US federal staff being forced to watch Fox News instead of CNN, leaked email suggests

Donald Trump accuses CNN of 'fake news' after three reporters resign over retracted Russia story

An email has been sent to staff at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing that all their agency’s televisions will show Fox News, apparently by order of the Trump administration.

Journalist Paul Thacker tweeted a screengrab of the message, but an FDA spokesperson denied there had been any such order.

It reads: “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 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.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, but I am unable to change any of the monitors to any other news source at this time."

The email was sent to workers at the Centre for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), the branch that regulates medical products.

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An FDA spokesperson denied people had been ordered to watch Fox News, telling ThinkProgress: "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."

However an anonymous CBER employee told BuzzFeed News that “a lot of staff were very upset about the change”.

Another FDA staff member went further, expressing fear that having a “’right wing’ news source playing in our halls…will drive away some people on the left who are already suspicious about the FDA being a shill for big pharma”.

Donald Trump has made no secret of his dislike for CNN, referring to the news organisation as “fake news” on several occasions, and to the media as "the enemy of the people".

The administration even went so far as to block the news outlet, along with BBC, LA Times and New York Times from a media briefing earlier this year.

On one occasion, the US president wrote a scathing tweet about the media: "The Fake News media is officially out of control. They will do or say anything in order to get attention - never been a time like this!"

However, his words about Fox News have been positive, and he recently congratulated the network for its "unbelievable ratings hike".

The Independent has contacted the FDA for comment.