WaPo, CNN 'fact-checkers' silent as Harris falsely claims Biden 'starting from scratch' on vaccine rollout

Dr. Fauci: Vaccine distribution effort ‘not starting from scratch’

White House chief medical adviser provides insight to the Biden administration’s vaccine distribution plan

The mainstream media’s most prominent “fact-checkers” have kept silent about Vice President Kamala Harris’ debunked claim that the Biden administration did not inherit a coronavirus vaccine rollout plan. 

During an interview with Axios co-founder Mike Allen that aired on HBO Sunday,  Harris was asked about the struggles of the administration’s response to the pandemic after nearly one month in office. 

“There was no stockpile … of vaccines,” Harris responded. “There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. We were leaving it to the states and local leaders to try and figure it out. And so in many ways, we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year!”

Harris directly contradicted White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci’s remarks last month responding to CNN reporting that made a similar claim.

“We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution,” Fauci said during a White House press briefing. 

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post fact-checker who famously kept a running tally of the falsehoods uttered during the Trump presidency, has yet to weigh in on the statement by Harris.

Over the weekend, Kessler spent much of his time fact-checking former President Trump’s legal team during the Senate impeachment trial. One of the claims he attempted to fack-check was in defense of Harris, who the Trump team bashed for promoting the Minessota Freedom Fund last year. The fact-checker insisted the claim from Trump’s lawyers that the money raised from the fund bailed out rioters, including repeat offenders, is “more complicated” than they suggested.

CNN’s star fact-checker Daniel Dale also spent the weekend fixating on the Trump defense team. Neither he nor the rest of the fact-checking team at CNN have addressed Harris’ debunked claim. 

Perhaps for Dale and CNN, however, such a fact-check would be an uncomfortable one for them to report. 


The CNN reporting that Fauci shot down from the White House press room last month cited anonymous Biden officials and the anti-Trump network heavily promoted its now-debunked “scoop” on-air.  

Neither CNN nor Washington Post’s Kessler immediately responded to Fox News’ requests for comment. 

While PolitiFact was the only prominent fact-checker to challenge Harris’ claim as “wrong,” Axios, the news outlet that the vice president made her claim to, strangely un-fact-checked her by deleting a tweet that referred to Fauci’s past remarks while sharing the clip on Twitter. 

Axios also did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 


While the fact-checkers have largely been silent, Harris’ falsehood has been echoed as truth elsewhere. PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor took the vice president at her word during her Monday appearance on MSNBC. 

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