The New York Times on Tuesday publicly reprimanded one of its reporters for calling for the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s resignation.
During an interview Tuesday on CNN International, Times science and health reporter Donald G. McNeil called on Robert R. Redfield to resign over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has left more than 80,000 Americans dead and infected more than a million people across the country over the past several months. The CDC “is a great agency but it’s incompetently led,” McNeil told CNN’s Cristiane Amanpour, “and I think Dr Redfield should resign.” The Times reporter also suggested that it was a mistake for Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the administration’s handling of the crisis.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, a Times spokesperson said McNeil "went too far in expressing his personal views. His editors have discussed the issue with him to reiterate that his job is to report the facts and not to offer his own opinions.” Still, the paper added that it was “confident that his reporting on science and medicine for The Times has been scrupulously fair and accurate.” McNeil, a longtime writer on the topics of health and viruses, has emerged as one of the most high-profile reporters covering the coronavirus crisis, warning Times readers in the early months of 2020 about the seriousness of the virus’ spread.