The Democratic National Committee reportedly wants Short Message Service (SMS) carriers to step in and police private text messages as part of a new push against COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
Allies of President Joe Biden, including the DNC, plan to “engage fact-checkers more aggressively” and work alongside phone companies to combat misinformation about vaccines shared via social media and private SMS messages, according to a Monday report from Politico.
White House officials are particularly frustrated with the characterization by some Republicans of their door-to-door pro-vaccination campaign, according to the report.
Sorry, just making sure I have this straight:
The DNC now wants companies to police text messages for content? https://t.co/qo4KmKWhVc
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) July 12, 2021
One example SMS message cited by Politico was sent by conservative activist group Turning Point USA, in which co-founder Charlie Kirk falsely contends that “Biden is sending goons DOOR-TO-DOOR to make you take a Covid-19 vaccine. Sign the petition to: No medical raids in America.”
“When we see deliberate efforts to spread misinformation, we view that as an impediment to the country’s public health and will not shy away from calling that out,” White House spokesman Kevin Munoz told Politico.
Big Tech platforms and corporate media outlets have consistently cracked down on alleged “misinformation” throughout the pandemic, but in some cases, they’ve censored or suppressed information that turned out to be true. Perhaps the chief example is the lab-leak theory, which hypothesizes that the pandemic originated from an accidental leak of the virus out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The Biden administration has blamed misinformation for contributing to vaccine hesitancy and slowing down the country’s vaccination campaign. Biden set a goal of achieving a 70% vaccination rate by July 4, but the U.S. fell just short of that benchmark.
“The failure to provide accurate public health information, including the efficacy of vaccines and the accessibility of them to people across the country, including South Carolina, is literally killing people, so maybe they should consider that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week.
Biden’s door-to-door outreach plan involves sending volunteer community and religious leaders to households in areas with low vaccination rates to share information about the available COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S, which are overwhelmingly safe and effective. These outreach efforts have been ongoing for several months in less-vaccinated communities.
Polling indicates that many of the remaining vaccine holdouts aren’t necessarily having difficulty hearing about or accessing the shots, but simply don’t want them. Some federal officials are blaming that on politics. (RELATED: White House Announces ‘Surge Response’ Teams To Combat COVID-19 Delta Variant)
“The big misinterpretation that Fox News or whomever else is saying is that they are essentially envisioning a bunch of federal workers knocking on your door, telling you you’ve got to do something that you don’t want to do,” NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday. “That’s absolutely not the case, it’s trusted messengers who are part of the community doing that – not government officials. So that’s where I think the disconnect is.”