Without a hint of irony, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Dr. Anthony Fauci about his experience as “a polarizing figure,” as if Wallace’s own network hasn’t worked its audience up into a frenzy over the nation’s top epidemiologist.
— Boo-klynmutt (@brooklynmutt) October 17, 2021
Fox News is absolutely one of the reasons Fauci is considered “polarizing.” Primetime host Tucker Carlson has routinely attacked Fauci, calling him “the guy who created Covid,” accusing him of being part of a government “cover-up,” and saying he is “often dishonest” and deserves to be under “criminal investigation.” Hosts earlier this month painted Fauci as a “Grinch” who wants to cancel Christmas. Host Laura Ingraham has downplayed the threat Covid poses while casting doubt on the safety of vaccines for children. And former Trump adviser Peter Navarro has appeared as a guest on the network to call Fauci “evil” and say he refers to Covid as “the Fauci virus.” The dangerous anti-vaxx messages Fox News hosts send also contribute to the villainization of Fauci. The doctor himself has said the network’s coverage of Covid is “outlandish” and that some hosts “distort” the facts.
Wallace asked Fauci, “When this pandemic started, I think it’s fair to say you were generally regarded as the authority on infectious disease. But as time has gone on, you’ve become a polarizing figure. Critics accuse you of sending mixed messages. There’s allegations that you helped fund dangerous research at the Wuhan lab. Two questions: Why do you think you’ve become so controversial? And honestly, do you think there’s anything you have done that has contributed to that?”
Fauci tactfully didn’t directly call out the network. He said he couldn’t think of anything he did to contribute to his polarization. “But I’m sure some people will,” he quipped.
“I have stood for always making science, data and evidence be what we guide ourselves by, and I think people who feel differently, who have conspiracy theories, who deny reality that’s looking them straight in the eye, those are people that don’t particularly care for me,” Fauci said. “And that’s understandable because what I do and I try very hard is to be guided by the truth and sometimes the truth becomes inconvenient for some people so they react against me.”
He concluded in his usual matter-of-fact manner, “That just is what it is, there’s not much I can do about that, Chris.”