by Chris Pandolfo at Blaze Media
In response to a FOIA request filed by TheBlaze, HHS revealed that it purchased advertising from major news networks including ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as cable TV news stations Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, legacy media publications including the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, digital media companies like BuzzFeed News and Newsmax, and hundreds of local newspapers and TV stations. These outlets were collectively responsible for publishing countless articles and video segments regarding the vaccine that were nearly uniformly positive about the vaccine in terms of both its efficacy and safety.
Hundreds of news organizations were paid by the federal government to advertise for the vaccines as part of a “comprehensive media campaign,” according to documents TheBlaze obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Biden administration purchased ads on TV, radio, in print, and on social media to build vaccine confidence, timing this effort with the increasing availability of the vaccines. The government also relied on earned media featuring “influencers” from “communities hit hard by COVID-19” and “experts” like White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and other academics to be interviewed and promote vaccination in the news.
Though virtually all of these newsrooms produced stories covering the COVID-19 vaccines, the taxpayer dollars flowing to their companies were not disclosed to audiences in news reports, since common practice dictates that editorial teams operate independently of media advertising departments and news teams felt no need to make the disclosure, as some publications reached for comment explained.
Congress appropriated $1 billion in fiscal year 2021 for the secretary of health to spend on activities to “strengthen vaccine confidence in the United States.” Federal law authorizes HHS to act through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to award contracts to public and private entities to “carry out a national, evidence-based campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for the prevention and control of diseases, combat misinformation about vaccines, and disseminate scientific and evidence-based vaccine-related information, with the goal of increasing rates of vaccination across all ages … to reduce and eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Anyone who has spent time reading the news, watching TV news coverage, or browsing social media in the past year has more than likely been exposed to the government’s advertising. HHS ads posted to YouTube have been viewed millions of times and commercials featuring celebrities like singer Sir Elton John and actor Sir Michael Caine have been the subject of news coverage, such as this feature from NBC News:…Continue Reading