It’s time for Fauci to go — but don’t expect it to happen

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci pushes back on statements by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
AP/Pool

“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 Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in July, responding during Senate testimony to a question posed by Sen. Rand Paul (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.”

  

Oh. 

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. Fauci 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. 

 

This is all part of a movie we’ve seen before. Remember what happened when Sen. Tom Cotton (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: 

 

 

 

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 Biden 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 Obama’s birthday party in an indoor tent with hundreds of maskless people? He was silent. And when any Democratic lawmaker – California Gov. Gavin Newsom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Washington Mayor Mariel Bowser, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or President Biden – breaking their own mask rules? Again, silence. 

 

 

And then there’s the utterly grotesque revelation that Fauci’s NIAID provided a grant to a Tunisian lab that conducted tests on beagle puppies

“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 Mace (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.

Tags Anthony Fauci Barack Obama coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the United States Dr. Anthony Fauci Dr. Fauci EcoHealth Alliance Fauci Gain-of-function research Gavin Newsom Joe Biden Lori Lightfoot Microbiology Nancy Mace Nancy Pelosi National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases National Institutes for Health Rand Paul Tom Cotton Wuhan Institute of Virology

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