CBS Avoids Criticism of Biden Testing Flop

With the surge in the new Omicron variant spreading rapidly throughout the country, and the Biden Administration seemingly being caught off guard by its spread, the CBS Evening News worked to run cover their friends in the White House by avoiding any mention of Biden’s COVID failures.

In a report by CBS political correspondent Ed O’Keefe on the skyrocketing cases of Omicron, he only mentioned Biden’s new plan to fight the virus, and skipped any mention of his past failures. Most notably, he omitted the Biden Administration dismissing the idea of shipping COVID tests to Americans: 

With growing testing lines around the country, the president announced plans to distribute 500 million at-home testing kits next month, available for order online for free. And new federal testing sites will be opening nationwide, first in densely populated New York City.

That portion of the CBS segment only lasted 16 seconds. In contrast, NBC Nightly News spent one minute and 11 seconds on the Biden Administration backtracking on its testing distribution plans, and how their ability to fight the spread of Omnicron has been a failure:

GABE GUTIERREZ: The President under pressure to do more for states with overburdened hospitals. And shortage of covid tests, announcing that starting next month, his administration will distribute 500 million at home COVID tests to any American who wants one by mail for free. The President is also deploying a thousand members of the military to help understaffed hospitals, and opening new testing sites.

NBC then played an exchange between NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki over shipping COVID tests to Americans who need it:

MARA LIASSON [on 12/06/21]: Why not just make em’ free, and have them available everywhere? 

JEN PSAKI [on 12/06/21]: Should we just send one to every American?

LIASSON [on 12/06/21]: Maybe

PSAKI [on 12/06/21]: Then, then what happens if every American has one test. How much does that cost and then what happens after that? 

After playing that exchange, Gutierrez aired an separate back-and-forth from earlier in the day between PBS Anchor Yamiche Alcindor and Biden over whether the administration was caught off guard: 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: What’s your message to Americans who are trying to get tested now and who are not able to get tested and who are wondering what took so long to ramp up testing?

BIDEN: Come on! What took so long. 

ALCINDOR: I am hearing that from people who are trying to get tested now before the holidays.

BIDEN: Well, what took so long is it didn’t take long at all. What happened was that Omicron virus spread even more rapidly than anybody thought.

The contrast between CBS and NBC’s coverage was striking. If CBS was looking to stay on Biden’s good side, they sure did a good job on that front. Meanwhile, NBC committed a rare act of journalism. We like to give credit where it’s due here at NewsBusters. 

CBS running cover for the Biden Administration’s COVID failures was brought to you by Progressive and Vicks. Their contact information is linked. CBS has also asked you to text CBS Evening News Anchor Nora O’Donnell at this number:(202) 217-1107

To read the relevant transcripts of both segments click “expand”: 

CBS Evening News
12/21/2021
6:36:15 p.m.

ED O’KEEFE: With growing testing lines around the country, the President announced plans to distribute 500 million at-home testing kits next month, available for order online for free. And new federal testing sites will be opening nationwide, first in densely populated New York City.

NBC Nightly News
12/21/2021
7:03:06 p.m.

GABE GUTIERREZ: The President under pressure to do more for states with overburdened hospitals. And shortage of covid tests, announcing that starting next month, his administration will distribute 500 million at home COVID tests to any American who wants one by mail for free. The President is also deploying a thousand members of the military to help understaffed hospitals, and opening new testing sites.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We’re taking even more steps to make it easier to get tested.

GUTIERREZ:: And it comes just two weeks after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had downplayed the need for more at-home tests.

MARA LIASSON [on 12/06/21]: Why not just make em’ free, and have them available everywhere?

JEN PSAKI [on 12/06/21]: Should we just send one to every American?

LIASSON [on 12/06/21]: Maybe

PSAKI [on 12/06/21]: Then, then what happens if every American has one test. How much does that cost and then what happens after that?

GUTIERREZ: Today the President was pressed on whether his administration was caught off guard.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: What’s your message to Americans who are trying to get tested now and who are not able to get tested and who are wondering what took so long to ramp up testing

BIDEN: Come on! What took so long.

ALCINDOR: I am hearing that from people who are trying to get tested now before the holidays.

BIDEN: Well, what took so long is it didn’t take long at all. What happened was that Omicron virus spread even more rapidly than anybody thought.

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