Everyone, even President Joe Biden, is frustrated with the amount of COVID vaccine misinformation that’s been circling online right now. It’s gotten so bad that, during his address to the nation Thursday evening, Biden made a point of calling out the vaccine-hesitant among us.
“My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?” Biden said in his speech after laying out a multi-step plan to ramping up vaccinations and reducing the surge of COVID cases happening thanks to the more contagious Delta variant. “We’ve been patient but our patience is wearing thin and your refusal has cost all of us.”
Harsh? Maybe. Necessary? Depends on who you ask. If you’re talking to CNN’s Jake Tapper, Biden’s “scolding” tone was a bit over-dramatic and directed at the wrong people.
The news anchor shared his thoughts on Biden’s address during the network’s New Day segment, telling hosts John Berman and Brianna Keilar that he thought the president’s censure was uncalled for.
“I don’t think scolding is the approach. There are these purveyors of misinformation out there, and they’re not just on the right,” Tapper said. “He’s scolding the people that are being lied to as opposed to the liars.”
"I don't think scolding is the approach. There are these purveyors of misinformation out there, and they're not just on the right. Robert Kennedy Jr. is one of the most notorious ones … [Biden's] scolding the people that are being lied to as opposed to the liars" — Jake Tapper pic.twitter.com/KYWK7IYA4r
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 10, 2021
Social media platforms like Facebook have been instrumental in convincing skeptics that the FDA-approved vaccines for COVID aren’t necessary or, worse, are dangerous, despite a lack of evidence to support those claims. Because so many of these conspiracy theories live on social media, it’s difficult to combat the stereotypes now associated with the virus and our best preventative measure of fighting it, which might be why Biden decided to directly call out the people falling for this nonsense instead. But Tapper does have a point: if we’re trying to convince more people to get their shot, taking a 360-degree approach to that by contradicting and challenging those spreading misinformation seems like a good way to do that.