doe are so vulnerable to Cancel Culture attacks. They lack the resources to fight back.

And so, in many cases, they back down rather than surrender their livelihoods. Can you blame them?

Some high-profile talents are willing and able to stand up to woke bullies. Carolla remains a pristine example. He created a podcast empire on his own terms, in part to say whatever he wants without fear of cancellation.

He takes his independent streak further, though. 

He started his most recent book, “I’m Your Emotional Support Animal,” with a simple message. I won’t apologize. Ever. So don’t even ask. And, amazingly enough, they don’t. He’s bully-proof, and they know it.

South Park operates in a similar fashion. Parker and Stone do what they want, say what they want and never go near an apology. It doesn’t always stop the censors, of course. Five installments of the show are no longer widely available because they include cartoon images of Muhammad.

The duo didn’t apologize for that run of shows. Nor have they pulled many, if any, punches in the new Age of Woke.

It’s why the bullies pick on other targets they think they can overwhelm. Parker may think he’ll be canceled one day, but his willingness to stand up for his creative rights may save him in the end.

[Cross-posted from Hollywood in Toto.]

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FLASHBACK: Before Obama Gave Chris Matthews a ‘Thrill,’ He Caused a ‘Chill’

Years before Barack Obama gave Chris Matthews a “thrill” UP his leg, the Democrat prompted a “chill” IN his leg. In fact, it was 17 years ago this week that the former MSNBC host swooned over the Democrat the media would fall in love with.

During John Kerry’s Democratic National Convention, on July 27, 2004, Matthews used eerily similar language to his more famous outburst: “I have to tell ya a little chill in my, in my legs now. That is an amazing moment in history right there. It is really an amazing moment. A keynoter like I’ve never heard.” 

 

 

Sound familiar?  At 10:13 PM on February 12, 2008, after Obama won the Democratic presidential primaries in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C., the Hardball host reacted this way: 

I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often. 

 

 

This was too much even for the far-left Keith Olbermann, who weirdly acted as the voice of reason. Olbermann cautioned, “Steady.” Matthews continued: 

No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.

As I noted for the 10th anniversary of the “thrill” quote, Matthews became sensitive towards the all the fun being had at his expense. On May 22, 2012, Steve Scully of C-SPAN innocently asked him about it. The visibly irritated host complained:  

 

 

 

I’m an un-traditional person, but I have traditional values and I love the country and I said so. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said so because I’ve given a lot of jackasses a chance to talk about it. I hope you feel satisfied that you raised the most obvious question that is raised by every horse’s ass right-winger I ever bump into.         

Matthews is no longer with MSNBC. So who will hosts like Joy Reid and Chris Hayes get “thrills” and “chills” from in 2024? Joe Biden? Kamala Harris? Only time will tell. 

For more examples from our FLASHBACK series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.

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