TRUMP APPOINTEES CENSORING CDC COVID REPORTS: POLITICO
Days after President Donald Trump admitted to knowingly downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic in his statements to the public, new reporting late Friday revealed that Trump political aides have been reviewing—and in some cases altering—weekly CDC reports about the deadly virus in an effort to bring them into closer alignment with the president’s false narrative and claims, Common Dreams reported late on September 12, 2020.
Politico reported Friday evening (Saturday, September 12, 2020 in Manila) that the Health and Human Services Department’s politically appointed communications aides, led by former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo—a Republican strategist with no medical expertise—”have attempted to add caveats to the CDC’s findings, including an effort to retroactively change agency reports that they said wrongly inflated the risks of COVID-19 and should have made clear that Americans sickened by the virus may have been infected because of their own behavior.”
The primary target of the Trump officials’ interference, according to Politico, has been the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR), a crucial resource for experts, public officials, and members of the public seeking to track the spread of COVID-19. While CDC officials have pushed back on meddling from political appointees, Politico reported that the agency has “increasingly agreed to allow the political officials to review the reports and, in a few cases, compromised on the wording.”
According to one internal email obtained by Politico, Caputo aide Paul Alexander accused the CDC—an agency directed by Trump appointee Robert Redfield—of “writing hit pieces on the administration” and attempting to use its weekly reports to “hurt the president.” He added: “CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening.” Alexander, an assistant professor of health research at McMaster University in Toronto, claimed this was “very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear.” Alexander demanded that Redfield allow the HHS aide to personally edit the CDC’s reports, which are authored by career scientists. “The reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous. Its lunacy,” Alexander, who has also attempted to alter the public messaging of Dr. Anthony Fauci, wrote to Redfield. “Nothing to go out unless I read and agree with the findings how they CDC, wrote it and I tweak it to ensure it is fair and balanced and ‘complete.'”
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