A longtime Forbes contributor and government transparency activist recently shared the emails from National Institutes of Health (NIH) public relations officials that led to his cancellation.
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Adam Andrzejewski, the founder and CEO of Open the Books, can no longer write for Forbes after Amanda Fine emailed the magazine’s top brass on January 16, 2022, to complain about an article on Anthony Fauci’s family finances.
The email followed a January 15 article titled “Disclosures Show Dr. Fauci’s Household Made $1.7 Million In 2020, Including Income, Royalties, Travel Perks And Investment Gains.” It covered the publicly available information about Fauci and his wife, Christine Grady, the chief bioethicist for NIH.
Andrzejewski wrote that the alleged corrections were minor semantic issues. For example, Fauci reported $8,100 in gifts on a disclosure form, but Fine said that the $8,100 is the value of free tickets he received.
“The requested edit from NIH was a difference without a distinction,” Andrzejewski wrote in his March 9 Substack article.
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Another edit request from the NIH included information Andrzejewski had previously sought, to no avail, from the government agency. “NIH also gave further background into Fauci’s board position at McGraw-Hill and travel reimbursements, which was also incorporated. (This was the purpose of my request for comment to NIH — additional context for the reader and fairness to the subject.)”
But as he points out, there were not substantial issues with his reporting. “NIH found nothing wrong with the major facts and analysis in my article: the Fauci household’s entire cash compensation, benefit, royalty, and investment portfolio. In other words, all substantive findings remained intact and validated.”
The point, Andrzejewski says, was to get him canceled. “Of course, the real purpose of the NIH’s email wasn’t to correct my work. Two directors, two bureau chiefs, and two top PR officers didn’t send an email to the Forbes’ chief on a Sunday morning because they wanted to correct the record about Fauci’s travel reimbursements,” he wrote. “They sent that email to subliminally send a message: We don’t like Andrzejewski’s oversight work, and we want you to do something about it.”
“Within 24 hours of the NIH email to Randall Lane, my regular Forbes editor called and announced new rules,” he said. “Forbes barred me from writing about Fauci and mandated pre-approval for all future topics. Then, Forbes went silent and terminated my column roughly 10 days later on January 28.”
Writing on the wall? Forbes editor critiques Andrzejewski’s column the day before NIH email
The day prior, Forbes also criticized Andrzejewski for writing frequently about Fauci. “I see this in your third article on Fauci in 3 weeks. Huh,” Caroline Howard, an executive editor whom Andrzejewski said he had never spoken to in eight years, emailed on January 15.
She also criticized him for “straying into advocacy.” She then said that all contributors “must steer clear of opinion, distortion, speculation, exaggeration, bias, carelessness, half-truths and deceit.”
In an ominous statement, Howard said “anyone who engages in this type of writing is subject to review and swift action, from coaching to reprimand, warning and dismissal.”
The media previously emailed Forbes’ media email for comment on Andrzejewski’s allegations in February but did not receive a response.
Journalists had previously emailed Fine for comment on the allegations. They also reached out to Renate Myles and Emma Wojtowicz, two other NIH spokeswomen on the emails, to ask for comment in February. None of them responded.
Adam Andrzejewski is the CEO/Founder of OpenTheBooks. Mission: “Every Dime, Online, In Real Time.” This organization aims for transparency revolutionizes U.S. public policy and politics. This article was originally published on the OpentheBooks.