White House Watch

‘Who Can We Talk To?’: White House Leaned On Amazon To Suppress Vaccine ‘Propaganda,’ Emails Show

President Joe Biden’s White House influenced Amazon in March 2021 to restrict books that expressed skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine, according to emails the House Judiciary Committee obtained.

Amazon and White House personnel corresponded between March 2 and March 12 and had a meeting on March 9, according to the emails. Amazon eventually limited the visibility of anti-vaccine books following criticism from the White House by not promoting them.

“Who can we talk to about the high levels of propaganda and misinformation and disinformation [on] Amazon?” former White House Senior Advisor for the Covid response Andy Slavitt asked in a March 2 email. Slavitt lamented about how searching for “vaccines” under books on Amazon yields “concerning” results in another email the same day.

In a related email later the same day, Slavitt noted there was no Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “warning” on a certain book about vaccines.

One employee pondered whether the White House wanted the company to eliminate certain books from Amazon’s website or if the White House wanted it to suppress them in search results.

“Is the [Biden] Admin asking us to remove books, or are they more concerned about search results/order (or both)?” the employee asked in a March 9 email.

Amazon had held off on taking action on these books because it was worried about public perception, according to a March 2 email. However, it was “feeling pressure from the White House,” according to a March 12 email.

In the same email about feeling the heat from the White House, the company pondered methods to “reduce the visibility” of anti-vaccine books.

The company ended up “enabl[ing] Do Not Promote for anti-vax books whose primary purpose is to persuade readers vaccines are unsafe or ineffective on 3/9, and will review additional handling options for these books with you,” it wrotein another March 12 email.

The White House also exerted pressure on YouTube to suppress COVID-19 vaccine information in April 2021, documents previously published by the House Judiciary Committee show. Biden’s former Director of Digital Strategy Robert Flaherty told YouTube that he wanted to coordinate on what the platform was doing to suppress anti-vaccine content.

Moreover, the White House also used its influence to get Facebook to censor related content in 2021, according to additional emails obtained by the committee.

Amazon and the White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Jason Cohen

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Jason Cohen

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