By Zachary Stieber
The top U.S. public health agency labeled multiple news articles as misinformation even though the articles were accurate, according to internal emails and experts.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the misinformation labels to articles from The Epoch Times in widely-circulated internal messages, according to copies obtained by The Epoch Times.
One of the articles reported on a peer-reviewed paper that found heart inflammation, or myocarditis, was more common after COVID-19 vaccination than after COVID-19 infection.
Nordic researchers reviewed electronic health records and counted 109 cases of myocarditis following COVID-19 infection compared to 530 after vaccination. Their study was published by the British Medical Journal.
An internal CDC email said that the study “has been picked up by anti-vax proponents as evidence that vax was more likely to cause myocarditis than COVID-19 infection,” and provided a hyperlink to The Epoch Times article.
The Feb. 7, 2023, email listed the article under “points of confusion/potential rumors/misinformation.”
The CDC did not list any data or other information supporting its label.
“The Epoch Times article should not be labeled as misinformation,” Dr. Tracy Hoeg, a physician-scientist at the University of California-San Francisco, told The Epoch Times via email.
Dr. Hoeg said the Nordic study aligned with earlier research, including a paper published by JAMA Cardiology that found myocarditis rates were higher among some populations after vaccination compared to after infection.
Another CDC email claimed a story reporting on how the U.S. government was receiving royalty payments from Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was inaccurate or misleading.
The Epoch Times article reported on how Moderna officials disclosed in an earnings call that the company entered a patent agreement with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), sent a payment of $400 million, and would be paying additional royalties in the future.
“Anti-vax proponents question Moderna’s new patent agreement with NIAID, citing catch up payments and royalties as a ‘conflict of interest,” the CDC email, dated March 1, 2023, stated.
The Epoch Times article quoted Dr. Lawrence Tabak, the director at the time of the NIAID’s parent agency, as admitting royalty payments in general present “an appearance of a conflict of interest.”
The CDC defines employees taking part in matters in which they have a financial interest as a conflict of interest, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the parent agency of the CDC, says that financial conflicts of interest can compromise honesty “especially if the financial interests are significant.”
“It is certainly interesting that, confronted with possible ethics concerns, the CDC doesn’t address them but dismisses them as ‘misinformation,’” Michael Chamberlain, director of the nonprofit Protect the Public’s Trust, told The Epoch Times via email.
The CDC also labeled an Epoch Times video featuring a doctor describing data on COVID-19 vaccines negatively impacting gut health as misinformation, the emails show, even though the video was based on published research.
“The information contained in these documents illustrates how federal health officials so rapidly squandered the trust of the American public, and it shows the danger of government setting itself up as an arbiter of truth,” Mr. Chamberlain said. “The agency is quick to slap a derogatory label on any statements that don’t fit its preferred narrative, and just as quick to impugn the motives of anyone who dares make those statements. This is not government working for the people, it is government as adversary to the people.”
More on Emails
The emails were circulated to more than 150 people in the CDC and the HHS.
They were sent by Emily Matthews, a contractor acting on behalf of the CDC’s Research & Evaluation Team.
Additional emails showed Colin Bernatzky, a CDC public health analyst, decrying articles from The Epoch Times articles on research, including a peer-reviewed paper that analyzed autopsies done on people who died following COVID-19 vaccination and concluded many of the deaths were likely due to the vaccines.
Ms. Matthews and Mr. Bernatzky did not respond to inquiries. The CDC declined to comment.
“I know this has come up previously around CDC’s rapid response capabilities/strategies to address misinformation,” another CDC official wrote, as Mr. Bernatzky’s concerns were distributed within the agency.
“I feel like this needs to be its own special report … and we could highlight what themes/topics are these ant-vax [sic] topics covering,” another official said, adding later that he could see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “having opinions on this.”
The emails were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Large portions are redacted.
Government agencies, including the CDC, were found to have conspired with social media companies to censor a wide range of speech, including posts that provided accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. As part of that effort, the CDC passed on misinformation to Facebook, documents showed. The agency has also offered misinformation about vaccines in presentations and on social media.
The Supreme Court is set to soon take up the legal case that uncovered the conspiracy.