President Joe Biden stood in the Rose Garden on May 13 and told the American people that if they were vaccinated, they would no longer need to wear masks. Just two months later, the same guidance would likely qualify as “misinformation.”
Biden said in May: “The CDC is saying they have concluded that fully vaccinated people are at a very, very low risk of getting COVID-19. Therefore, if you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Let me repeat: If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.”
Today, the Biden administration and the CDC are recommending that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in some circumstances, reversing earlier commitments.
Pressed to explain the pattern of reversals, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the science had changed, and there was no “playbook” for the pandemic (though Biden campaigned on the claim that he made one Trump discarded).
That is the nature of science: our knowledge is always changing, and so it is natural that policy changes should follow. The difference is that the Biden administration has insisted that the science is “settled” on topics like the coronavirus and climate change — and it is pushing social media platforms to suppress “misinformation” on coronavirus and vaccination.
Much of what Biden said in May would qualify as “misinformation” today, yet it is still online, and so is he:
After a long year of sacrifice, Americans who are fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks in most settings. We have more to do — but this is great news. pic.twitter.com/s6hPCYKJrG
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 14, 2021
Big news from the CDC: If you’re fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask – indoors or outdoors, in most settings.
We’ve gotten this far. Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please protect yourself until we get to the finish line. pic.twitter.com/XI4yPmhWaD
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 13, 2021
This ought to show the folly of suppressing the speech of people who happen to have different views about medical science. Living in an open society means allowing the audience to determine the credibility of the speaker and weigh various arguments against one another, without being punished for heresy.
But many of those pushing censorship are only using the coronavirus as a pretext: they care far more about controlling speech than controlling the pandemic.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.