CDC Chief Rochelle Walensky Comments Were EDITED OUT By ABC

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CDC Chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky took heat from the right and the left over an interview that turns out to have been edited by ABC News in a way that caused many to misinterpret her.

On Friday’s edition of Good Morning America, ABC News aired an interview in which co-anchor Cecilia Vega asked Dr. Walensky about a new study published by the CDC, and Walensy’s answer was stealth-clipped. Here’s how the original exchange aired:

VEGA: I want to ask you about those encouraging headlines that we’re talking about this morning, this new study showing just how well vaccines are working to prevent severe illness. Given that, is it time to start rethinking how we’re living with this virus, that it’s potentially here to stay?”

DR. WALENSKY: The overwhelming number of death, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who were unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of omicron. This means not only just to get your primary series but to get your booster series, and yes, we’re really encouraged by these results.

Despite the fact that Walensky’s response was clearly about a CDC study that anyone could look up, the remarks cause outrage from very different groups, for very different reasons.

Some disability advocates misinterpreted the remarks as minimizing the deaths of those with serious comorbidities and created the trending hashtag #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy in response.

And many conservatives wrongly seized on the remark as an “admission” that 75 percent of ALL Covid deaths were of people “who were unwell to begin with,” and thus reasoned that the threat of Covid had been exaggerated all along.

On Monday, Mediaite reached out to the CDC for clarification, because Walensky’s response seemed to be clipped at the beginning, and to ask about the objections from disability advocates.

A CDC spokesperson told Mediaite that the remarks had been misinterpreted, and that the agency would look into whether the interview had been edited.

The spokesperson also provided the following statement:

Dr. Walensky did not intend comments in a recent television appearance to be hurtful toward those with disabilities. She is deeply concerned and cares about the health and well-being of people with disabilities and those with medical conditions who have been impacted by COVID-19. The CDC Director continues her commitment to protect all Americans in this next stage of the pandemic.

After the CDC obtained the full clip and raised objections, ABC posted the full clip on YouTube, along with a disclaimer explaining that the original had been “edited for time.”

The new exchange included 23 extra seconds, during which Dr. Walensky gave much more detail about the study.

You know, really important study, if I may just summarize it, a study of 1.2 million people who were vaccinated between December [2020] and October [2021] and demonstrated that severe disease occurred in about zero point zero one five percent of the people who are — received their primary series and death in point zero zero three percent of those people.

As the study makes clear, we’re talking about 39 total deaths out of 1.2 million vaccinated people, 29 of whom had 4 or more serious comorbidities from a specific list: immunosuppression, diabetes, and chronic kidney, cardiac, pulmonary, neurologic, and liver disease.

This is at least the second time in recent memory that ABC News has edited crucial quotes from an administration interview, the other being from David Muir’s interview of President Joe Biden. The White House provided Mediaite with a transcript of that missing exchange.

Watch above via ABC.

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