March 19, 2020

WELL: CNN Report on Test Kits Refutes Biden Statement—and Its Own Fact-Check: Biden picked up false claim that Trump admin turned down WHO test kits.

A new CNN report refutes its own correspondent’s approving fact check of Joe Biden’s claim the Trump administration “refused” the World Health Organization’s offer of coronavirus testing kits.

CNN fact-checker Holmes Lybrand rated Biden’s statement at Sunday’s Democratic primary debate to be correct at the time. But CNN reported Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO never discussed the latter providing tests to the United States, and WHO did not offer it tests.

WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told CNN this was not unusual, since the United States has the capacity to manufacture its own diagnostics. The CDC developed its own version of the coronavirus test on Jan. 17, the same day WHO published a German protocol for countries to use in manufacturing their own tests.

While the United States has struggled to test for the virus on a mass scale, that still contradicts Biden’s comment on Sunday, when he told debate moderator Jake Tapper, “Look, the World Health Organization offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own.”

Lybrand wrote in CNN’s live fact-checking blog of the debate, “Biden is correct. The U.S., along with other countries, chose not to take test kits from WHO — and instead decided to make their own.”

Lybrand’s fact check has thus far not been updated.

PolitiFact rated the same statement by Biden “Mostly False” in a report on Monday.


But occasionally they slip up.

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