00:31 GMT08 March 2021
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    Earlier, CNN reported, citing sources, that President Joe Biden was faced with the challenge of having to ‘start from scratch’ a coronavirus vaccination rollout, as he had failed to inherit any such distribution plan from the Donald Trump administration.

    CNN has been fending off a wave of vehement criticism from mainstream media for a report that suggested the Joe Biden administration was having to "build from scratch" a vaccine distribution programme as there was no such plan elaborated by the administration of Donald Trump.

    A CNN story published on 21 January had claimed, citing sources, that newly sworn-in President Joe Biden and his team were facing a tremendous challenge as they attempt to follow up on their pledges to turn the COVID-19 pandemic around and speed up vaccinating Americans.

    The new POTUS had inherited a non-existent vaccine distribution strategy from Donald Trump, insisted the report, weeks after a spate of vaccines had been approved for use in the US.

    "There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch," a source was cited as saying by CNN.

    Attempt to ‘Lower the Bar’

    Mainstream media was quick to rip into the CNN report as making false assertions, with Politico editor Sam Stein tweeting to remind readers that a vaccine distribution plan, albeit with perceived shortcomings, had been an inherent part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed.

    ​The public–private partnership, initiated by the US government, was tasked with accelerating the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

    It was initially funded with about $10 billion from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) passed by the United States Congress on 27 March 2020.

    The Washington Post similarly denounced the report by CNN as a ‘gambit’ seemingly motivated by a desire to ‘lower the expectations’ from the new administration regarding efforts to propel the nation’s vaccination plan.

    Joe Biden has touted a plan to vaccinate 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his administration, which would be one million per day.

    ​Since the vaccines became publicly available in the US in mid-December, 37,960,000 doses have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID data tracker.

    Washington Post reporter Dan Diamond tweeted that perhaps Biden's target is ‘less ambitious than it seems’.

    Other critics called the story an example of CNN framing a favourable narrative for the new White House. The Dispatch suggested the fact that CNN built the entire report on anonymous sources was suspicious.

    Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer agreed that ‘granting anonymity’ to the sources was the wrong call if the outlet sought to boost credibility.

    ​The Washington Examiner took issue with CNN allowing itself to be used as a ‘PR shop’ for the Biden team.

    ​Other media outlets quoted available US vaccination data to show that it hasn't actually been particularly bad compared to other nations.

    ​A columnist for the New York Post suggested people do the math and realise that close to 1 million shots daily were being administered in the country, while Joe Biden had unveiled a plan to do 100 million shots in 100 days. ‘It's literally the same plan’, tweeted Karol Markowicz.

    ​The nation’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday during a White House press briefing similarly threw into question the notion that the Biden administration was ‘starting from scratch’.

    "We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution," said Fauci.


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