After releasing my three-part series earlier this year showing how multiple media outlets refused to platform dissent on the Covid vaccine, I was asked on multiple podcasts why this was the case. Ideological groupthink, fear of exacerbating institutional distrust and financial motives were on my list of potential explanations, but I did not have concrete evidence.
As I highlighted in my first piece, the responses I got from editors claiming their publication’s “pro-vaccine” allegiance was quite jarring. More than anything else, a publication should be “pro-truth” – whether that means highlighting the astounding benefits of a therapeutic or exposing its serious side effects. The idea that a whole media corporation would take a firm stance on a novel, experimental product is antithetical to the core purpose of journalism.
As it turns out, mainstream media’s nearly monolithic coverage of mRNA vaccines and other Covid measures can be at least partially explained by a clear financial interest. Recently, independent journalist Breanna Morello – who left Fox News because of draconian vaccine mandates in New York City – alerted me to a FOIA request filed by the conservative media company Blaze, which found a number of major media outlets were paid to promote the Covid vaccine. Such venues included the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, NBC, CNN, Fox News and several others. Blaze’s report received little coverage – even in conservative media (perhaps because some of those outlets were also paid by HHS) ideologically predisposed to criticise government-fuelled narratives on the pandemic.