Arkansas mayor consulted poultry giant Tyson before appearing on CNN

Last May, as Covid-19 cases spread throughout Springdale, Arkansas, and meatpacking plants emerged as hotspots nationwide, CNN asked Mayor Doug Sprouse to appear on a broadcast to explain how he was protecting his community. Sprouse in turn consulted Tyson Foods, which provided him talking points, reported Facing South. The incident sheds light on Tyson’s efforts to control public officials’ statements —and, by proxy, the media narrative—as the virus spread among its employees. The company sometimes succeeded: At one point, CNN canceled a North Carolina mayor’s appearance after his responses to preliminary questions were too pro-industry.

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