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Tipsheet

Biden Sought to Place 'Trusted Messenger' on Joe Rogan's Show to Push COVID Vaccine

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

It's no secret that the Biden administration's efforts surrounding the COVID vaccine were hit-and-miss. After promising that he wouldn't mandate vaccination, the Biden administration mandated COVID vaccines for federal employees and many companies nationwide...until the Supreme Court ruled that a large portion of his forced-vaccination policies was unconstitutional. 

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Then there were the White House's videos with TikTok influencers and singer Olivia Rodrigo who joined in the Biden administration's push to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible — even after the White House missed its target for vaccination.

Behind the scenes, though, the Biden administration was even busier working on leveraging Democrat allies and outlets with large reaches to push Americans to get vaccinated. New documents obtained via FOIA request from Judicial Watch show just how wide-ranging those efforts were.

Within some 249 pages of federal records released this week in response to Judicial Watch's 2021 FOIA request on the topic are plans, targets, and loads of ideas to convince Americans to get vaccinated against COVID. 

Among them, a "Public Education Campaign" set for April 19 to May 31, 2021, that included ideas like "[l]ate night hosts vaccination video" and a "Request that Tom Brady create a video with his parents encouraging vaccination (his parents had COVID last year and he has talked about their tough recovery)."

The Biden administration also hoped to create "custom partnerships with the social media platforms with algorithms to hit the audience." That is, the Biden administration wanted to further collude with big tech in order to push its narrative to people via social media algorithms. The Department of Health and Human Services also wanted to work with "YouTube on an original special about vaccinations targeted to young people" and have Instagram "produce a series about vaccines for @Instagram (the largest social media account in the world, 387 million followers." 

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As they did before, the Biden administration planned to reach out to "major TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram influences[sic] to create videos of themselves being vaccinated and start a special campaign of funny and/or musical videos about being vaccine[sic] to encourage others to create content and post."

FOIA'd documents also show that HHS wanted to seek a "vaccination special on Christian Broadcast[sic] Network featur[sic] Evangelical Leaders," "request that the major live TV entertainment shows feature hosts being vaccinated on air (ex: the hosts of The Voice)," and "request that the TV morning and daytime talk shows feature special vaccination reunion moments with everyday Americans talking about what this means to them (ex: hugging grandma for the first time)." 

The Biden administration also proposed to "convene an editorial meeting with the publishers of Catholic newspapers and newsletters across the country" and suggested First Lady Jill Biden be interviewed by Chip and Joanna Gaines for a special on their Magnolia network. In addition, they sought "vaccination specials with BET, The Undefeated, Desus & Mero, Sneaker Shopper," and "Hot Ones."

Also uncovered by the documents was a plan for the White House to place a "trusted messenger" on the Joe Rogan show and with Barstool Sports in order "to promote vaccination" after working with an "outside expert to identify who will be most effective."

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Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, said the documents his organization's FOIA work uncovered "show a disturbing and massive campaign by the Biden administration to propagandize and politicize the controversial COVID vaccine," adding "it seems as if the entire entertainment industry was an agent for the government."

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