If he didn’t have a taste for raunchy material and hadn’t lit himself on fire after a binge of freebasing cocaine, Richard Pryor could have made a good political consultant. The current administration is certainly taking his advice.
The stand-up comedy legend had a routine about getting accused of cheating as a married man. Even if your wife caught you in the act, Pryor said, deny, deny, deny. “Who are you going to believe — me, or your lying eyes?”
That line might be the most memorable one Pryor ever spoke. Consider that it formed the backbone of Shaggy’s 2000 hit, “It Wasn’t Me.” Consider, too, that political figures love trotting it out — either as advice for themselves or as an accusation hurled at their opponents.
For instance, here’s Vice President Kamala Harris — then a California senator seeking the Democratic nomination for president — using the line after then-White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney gave a news conference which those on the left thought was a confirmation of a quid pro quo by the Donald Trump White House, predicating funding for Ukraine on a corruption investigation centered on Hunter Biden’s activities in that country:
To paraphrase Richard Pryor: Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes? https://t.co/9MJtds6vsX
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 17, 2019
President Joe Biden doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d get into Pryor, so perhaps it was Harris that passed a YouTube clip of that routine on to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maybe they already knew the routine over at the CDC. Whatever the case, they’ve taken the hint.
On Thursday, America very clearly heard Biden issue a vaccine mandate: If you work for a company larger than 100 people, you either get the COVID-19 vaccine, get tested every week or lose your job.
If your employer violates this new rule, they could be fined thousands of dollars.
“My job as president is to protect all Americans, so tonight, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees that together employee over 80 million workers to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated, or show a negative test at least once a week,” Biden said Thursday, according to a transcript of the speech from Rev.com.
In addition, he mandated that all individuals who work in “hospitals, home health care facilities and our other medical facilities,” “all executive branch federal employees” and all federal contractors get vaccinated. This didn’t include an out which allowed those employees to choose to test negative instead.
That’s a vaccine mandate, right? The CDC wants you to know you’re the lying eyes or ears, America.
On its website, the CDC maintains a list of vaccine myths and facts. Among the myths: “Do COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips?” “Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic?” “Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?” No, no and no, clearly.
However, further down the page, here’s another “myth” that was included: “Can CDC mandate that I get a COVID-19 vaccine?”
“No. The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for people,” the “myth-busting” bit reads.
“Additionally, CDC does not maintain or monitor a person’s vaccination records. Whether a state or local government or employer, for example, can require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law.”
To be fair, this isn’t new. It was originally added in a revision dated July 7, according to archived versions of the page obtained through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The current version as of Saturday morning is dated Sept. 7, two days prior to Biden’s announcement.
The problem is that those “myths and facts” are, as former President Richard Nixon’s press secretary Ron Ziegler might have phrased it, no longer the operative statement.
It’s unclear whether the CDC can mandate whether or not you can get a COVID-19 vaccine; the agency hasn’t tried yet and the current mandate is being administered through the Department of Labor.
Perhaps this is because the Biden administration believes this is more legally feasible than any sort of CDC mandate — but then, notice that the answer doesn’t address whether or not the CDC can mandate a vaccine, merely that “[t]he federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for people.”
Except it currently does.
If you’re a health care worker at a facility that the federal government funds, a federal contractor or an executive-branch federal employee, you have to get the vaccine without exception. That covers 17 million health care workers and several million other federal employees, according to The Associated Press.
In addition, 80 million workers for companies that employ over 100 people will either have to get the vaccine or submit to weekly tests.
If these don’t count as a federal mandate, consider the AP’s headline for its coverage of the president’s speech: “Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans.”
Does the CDC want to contend the world’s premier English-language wire service is trafficking in fake news? Apparently so. After all, who are you going to believe — the government, or your lying eyes?
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.