Later, Strait was sidelined and replaced by politicos Beth Martino and Meghan Scott, neither of whom was responsive to me. My inquiries would be processed sometimes, not at all other times, interviews were withheld, or if allowed were monitored, my written questions were screened and answers when given were expressed in stiff, non-conversational bureaucratic English.

Informed human-interest, color and context left my writing. After 35 years of insider contacts and reliable, exclusive FDA reporting, I’d been all but shut down by the FDA Press Office. As in the old Soviet Union and Communist China, they are in control now.

All without a word of prior notice or “due process.”

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Jim Dickinson is editor and president of Ferdic Inc., publisher of three FDA-oriented trade publications, and Washington columnist for two trade journals.