The December 14 edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle featured host Laura Ingraham playing a series of cable news clips that showed medical experts or TV news figures allegedly criticizing President Donald Trump for “promising to deliver a vaccine to the American people by the end of the year.” Except all but one of Ingraham’s clips were taken out of context to suggest arguments that were not actually made.
In reality, many of the videos featured experts and media figures criticizing Trump’s push to debut a vaccine before Election Day, not before the end of 2020. One clip purported to show a TV host downplaying a vaccine timeline -- even though in the fuller context he was far more optimistic. Another clip was actually a journalist using some of Trump’s own words from the 2020 Republican National Convention to ask her guest a question. Only one video, that of MSNBC analyst Irwin Redlener, was not taken out of context.
Ingraham’s montage contained a CNN clip of immunologist Rick Bright saying, “The reality is it’s irresponsible and reckless for the president of the United States to drive the evaluation of something as critical as a vaccine.” But Ingraham cut out Bright’s next five words: “to meet an election timeline.” Bright’s comment was about Trump trying to “move that vaccine to meet that target date” of the election.
The montage also featured epidemiologist Saskia Popescu saying of the vaccine timeline, “It’s extremely concerning, I think it’s very premature.” But Popescu and CNN’s John Berman were explicitly discussing, in Berman’s words, “a pre-election vaccine push” that Popescu worried was “politicized.” She also made a reference to the dangers of a hypothetical vaccine release date of November 1, two days before the general election.
Ingraham also played a clip of journalist Christiane Amanpour on her PBS show (incorrectly identified as Amanpour’s other employer, CNN), saying: “He's talking about pumping this out years ahead of a more traditional administration.” This clip was taken completely out of context, as Amanpour was referencing Trump’s own words from the 2020 RNC, claiming that he would have “vaccines pouring out years ahead of what they would have been under a more traditional -- let's use that term because it's nicer -- a more traditional administration.”
Ingraham concluded that first montage by laughing at the people she mostly took out of context and admonished “the media poodles” for running with it, before playing more out-of-context clips to misleadingly attack media figures for things they didn’t quite say.
Ingraham played a clip of Morning Joe chief medical correspondent Dave Campbell saying that “realistically, [the vaccine’s] going to be in 2021 if you just listen to most of the experts, including Dr. Fauci.” However, Campbell was talking specifically about the Moderna vaccine, which had not yet been endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration at the time Ingraham’s show aired (though it was endorsed on December 15).
The next clip in Ingraham’s second montage was of CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, saying, “Every expert I’ve talked to has said there is no way.” The montage omitted that Cohen also reported that it could happen, but a Trump official told her they had “not spoken to a single scientist who thinks there is any way to get shots in arms by Election Day,” once again revealing the election-related framing Ingraham erased to fabricate her smears.
Ingraham also included a clip of Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough telling Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “We’ve heard for a while that it’s going to take 18 months to two years to get a vaccine.” But this time she omitted that Scarborough also said he was “optimistic … that we may beat the 18-month timeline” due to unprecedented levels of global cooperation.
Finally, Ingraham played a clip of CNN anchor Jake Tapper saying, “This is a promise from the president based not on scientific fact. ... This is misinformation based, it seems obvious, on his desire to be reelected.” Tapper was talking about Trump’s September claim that there would be enough vaccines for all Americans by April, but Ingraham omitted Tapper saying that Trump’s prediction relied on “an assumption that the hundreds of millions of vaccines that the administration has paid for … will work and that they will be safe. But let us be clear: As of right now, there’s no vaccine that we know works. There is no vaccine that we know is safe. And there is no new information to suggest that a vaccine will indeed be available by Election Day. … At this moment, what he’s saying, it’s not true.”
Tapper’s point was not that vaccines wouldn’t be available by April, but that Trump made a promise which he could not substantiate at the time.