How the federal government bought pro-COVID vax propaganda (and silenced critical voices)
Voices urging caution over the experimental mRNA shots that were relentlessly promoted throughout the media (and by the medical establishment) were confined to independent media like American Thinker until quite recently when the evidence of adverse effects and lack of efficacy became almost impossible to ignore. How did such media uniformity, encompassing all ideological stripes from Fox News and Newsmax to MSNBC and the Washington Post, come about?
According to reports by Chris Pandolfo in Blaze Media and Emerald Robinson at Substack, taxpayers financed an unprecedented advertising campaign in virtually every major national media outlet that resulted in uniformly positive coverage of the vaccines rushed to market to combat COVID. Not just the ads themselves, but the news coverage offered by these outlets positively covered the jabs and suppressed questions about them from skeptics.
If these charges are true, they amount to an abdication of independent journalism and membership in a propaganda machine on the part of outlets that claim that advertising does not affect their editorial stances.
In response to a FOIA request filed by TheBlaze, HHS revealed that it purchased advertising from major news networks including ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as cable TV news stations Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, legacy media publications including the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, digital media companies like BuzzFeed News and Newsmax, and hundreds of local newspapers and TV stations. These outlets were collectively responsible for publishing countless articles and video segments regarding the vaccine that were nearly uniformly positive about the vaccine in terms of both its efficacy and safety.
Hundreds of news organizations were paid by the federal government to advertise for the vaccines as part of a "comprehensive media campaign," according to documents TheBlaze obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Biden administration purchased ads on TV, radio, in print, and on social media to build vaccine confidence, timing this effort with the increasing availability of the vaccines. The government also relied on earned media featuring "influencers" from "communities hit hard by COVID-19" and "experts" like White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and other academics to be interviewed and promote vaccination in the news. (snip)
Congress appropriated $1 billion in fiscal year 2021 for the secretary of health to spend on activities to "strengthen vaccine confidence in the United States." Federal law authorizes HHS to act through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to award contracts to public and private entities to "carry out a national, evidence-based campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for the prevention and control of diseases, combat misinformation about vaccines, and disseminate scientific and evidence-based vaccine-related information, with the goal of increasing rates of vaccination across all ages ... to reduce and eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases."
The money didn't just create ads:
The COVID-19 Public Education Campaign by HHS also used earned media outreach — word of mouth marketing — with the goal of having "trusted messengers and influencers" speak to news organizations to "provide factual, timely information and steps people can take to protect themselves, their families, and their communities."
As a result of that effort, various government officials have frequently been quoted by reporters covering the COVID-19 pandemic, offering factual information on vaccine efficacy and safety.
Even more disturbing is what Robinson reports from anonymous sources at Newsmax, from which she was let go a few months ago.
Let me add some personal details to the largest corporate media scandal of the year: I have been contacted by a whistleblower inside Newsmax who has confirmed the broad details of this story. That insider confirms: Newsmax executives agreed to take the money from Biden's Health and Human Services (HHS) to push only positive coverage of the new COVID vaccines.
Let me add another personal detail: I was contacted by top Newsmax executives and told to halt any negative coverage of the vaccines in 2021. I was told that "it was problematic" for Newsmax. I was given some version of this warning multiple times by multiple executives. Obviously, I did not heed their advice.
Of course, almost everyone else employed in the corporate media did keep their mouths shut. I discussed the outright ban on negative vaccine coverage with other Newsmax producers and top anchors at the time, and they were aware that they could not provide negative coverage of the news vaccines without repercussions from the network. I was contacted by PR experts who worked with Newsmax and was told that medical experts and doctors who might say negative things about the new vaccines would not be booked as guests at all.
In other words, the Biden Administration's money did not just pay for pro-vaccine advertising at outlets like Fox and Newsmax: it paid for an outright ban on any negative coverage. There's a word for that kind of thing, and the word is: propaganda. Corporate news executives with no medical training and no expertise began to make ludicrous announcements that were basically blanket endorsements of the deadly and untested vaccines.