Recommended: a Scientific American article titled How the FDA Manipulates the Media.
Short version: for major breaking stories such as its (meager) regulation of e-cigarettes, the FDA gives certain journalists a time-window of advance access to the news in exchange for the promise not to seek any adverse reactions to it. Needless to say, Scientific American is not one of the journalistic Heathers given access, so its coverage is blunt. The best part is reading emails (obtained via FOIA) between FDA news managers and journalistic suck-ups, supposedly the cream of the profession. From the SciAm story:
Of all the media outlets, the New York Times was the only one to mention the close-hold embargo: “FDA officials gave journalists an outline of the new rules on Wednesday but required that they not talk to industry or public health groups until after Thursday's formal release of the document.” (“I felt like I wanted to be clear with readers,” Sabrina Tavernise, the author of the story, later told [Margaret] Sullivan, the New York Times' public editor at the time. “Usually you would have reaction in a story like this, but in this case, there wasn't going to be any.”)
The FDA was not pleased that the omertà had been broken. “I have to say while I generally reserve my editorial comments, I was a little surprised by the tone of your article and the swipe you took at the embargo in the paper—when after combing through the coverage no one else felt the need to do so in quite that way,” the FDA's Jefferson upbraided Tavernise in an e-mail. “To be clear, this is me taking stuff personally when I know I shouldn't, but I thought we had a better working relationship than this…. I never expect totally positive coverage as our policies are controversial and complex, but at least more neutral and slightly less editorialized. Simply put, bummer. Off to deal with a pissed Fox News reporter.”
Tavernise promptly apologized. “Geez, sorry about the embargo thing. Editors were asking why we didn't get to see it so I was asked to put a line in to explain,” she wrote.