"If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you! You are entirely and completely incorrect, the NIH [National Institutes of Health] has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
That was Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci to appear on Fox Business Friday for rare interview on the network Hawaii reports its first omicron case Glenn Greenwald discusses criticism of Fauci overseeing 'medically unjustifiable' experiments on dogs MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in July, responding during Senate testimony to a question posed by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' MORE (R-Ky.)
“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you're talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially." Fauci added. "You do not know what you're talking about."
Apparently, Sen. Paul did know what he was talking about.
NIH principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak stated in a letter that EcoHealth Alliance laid out in a five-year progress report on bat coronavirus research that it was conducted under an NIH grant and that “in this limited experiment, laboratory mice infected with the SHC014 WIV1 bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with the WIV1 bat coronavirus.”
“As sometimes occurs in science, this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do," Tabak wrote. “EcoHealth failed to report this finding right away, as was required by the terms of the grant.”
NIH corrects untruthful assertions by NIH Director Collins and NIAID Director Fauci that NIH had not funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) October 20, 2021
NIH states that EcoHealth Alliance violated Terms and Conditions of NIH grant AI110964. pic.twitter.com/cFOtJlRoWl
With that backdrop, it's interesting to look back on media coverage of the Paul-Fauci exchange three months ago, where it appears that outlets and reporters that purport to be objective were anything but in cheering on the doctor over the senator.
"'You do not know what you're talking about': Fauci excoriates Rand Paul,” CNN exclaimed in taking a side.
“Nothing brings out Senator Paul’s propensity to act like an ass like a congressional appearance by Fauci, and that is really saying something. … Like Elvis’s ‘Kentucky Rain,’ Rand Paul’s COVID BS keeps pouring down, and it’s enough to fill the swimming pool in the Senate gym," CNN anchor Brianna Keilar declared a few months ago.
MSNBC characterized Paul's questioning of Fauci as "slander."
Dr. FauciAnthony FauciFauci to appear on Fox Business Friday for rare interview on the network Hawaii reports its first omicron case Glenn Greenwald discusses criticism of Fauci overseeing 'medically unjustifiable' experiments on dogs MORE on Sen. Paul exchange: "I didn't enjoy it, but I had to do that because he was completely out of line." https://t.co/5D4cvHpRrS— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 22, 2021
A Washington Post fact-check concluded that it was Paul who peddled a “false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.” Fauci, of course, was awarded a free pass from scrutiny.
Analysis: Fact-checking the Paul-Fauci flap over Wuhan lab funding https://t.co/KU8sKM4aYY— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 18, 2021
This is all part of a movie we've seen before. Remember what happened when Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonConservatives target Biden pick for New York district court GOP anger with Fauci rises Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' MORE (R-Okla.) suggested that the virus did not originate in a Wuhan wet market, which is what the Chinese government claimed at the time (and which was echoed by a compliant World Health Organization) but, instead, possibly originated in a lab a few blocks away? Cotton was labeled a conspiracy theorist.
“We don’t know where it originated, and we have to get to the bottom of that,” Cotton said in one interview in February 2020. “We also know that just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level 4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases.”
Cue major media outlets not even exploring the possibility while attacking the messenger:
Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked https://t.co/LaQIrs0Nq8— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 17, 2020
This is the new normal for an industry where just 7 percent of U.S. adults say they have a "great deal" of trust and confidence in newspapers, television and radio news reporting. Only 29 percent have just a "fair amount" of trust in the same news providers, per Gallup.
Given the new information regarding the truth of Dr. Fauci’s testimony under oath about gain-of-function research funding, it would behoove President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE to relieve him of his duties as the head of the coronavirus task force. Simply put, Fauci has proven to be just another bureaucrat who sees issues through a partisan political prism, instead of being of an apolitical virologist who follows data and science. And now he can't be taken at his word.
Fauci picks and chooses his warnings: College football games outside are bad. The Sturgis, S.D., biker rally, also bad. But when it came to former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPolitics must accept the reality of multiracial America and disavow racial backlash To empower parents, reinvent schools Senate race in Ohio poses crucial test for Democrats MORE's birthday party in an indoor tent with hundreds of maskless people? He was silent. And when any Democratic lawmaker – California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomNewsom pledges increased spending on busting retail crime rings The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Shipwreck sends waste thousands of miles MORE, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight On The Money — Congress races to keep the lights on House sets up Senate shutdown showdown MORE, Washington Mayor Mariel Bowser, Chicago Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootChicago withdraws lawsuit against police union Plain truths don't matter to the woke folks who now rule America BBB threatens the role of parents in raising — and educating — children MORE or President Biden – breaking their own mask rules? Again, silence.
Photos also showed President Biden and the first lady emerging from a Michelin-starred seafood restaurant without masks. https://t.co/9ZU5KbPOJY— Newsweek (@Newsweek) October 18, 2021
This Is A Very Real Picture Of Lori Lightfoot Without A Mask At The WNBA Finals https://t.co/X8jRXJBPm2— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) October 18, 2021
“According to documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, and subsequent media coverage from October 2018 until February 2019, NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer funds on drug tests involving 44 beagle puppies,” Rep. Nancy MaceNancy MaceDemocratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal Mace chief of staff steps down during turbulent week McCarthy faces headaches from far-right House GOP MORE (R-S.C.) wrote on behalf of 23 colleagues from both sides of the political aisle in a letter to the NIAID.
"The commissioned tests involved injecting and force-feeding the puppies an experimental drug for several weeks, before killing and dissecting them,” the letter adds.
But don't expect President Biden to do anything here. Because if not even one person was fired or reprimanded for the Afghanistan exit debacle, there's no chance of Fauci being given the hook.
Fauci was once arguably the most trusted man in America. But he is certainly no longer at the top of that list — not even close.
The question is: Will most of the media finally wake up and give Fauci the scrutiny he deserves?
Don't count on it.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.