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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has finally debunked a media-crafted conspiracy theory alleging that CDC guidelines for reopening workplaces amid the coronavirus pandemic had been purposefully shelved by the Trump administration because they would’ve slowed down the reopening process.
The theory first emerged after anonymous sources within the CDC provided the Associated Press with a copy of the guidelines earlier this week and claimed they’d been told the document “would never see the light of day.”
But in a statement on Saturday, CDC Director Robert Redfield confirmed the entire narrative was, in fact, bullschiff.
“The re-opening guidance shared prematurely was in draft form and had not been vetted through the interagency review process,” he said. “This is an iterative effort to ensure effective, clear guidance is presented to the American people.”
“I had not seen a version of the guidance incorporating interagency and task force input and therefore was not yet comfortable releasing a final work product.”
As I noted yesterday, the leaked CDC guidelines were in the editing process.
Thank you, Dr. Redfield for underscoring this, and no thank you to some members of the press who ran with inaccurate and dramatic headlines. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ytLdbbGRiY
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) May 9, 2020
By the time he released a statement, the conspiracy had already spread far and wide.
“In any case, the CDC deck has guidelines for reopening businesses, schools, restaurants, churches, and so forth, and we would do well to start meeting them before we throw open our doors,” the far-left blog Mother Jones wrote.
“This, however, would slow down the reopening of America decreed by our president, so the guidelines were shoved down the oubliette. Welcome to Earth’s newest banana republic.”
A number of notable blue checkmark holders also disseminated the theory.
Staggering. Donald Trump rejected CDC guidelines for opening schools, restaurants, public transportation, everything. But it’s not that Donald knows better what’s safe for you. It’s that Donald thinks only of what’s best for Donald.
— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) May 9, 2020
CDC Officials design guidelines to keep Americans safe. Trump WH kills it. https://t.co/iuWQtnqkHh
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) May 9, 2020
The gov’t is shadily burying CDC info; the post-office appointment is shady; Barr’s exoneration of Flynn is shady; Kushner will shadily make money form his vaccine post.
In 3 years, Trump has brought “Banana Republic” standards to American governance.
— Darinstrauss (@Darinstrauss) May 7, 2020
Trump wants to keep Americans in the dark about the CDC’s expert recommendations to effectively reopen the country (prematurely) during the #coronapocalypse and only making it got them to move it forward a month later….
Without guidelines for churches. https://t.co/wk0f9aCqOF
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) May 9, 2020
These people appear to live in a left-wing fantasy world …
The release of Redfield’s statement came a day after White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tried to explain the same thing to the disbelieving press.
Asked about the guidelines at Friday’s briefing, she said, “So I would ask you, what’s the definition of CDC guidelines? … Is it something that a rogue CDC employee leaks to you guys? No, those aren’t CDC guidelines.”
In explaining why not, she noted the “guidelines” obtained by the AP were still in draft form.
“Those are guidelines in draft form that a rogue employee has given you for whatever personal reason they’ve decided to do that,” she accurately said. “Those guidelines are in the editing process. We want the American people to get as much information as they can possibly have at this time.”
“That’s why we have the phased reopening guidelines, the data-driven guidelines. Those CDC guidelines are going through an editing process and when we have those, you guys will be the first to know.”
Listen (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
Despite her explanation, the AP wound up doubling down on its faulty reporting.
In an update published late Friday, the left-wing outlet claimed to be in possession of a trove of “internal government emails.”
“The trove of emails show the nation’s top public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spending weeks working on guidance to help the country deal with a public health emergency, only to see their work quashed by political appointees with little explanation,” the AP claimed.
“White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that the documents had not been approved by CDC Director Robert Redfield. The new emails, however, show that Redfield cleared the guidance.”
The AP’s reporting completely contradicts what Redfield said Saturday. It also contradicts the words of White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx.
“We’re working with the CDC on a whole series of products, from how to improve community mitigation, what to do about contact tracing, how to improve surveillance, and certainly these more detailed guidelines about child care and camps. Those are still being worked on. No one has stopped those guidelines. We’re still in editing,” she said to CNN on Thursday.
Dr. Birx: CDC guidelines on reopening country are “still being worked on.” pic.twitter.com/k6bySl5Z3a
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) May 8, 2020
It’s not clear how much more debunking will be required before the mainstream establishment press abandons this conspiracy theory. Given how long the media spent chasing the Russian collusion delusion conspiracy theory, it may be awhile.
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