Employees at the Food and Drug Administration were told this week that the Trump administration had directed the agency to show Fox News rather than CNN on televisions at its White Oak, Maryland, campus, according to an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
However, the FDA is denying that the administration sent any such directive.
“There was no directive or memorandum from the Administration that went out to employees about broadcast news channels displaying on monitors in common areas throughout the FDA’s White Oak campus,” a spokesperson for the FDA told TPM in an email.
The internal email was widely circulated on Twitter by Paul Thacker on Friday, but appears to have been sent out on Wednesday:
.@CharlesPPierce, Here's a screen shot of the FDA email announcing all Fox, all the time.
Screen shot protects the sender. pic.twitter.com/cnRQ2ahJQ9
— Paul Thacker (@thackerpd) May 5, 2017
“Please excuse me for sending this out to your entire group via your listserv, but I was alerted by a member in your group and I wanted to let everyone know that the reason for the change from CNN to FOX,” the email obtained by BuzzFeed and addressed to researchers with the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) read. “The reason for the change is that a decision from the current administration administrative officials has requested that all monitors, under our control, on the White Oak Campus, display FOX news.”
Both BuzzFeed News and the Washington Post reported that the televisions at CBER were displaying Fox News:
Here's Fox News on the TVs at CBER, same day an email went out to staff saying it had been switched from CNN to Fox by order of Trump admin pic.twitter.com/uVPx8jekIk
— Julia Reinstein (@juliareinstein) May 5, 2017
Source familiar with CBER campus says TVs are indeed tuned to Fox News. https://t.co/nE57MHUDXR
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) May 5, 2017
An anonymous FDA official told the Wall Street Journal that after the email began circulating on Friday, some of the televisions at the White Oak campus switched back to displaying CNN, while others remained tuned into Fox News.
“It obviously bothered some people,” the official told the Wall Street Journal. “I’d actually rather go with the Weather Channel.”
This post has been updated.