‘Loaded and Inaccurate Question’: Psaki and Fox’s Doocy Clash Over Covid Misinformation


In a contentious back-and-forth with a Fox News reporter Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki rebuffed accusations of censorship on the grounds the government is working with social media companies to combat misinformation about coronavirus vaccines.

“For how long has the administration been spying on people’s Facebook profiles looking for vaccine misinformation?” asked White House correspondent Peter Doocy.

“Well that was quite a loaded and inaccurate question,” Psaki replied, adding that the Biden administration is frequently in “touch with a range of media outlets” before being interrupted by Doocy, to which Psaki said, “let me finish.” Psaki said that the White House is in regular contact with media outlets just like it is “in regular touch with social media platforms.”

“This is publicly open information,” she continued. “People sharing information online just as you are all reporting information on your news stations.”

Doocy responded and asked if 12 people on a list who have been flagged as spreaders of misinformation on Facebook “know that somebody at the Surgeon General’s office is going through their profile.”

Psaki said she would “be happy to get” Doocy “the citation of where that comes from. There’s no secret list. I will tell you that these are people who are sharing information on public platforms on Facebook. Information that is traveling is inaccurate.”

Psaki went on to say, “Our biggest concern here, and I frankly think it should be your concern is, the number of people who are dying around the country because they are getting misinformation that is leading them to not take a vaccine. Young people, old people, kids, children … A lot of them are being impacted by misinformation.”

Doocy replied that “the big concern” for “a lot of” Facebook users “is that this is Big Brother watching you.”

Psaki retorted, “They are 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 continued. “If you have the data to back that up I’m happy to discuss it.”

Finally, Doocy asked if the administration will ask Facebook to take down video of when the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, said at the beginning of the pandemic that there was no need for people to wear a mask.

Psaki responded that Fauci has been public and has even acknowledged himself that “science evolves. Information evolves. And we make that available in a public way to the American people.”

To conclude, Psaki gave an example of misinformation that has been out there about the coronavirus vaccines.

“I have never seen any data to suggest that the vaccines cause infertility,” she said. “That is information that is irresponsibly traveling.”

Watch above, via CSPAN.

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