CNN has praised the coronavirus vaccines in recent months but the liberal network was quick to raise concerns about the life-saving shots prior to the 2020 presidential election when then-President Trump would have benefited from it.
CNN recently used Trump announcing he took the coronavirus vaccine as the impetus to shame Trump supporters who remain skeptical. The liberal network ran a segment that featured reporter Donie O’Sullivan speaking with Trump supporters who didn’t plan on taking it.
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“Vaccine hesitancy, in part fueled by dangerous misinformation, is higher among Republican and Trump voters than other parts of the U.S. population,” O’Sullivan told viewers.
However, CNN has a history of skepticism about the vaccine when it fits the network’s liberal agenda.
It started on Sept. 6 when vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris said during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that she wouldn’t trust a vaccine approved on Trump’s watch.
“He has created false expectations for the American people and American families, even though, if he had listened to the scientists and the experts, he would have understood the gravity of it and the power that he, as President of the United States, has to actually save lives. And none of those were his priorities. His priority was to do whatever he thought was politically expedient. And so, no, I would not trust his word. I would trust the word of public health experts and scientists, but not Donald Trump,” Harris said.
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Bash responded, “Let’s just say there is a vaccine that is approved and even distributed before the election. Would you get it?”
Harris didn’t exactly endorse the vaccine that she took three months later as vice president-elect.
“Well, I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump. And it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about,” Harris said. “I will not take his word for it.”
Later that day, CNN replayed an excerpt of Harris’ interview and prefaced it by saying “medical experts are skeptical” of Trump’s timeline.
“The CDC has been telling states in the U.S. to get ready to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine by the end of October. And President Donald Trump is saying we could probably have it then. That’s what he said. Now medical experts are skeptical. And so is Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris,” CNN anchor Michael Holmes said before airing a portion of Harris’ comments.
CNN later replayed the excerpt of Harris again, this time adding a new disclaimer.
“It’s fair to wonder whether Americans will actually trust a vaccine that seems rushed to market,” CNN anchor Kim Brunhuber said before re-airing the Harris footage.
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CNN then enlisted medical contributor Dr. Abdul El-Sayed to explain Americans “have a reason to be worried” when it comes to Trump’s vaccine.
“Well, the American people are really, really focused on whether or not this vaccine will have come out of a scientific process or out of a political process. And people have reason to worry because of what Donald Trump himself has said and because of what we’ve seen him do, in terms of pushing his FDA commissioner, Stephen Hahn, to push forward emergency use authorizations for things like convalescent plasma,” El-Sayed told viewers.
“I think Senator Harris is rightly pointing out that almost all the scientists worry about the impact of politicization of this process and have told us that the probability of having a safe and effective vaccine coming out of that scientific process by October is extremely low. And, obviously, we can’t forget that the context of this is in the midst of an election season and there has been worry about an October surprise,” El-Sayed continued.
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Trump advisor Jason Miller later spoke with Bash and accused Harris of questioning the legitimacy of the vaccine. The CNN anchor pushed back, claiming Harris only questioned Trump, not the vaccine itself.
“What they are questioning is whether it is going to be something that is safe given the fact that our reporting and others’ reporting is that the president is pressuring the scientists to get it done fast before the election, so it helps him with the election,” Bash said.
The following day, CNN’s Jim Acosta reported Trump lashed out at Harris for spreading fears about a coronavirus vaccine, but the liberal reporter sounded skeptical of the vaccine himself.
“Trump used the White House, as you said, as a campaign backdrop, as he hinted once again that a vaccine could be available before Election Day, even though his own administration health experts have said repeatedly, don’t bet on it,” Acosta said to set up footage of Trump’s comments about Harris.
“The president’s claims about an Election Day vaccine have been contradicted by his own health experts, who say that’s highly unlikely,” Acosta said afterwards.
Later on “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond defended Harris and denied Trump’s claims that she was against the vaccine.
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“Trump is mischaracterizing Harris’ answer when asked if she would trust a vaccine touted by Trump … Trump, who has repeatedly undermined public health experts and pressured government agencies to rush a vaccine, insisting Harris is playing politics,” Diamond said. “Even as he continues to suggest, without any evidence, that a vaccine could be ready by Election Day.”
CNN anchor Jim Sciutto asked a medical expert on Sept. 14, “How should folks be confident that, if and when this is available, it will be safe and that’s because of the science, not because of the politics?”
CNN was at it again weeks later, when medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen declared people need to trust the vaccine for it to be effective.
“For a vaccine to be lifesaving, it needs to be safe and effective but also trusted. People need to have trust and need to understand that it’s science driving the process and not political pressure and manipulation,” Wen said on Sept. 30.
Leading up to the election, CNN aired a reoccurring package where Wen said Trump’s rhetoric about wanting a vaccine prior to Election Day is dangerous.
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“It makes people who are not by any means vaccine skeptics normally, it makes them skeptical of the vaccine,” she said.
CNN’s Kate Boulduan declared on Sept. 24 that “there are so many people … that are concerned” about “the injection of politics into vaccine approval,” while CNN analyst Jessica Huseman once mocked Trump for saying the vaccine would be available in 2020.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shortly after the 2020 election.