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Fawning over Fauci: A glance again on the media’s reward of the face of U.S. COVID-19 response

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Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has been held up as a hero within the eyes of the media, attaining superstar standing all through the COVID-19 pandemic. That point within the highlight, no less than in a authorities capability, appears poised to finish within the subsequent two years. 

Fauci mentioned he’ll step down from the NIAID by the tip of Biden’s first time period following greater than 5 many years of federal service below seven totally different presidential administrations, though he has cautioned he isn’t retiring from medical work.

All through the pandemic, Fauci grew to become considerably of a barometer for the tumultuous political local weather that divided the nation on how to reply to the virus. A ubiquitous presence within the media all through the early throes of the pandemic, he has been criticized for showing to flip-flop and transfer the goalposts on pandemic steerage, in addition to for his defensive posture on questions concerning the NIAID’s potential position within the Wuhan lab-leak concept of the virus’ origins.


National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments (NIAID) Director on the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH), Dr. Anthony Fauci. (Getty Pictures)

Retailers reminiscent of MSNBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS fawned over Fauci, oftentimes providing him comfortable interviews that praised his response to the pandemic, and gushed over his contributions to science. Generally he was elevated to the standing of hero by outstanding media figures, reminiscent of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer or the co-hosts of ABC’s “The View.” 

Throughout an April eight installment of “The View,” Pleasure Behar mentioned that she believed there have been “only a few heroes” of the COVID-19 pandemic, to which Sunny Hostin chimed in that she believes Fauci must be thought-about one. 

“Fauci, we no less than can comply with him,” Behar agreed. “He alters issues, however that’s science, you recognize?”

It is a title Fauci has mentioned he does not need, although he has been profiled quite a few occasions, was the topic of a extremely flattering Nationwide Geographic documentary, and even appeared on the July 2020 cowl of InStyle lounging by a pool. 


FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) 

FILE – Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments, speaks in the course of the every day briefing on the White Home in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.  (AP Photograph/Susan Walsh, File)  (AP)

Some liberal anchors obtained criticism for his or her adoration of the infectious illness skilled in the course of the period of COVID. 

In December, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace was slammed for declaring herself a “Fauci groupie,” boasting of ways in which she has dedicated to public well being measures. 

“I am thrice-vaccinated, masks adherent. I purchase KN95 masks by the, you recognize, caseload. They’re in each pocket. I put on them all over the place besides after I sit down,” she advised a panel of friends. 

Wallace beforehand praised Fauci in June 2021 after the leaking of his emails confirmed his private beliefs did not match steerage being given to People relating to the pandemic, and was repeatedly warned about the opportunity of the lab-leak concept that he publicly known as far-fetched on the time.

“The true mark of somebody is that if they appear good, even when their private emails come out. So that you handed the take a look at that only a few of us would move,” Wallace advised him.


Throughout an look final yr on “Morning Joe,” left-wing NBC nationwide affairs analyst John Heilemann recommended, whereas defending Fauci that Republicans are deliberately attempting to maintain COVID-19 round. 

“…If folks comply with Fauci, there’s a likelier likelihood that COVID whereas go away,” Heilemann mentioned. “And if COVID goes away it’s unhealthy proper now for Republicans. It’s simply the maths on this—the political math just isn’t exhausting to determine.”

Quite a few liberal information anchors additionally echoed one another once they closed their interviews with Fauci, complimenting his knowledge and recommendation over the previous few years, and urging him to return to their exhibits. 

“Everytime you might be right here it’s—we’ll have you ever. It’s at all times an honor to have time with you,” Rachel Maddow advised Fauci throughout a January 2021 section. 

“Thanks for all of your steerage this previous yr,” CBS’s Norah O’Donnell as soon as mentioned to Fauci to shut her present. 

Throughout a separate look with him, NBC Information’ Chuck Todd advised Fauci that if data is “ok” for Fauci, it’s additionally ok for him and his household. 

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle equally showered Fauci with reward, proclaiming that he makes People “smarter, safer, and higher day by day.”

The reward showered on Fauci by purportedly non-partisan journalists irked CNN’s Mary Katharine Ham; the conservative commentator earlier this yr mentioned “Fauci is a really highly effective public official who deserves, and infrequently will get, robust questioning in virtually any realm.”


Fauci has signaled over the previous few months that any efforts to eradicate coronavirus fully could be a idiot’s errand. Throughout an look final week on MSNBC, Fauci admitted it’s a “exhausting promote” as of late to get folks boosted and to masks up. 

One other interview noticed Fauci admit that COVID-19 vaccines don’t defend “overly nicely” towards an infection from the virus, though he praised their skills to guard adherents from extreme virus outcomes – Fauci himself contracted COVID-19 this yr however had delicate signs regardless of his superior age.

Fox Information’ Cortney O’Brien contributed to this report. 

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