“Biden offered an absolute guarantee Wednesday that people who get their COVID-19 vaccines are completely protected from infection, sickness and death from the coronavirus,” the AP said. “The reality is not that cut and dried.”
In all likelihood, the reason for its random act of journalism had less to do with the accuracy of the statement and more to do with the fact that it threatened a longstanding narrative that the mainstream media has perpetuated: that nobody should feel safe amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden, whose dumpster-fire of a night at the half-full Cincinnati auditorium included several other awkward and cringe-worthy moments, has, instead, been fixated on the point of surpassing a 70% benchmark in vaccination rates.
But with the remainder of Americans largely holding out—either for personal or political reasons—he has explored the possibility of abridging civil liberties with everything from door-to-door strike forces to aggressive social-media censorship.
By comparison, a bit of blatant propaganda may have seemed insignificant to the 78-year-old career politician.
Nonetheless, it forced the hand of his normally obsequious allies in the mainstream media.
A selection of AP’s “fact checks” is included below.
Disclaimer: For the sake of media analysis and criticism, these sections are preserved in their original form. Despite purporting to be ‘fact checks,’ they may contain examples of media bias, over-qualifying or excessive contextualizing of Biden’s comments that downplays the absurd reality of the claims.
BIDEN: “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die.” — town hall.
THE FACTS: His remark accurately captures the strong protection the COVID-19 vaccines provide as cases spike among people who have resisted the shots. But it overlooks the rare exceptions.
As of July 12, the government had tallied 5,492 vaccinated people who tested positive for coronavirus and were hospitalized or died. That’s out of more than 159 million fully vaccinated Americans. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said “99.5% of all deaths from COVID-19 are in the unvaccinated.”
BIDEN: “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” — town hall.
THE FACTS: Again, he painted with too broad a brush as he described in stark terms the disparity between those who got their shots and those who haven’t. The disparity is real, but a small number of breakthrough infections happen and health officials say they are not a cause for alarm.
No vaccines are perfect, and the government is keeping a close eye on whether new coronavirus mutants start to outsmart the COVID-19 shots. But for now, federal health officials say even when breakthrough infections occur, they tend to be mild — the vaccines so far remain strongly protective against serious illness.
BIDEN, asked about vaccinated people who get infected: “It may be possible, I know of none where they’re hospitalized, in ICU and or have passed away so at a minimum I can say even if they did contract it, which I’m sorry they did, it’s such a tiny percentage and it’s not life threatening.” — remarks to reporters after the event.
THE FACTS: Once again, too far. That is evident from the CDC’s finding that 5,492 vaccinated people who tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized or died as of July 12. That’s not “none.” But he is correct that it is a small percentage of the more than 159 million fully vaccinated Americans.
BIDEN: “We’ve created more jobs in the first six months of our administration than any time in American history. No president, no administration, has ever created as many jobs.” — town hall.
THE FACTS: His claim is misleading.
While Biden’s administration in the first half year as president has seen more jobs created than any other president — just over 3 million in the five months tracked by jobs reports — that’s partly because the U.S. population is larger than in the past.
When calculated as a percentage of the workforce, job growth under President Jimmy Carter increased more quickly from February through June 1977 than the same five months this year: 2.2% for Carter, compared with 2.1% for Biden.
Since the late 1970s, the U.S. population has grown by more than 100 million people.
It’s true, though, that the economy is growing rapidly—it expanded at a 6.4% annual rate in the first three months of the year—and is expected to grow this year at the fastest pace since 1984.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package contributed to the vigorous growth, but much of the expansion also reflects a broader bounce-back from the unusually sharp pandemic recession, the deepest downturn since the 1930s. Even before Biden’s package, for example, the International Monetary Fund was projecting U.S. growth of over 5% for this year.
Biden is also leaving out the fact that the U.S. economy remains 6.8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level, and the unemployment rate is an elevated 5.9%, up from a five-decade low of 3.5% before the pandemic.