The Texas Department of State Health Services is avoiding an interview with a national conservative journalist, as questions continue to arise around the COVID shot and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that it be required for school children.
Chris Salcedo, host of The Salcedo Storm podcast and The Chris Salcedo Show on Newsmax, requested an interview with DSHS interim commissioner Dr. Jennifer Shuford for his radio program on KSEV to discuss the CDC’s guidance, as well as other issues of public health.
His request was denied, because the agency’s spokesman doesn’t like Salcedo’s politics.
DSHS Director of Media Relations Chris Van Deusen batted down the request in an email, saying, “After listening to the show, it sounds like you make everything about politics, so we’ll have to pass.”
His hostile response is garnering attention on the agency.
“Conservative media, just like the left-wing press, has legitimate concerns about public health,” Salcedo told Texas Scorecard. “The idea that conservative ‘political shows’ are denied interviews of Texas officials based on politics is discriminatory, unfair, and lacks recognition that our tax dollars fund these agencies too. Not to put too fine a point on this, but the diseases we all face don’t follow political boundaries; our Texas public health agencies shouldn’t either.”
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi said it was “outrageous” that the agency would be hostile to a conservative journalist but would speak to left-wing media.
“There is a lot of rot in TX agencies,” Rinaldi added.
It’s outrageous that a government agency in a red state is openly hostile to a national conservative media voice who merely wanted to ask if @TexasDSHS was going to follow CDC vax guidelines for youth. But they will speak to left wing media. There is a lot of rot in TX agencies. pic.twitter.com/Y88Nataf5Q
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) October 25, 2022
State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Waxahachie), who pointed out language on the DSHS’s website last week that all CDC-recommended vaccines were required for children in Texas, agreed, adding that all Texans and media outlets are justified in asking questions.
Until my intervention two days ago, the @TexasDSHS website indicated all Texas students may be required to take #covid vaccines. Every single Texan – and media outlet – is justified in asking questions about that. They deserve answers, regardless of their politics. #txlege https://t.co/yD2EJ9RlX7
— Brian Harrison (@brianeharrison) October 25, 2022
State records reveal that Van Deusen is paid $95,000 annually from Texas taxpayers. Further, voting records indicate he votes in Texas’ Democrat primaries.
When asked for comment by Texas Scorecard about denying Salcedo’s interview request, Van Deusen refused. Instead, he responded with, “As we’ve said consistently since the COVID-19 vaccines were first authorized, we’ll follow the direction of the Legislature on any COVID-19 vaccine requirements.”
Gov. Greg Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment.