NBC News, NY Times, Washington Post Roundly Called Out for Horribly Irresponsible Framing of Covid Cases in Fully Vaccinated People

NBC studio

Shaun Heasley/Getty Images

“Breakthrough Covid cases are on the rise among the vaccinated,” blares a headline on an NBC News article published Friday.

However, as the sub-headline points out, “The 125,682 ‘breakthrough’ cases in 38 states represent less than .08 percent of the 164.2 million-plus people fully vaccinated since January.”

Only about half of Americans are vaccinated against Covid-19, as federal, state, and local governments have struggled to convince large swaths of the public to get the shot. Yet, that is the headline NBC News chose.

Additionally on Friday, The Washington Post had a similar, though less egregious, framing for one of its stories:

“CDC study shows three-fourths of people infected in Massachusetts covid-19 outbreak were vaccinated.” (The headline was later updated.)

Public health officials have been telling us since the beginning the vaccines aren’t perfect and that there will be breakthrough cases. We were told the Pfizer vaccine is about 94% effective, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is about 66% effective, etc. The breakthrough cases NBC and the Post are reporting were entirely expected.

Also on Friday, The New York Times tweeted that the Delta variant may be spread by vaccinated people just as easily as unvaccinated people, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Inevitably, users on Twitter let the outlets have it:


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Mike is a Mediaite senior editor who covers the news in primetime.