Biden's Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy addressed the administration's ongoing concerns over COVID "misinformation" at a coronavirus briefing on Thursday morning.
"Misinformation is a threat to our health," Murthy said, "and the speed, scale and sophistication with which it is spreading is unprecedented. I will not hesitate to say that and to call for greater accountability and action to address health misinformation."
"A word about equity though," he said, "we recognize that equity must be at the center of our work to confront health misinformation. Here's why: Because unequal access to the health care system, education and technology, means that some people have less access to accurate health information than others. And when those people instead encounter health misinformation, it can worsen their health outcomes, which exacerbates health inequity in what becomes a vicious cycle."
"Last week" Murthy said at the beginning of his remarks, "I issued a Surgeon General's Advisory to call the nation's attention to the threat of health misinformation. Since then, we have continued to emphasize what individuals can do to stop health misinformation in its tracks. That includes asking everyone to raise their own bar for sharing health information by checking to make sure it's backed by credible scientific sources. As we say in the Advisory, if you're not sure, don't share.
"And we'll continue to say that," he said, "on social media and in a video PSA we've created and released and in conversations we're convening with people around the country. We're also mobilizing other stakeholders to address misinformation. From technology companies and health care professionals, to researchers and community-based organizations. In fact, right after this briefing, my office will be hosting a conversation with community organizations around the country to address the steps that they can take to stop the spread of health misinformation."
Murthy's missives launched a social media storm of outrage as it was revealed that the Biden administration was specifically interested in combatting "misinformation" through direct outreach to both social media and mainstream media companies.
In a Monday briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about steps the Biden administration plans on taking to quell the spread of COVID-19 "misinformation."
"I don't think we've taken any options off the table," Psaki said, "That's up to Congress to determine how they want to proceed going forward."
"We are not in a war, or a battle with Facebook," she continued. "We are a battle with the virus."