CBS Fails to Update False Claim U.S. Unable to Get More Pfizer Vaccine

Two weeks ago, each of the three major broadcast networks ran with dubious reporting that claimed the United States was unable to obtain more of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, because President Trump didn’t order enough. Disregarding the fact there was no way to know which vaccine would get approval first, they all leaped at the opportunity to bash Trump. But on Tuesday, there was new reporting that said Trump and Pfizer were nearing a deal to secure around 100 million more doses in time for summer.

It was great news that went completely unreported by CBS Evening News, while ABC’s World News Tonight, and NBC Nightly News updated their reporting to reflect the development.

On December 7, CBS actually expanded the original New York Times reporting to suggest Trump didn’t buy enough of any COVID vaccine. “Because there are some reports out there that the White House could have purchased more doses of vaccine but didn’t,” anchor Norah O’Donnell declared as she teed up White House correspondent Paula Reid.

At the time, the U.S. had purchased 600 million doses from six different manufacturers. It was a fact Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar used to bust the false narrative while on NBC. With the new Pfizer doses, that meant the Trump administration had secured over 700 million does for a country with a population of over 328 million people (most of the vaccines require two doses).

Reid reinforced O’Donnell’s lie with a, “That is right, Norah.” Then adding: “The New York Times is reporting that over the summer Pfizer offered the Trump administration additional doses of the vaccine but the government declined. And now, reportedly, Pfizer cannot provide those to the U.S. because they’ve already been allocated to other countries.”

CBS refused to bring up the new reporting from The Times about the U.S. being on the verge of sealing that new deal.

While CBS refused to update the story, NBC gave it just 13 seconds. “Also tonight, The New York Times and CNBC are reporting that Pfizer and the Trump administration is nearing a deal for another 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in exchange for priority access to raw materials,” noted correspondent Tom Costello as he wrapped up his segment about public officials getting the vaccine.

ABC, on the other hand, went back to the good news a few times totaling one minute, 4 seconds.

“Just a couple of nights until Christmas, of course, and we have news on Pfizer reportedly nearing a deal tonight with the Trump administration on tens of millions of new doses of the vaccine,” announced anchor David Muir at the very top of the program.

It was then revisited by correspondent Stephanie Ramos. “Tonight, a major deal reportedly in the works to get tens of millions more vaccines to Americans,” she reported. “According to The New York Times, Pfizer is negotiating with the U.S. government to deliver as many as 110 million much-needed doses between April and June of next year.”

She also had a statement from Pfizer, which said “We continue to work collaboratively with the U.S. government to get doses of our COVID-19 vaccine to as many Americans as possible,” but they couldn’t comment on if “confidential discussions” were going on.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
December 22, 2020
6:32:30 p.m. Eastern

(…)

DAVID MUIR: Good evening and it’s great to have you with us here on this Tuesday night. Just a couple of nights until Christmas, of course, and we have news on Pfizer reportedly nearing a deal tonight with the Trump administration on tens of millions of new doses of the vaccine.

(…)

6:33:22 p.m. Eastern

Tonight, The New York Times reporting Pfizer is nearing that deal. Millions more doses for the U.S. What the company is now saying tonight.

(…)

6:34:04 p.m. Eastern

STEPHANIE RAMOS: Tonight, a major deal reportedly in the works to get tens of millions more vaccines to Americans. According to The New York Times, Pfizer is negotiating with the U.S. government to deliver as many as 110 million much-needed doses between April and June of next year.

(…)

6:35:58 p.m. Eastern

MUIR: And I want to turn back to that news late today, Stephanie, the report about a deal for tens of millions of additional doses from Pfizer for the coming spring. What’s Pfizer saying so far tonight?

RAMOS: Well, David, Pfizer has just provided us with a statement, I’ll read it to you. “We continue to work collaboratively with the U.S. government to get doses of our COVID-19 vaccine to as many Americans as possible. The company is not able to comment on any confidential discussions that may be taking place with the U.S. Government.”

(…)

NBC Nightly News
December 22, 2020
7:07:29 p.m. Eastern

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

TOM COSTELLO: Also tonight, The New York Times and CNBC are reporting that Pfizer and the Trump administration is nearing a deal for another 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in exchange for priority access to raw materials.

(…)

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