Is “getting worked up” an excuse to ignore media requests?
Some officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seem to think so, icing out the conservative Daily Caller while fielding media inquiries from other outlets, according to emails obtained by the news site through a Freedom of Information Act request.
In February, the CDC released a study showing obesity rates for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old had declined, while still remaining steady for 2- to 19-year-olds as a whole.
“Overall,” the report concluded, “there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.”
That caveat didn’t stop the New York Times from highlighting the study, including noting the efforts of first lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! campaign and former New York City Major Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to ban high-sugar items.
According to the Daily Caller, it reached out to the CDC for more information about the data but received no response.
As the recently revealed emails show, officials at the CDC deliberately left the Daily Caller’s requests unanswered, apparently due to partisan preferences.
“(Senior press officer) Karen (Hunter) gets very worked up whenever conservative outlets want to do interviews,” Jeffrey Lancashire, a spokesman for the National Center of Health Statistics, a part of the CDC, wrote in an email to Cynthia Ogden, the lead scientist on the study, according to the Daily Caller.
Lancashire acknowledged that ignoring conservative media “raises red flags” before telling his colleague to lie her way out of the interview.
“Tell him you can’t do an interview because you’re on leave and unavailable due to a family activity/event (or just say you’re on leave),” Lancashire wrote Ogden.
Ogden did no such thing — she simply didn’t respond to the Daily Caller.