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Unearthed Emails Between NYT and Interior Department Raise Questions
The New York Times Building in New York City on February 1, 2022. - The New York Times announced on January 31, 2022, it had bought Wordle, a phenomenon played by millions just four months after the game burst onto the Internet, for an "undisclosed price in the low seven figures." Created by engineer Josh Wardle, the game consists of guessing one five-letter word per day in just six tries.
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Communications revealed under the Freedom of Information Act point to The New York Times treating a government agency especially favorable under President Joe Biden, while former Trump officials describe “activist journalism” and being targeted unreasonably.

The emails, obtained by The Federalist, are between the Times and the Interior Department (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland’s office, who was confirmed in March 2021 under Biden.

“We will not do a story about the appeal – I’m just trying to understand what, beyond the appeal, is substantively new,” Coral Davenport, a Times energy and environmental reporter, wrote to a DOI spokesperson on August 16, 2021, inquiring about a federal court order repealing the president’s outlawing of gas and oil lease on federal land. Interior spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz responded, “More than happy for you to not write,” and indeed, no story was written after the conversation.

A separate email shows the Times reporter going so far as to apologize to DOI for presumably inquiring about the subject matter, writing to the government, “Sorry we are so annoying w oil & gas lease Qs. Could you give a call?”

Other emails raise questions about the left-wing outlet’s relationship with DOI. New York Times writer Elizabeth Williamson is shown to be pleading with Schwartz for a sit-down interview with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Schwartz initially denied the request but the writer seemingly insinuated that the coverage would be positive.

“I do think it’ll look a bit odd since so many of her colleague[s] sent and friends have spoken w[ith] me,” the writer emailed in May 2021. “This sometimes happens on tough stories but rather a mystery here! … I still hope she will reconsider.”

Two months later, in June, Williamson ran a profile on Haaland that was notably friendly. DOI approved it, The Federalist noted.

“I just wanted to say that I thought the profile turned out really lovely,” Schwartz wrote to Williamson on the day the article was published. “The Secretary asked me to pass on her appreciation and gratitude that you traveled to speak with Pueblo women,” she wrote soon after.

Former Trump administration members who worked on environment issues — who spoke to The Federalist — were taken aback by the emails. They were “aghast” given how the Times treated them far differently. Mandy Gunasekara, the Trump-era chief of staff for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), highlighted how “reporters [would] straight up tell us they wouldn’t come cover events because they would never write a positive story about the Trump administration.”

Similarly, an unnamed Trump official claimed Davenport was “awful” to work with. The official said the reporter fired off deadlines only lasting 30 minutes for comment, “if that.” Other officials who worked under Trump pointed to an incident in 2018 when the Times would not attend a briefing held by the EPA on improved air quality.

“Working with the New York Times you knew they were going to do ‘gotcha journalism’ because it would be unfathomable that the Trump administration would clean up the environment and improve public health,” an unnamed Trump official for the EPA and DOI, told The Federalist.

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