It’s rare that GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has reason to thank The Washington Post, Buzzfeed News and CNN all at once.
Yet, as the BBC noted, they’re the three organizations that filed the Freedom of Information Act requests that made public over 3,000 pages of email correspondence from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
In the trove of communications — many of them heavily redacted — the nation’s chief COVID-19 official said masks were mostly ineffective against preventing infection from the coronavirus, agreed to “work together” with a top Chinese official and worked to discredit the Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Told you,” Sen. Paul wrote in a Twitter post Wednesday, followed by the wide-eyed emoji. Then: “Can’t wait to see the media try to spin the Fauci FOIA emails.”
Can’t wait to see the media try to spin the Fauci FOIA emails.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 2, 2021
He didn’t need to wait long — and Fauci was there to spin it along with them.
On Wednesday, Fauci appeared on MSNBC’s “Deadline” for an interview with Nicolle Wallace, one of the best softball pitchers in the liberal cable news bullpen. During the interview, Fauci insisted he was never “anti-Trump” and that his tone hasn’t changed. It’s just that Trump supporters don’t get science, he said..
What’s curious is that, despite having him on the day after the emails were released, Wallace only asked one question about them, according to Fox News. It had to do with his absence from COVID-19 briefings during the administration of former President Donald Trump and the fact he’s reappeared under President Joe Biden.
“I wonder if you feel like you’re still making up some of that lost ground from many months under the last administration of not just no information but disinformation being out there,” Wallace said.
“Do you still see some hardness among his supporters around the vaccine or around some of these messages that you’re sharing with us today?” she asked.
Fauci tried to turn the blame on his critics.
“Yeah, I mean, there is no doubt there are people out there, for one reason or another, resent me for what I did in the last administration, which was not anything that was anti-Trump at all. It was just trying to get the right information, to try and get the right data. And what they didn’t seem to understand — I guess that it is understandable that they didn’t understand it — is that science is a dynamic process.”
He then went on to explain the scientific process for clueless Trump supporters in the viewing audience, who didn’t even understand their TV’s remote control works since they were still on MSNBC.
“So something that in January — you make a recommendation or a comment about it. But as you get more and more information, the information leads you to change,” Fauci said.
“Because that is what science is, it’s a self-correcting process. So when you hear someone say something at one point, and then two or three months later, if you stick with what you said at the original time when you had one-fifth the amount of data that you have now, I think that would be inappropriate.
“It is appropriate, although sometimes it is difficult for people to understand, how as you learn more and more, you’ve got to continue to evolve with the data. That is what I was trying to do, is always tell the truth on the basis of what the data is. It was never deliberately something against the president.”
Oh, that’s how it works. I can’t believe I was this misled for this long! Well, that’s it: I’m buying a “Biden-Harris” T-shirt tomorrow.
Honestly, I can’t believe the man who’s supposed to be our nation’s top coronavirus expert is explaining the scientific process to conservatives as if he were Bill Nye and we were all 12 years old. The question he was asked by Wallace, by the way, had to do with his appearances at White House media briefings under the Trump administration and under the Biden administration.
There’s no evolving science on appearing at media briefings, nor genetic variants of the White House press room to sort out, so the answer managed to be misleading and condescending at the same time.
But this is Nicolle Wallace, so she managed to give her 2019 remark about Pete Buttigieg being “chicken soup for my soul” a run for its money: “The true mark of someone is if they look good even when their personal emails come out, so you pass the test very few of us would pass,” she told Fauci.
MSNBC’s @NicolleDWallace scores the first interview w/ Fauci since his emails were made public and uses it to say: “The true mark of someone is if they look good even when their personal emails come out, so you pass the test very few of us would pass.” pic.twitter.com/SNMXBrXm5v
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 2, 2021
Aside from the “look[ing] good” part, it’s worth noting these were work emails, not “personal.” Wallace’s wording wasn’t just sloppy, it was grossly misleading.
A veteran of a half-century in the government bureaucracy like Fauci would be well aware that his government emails could eventually become public knowledge and guard his writing accordingly.
If this the kind of email etiquette Nicolle Wallace is impressed with, I want to find a way to finagle a FOIA request for her emails.
Whatever the case, Sen. Paul, this is how the media is spinning the Fauci emails: For the most part, they aren’t.
When they do talk about them, it’s only to point out the beneficence of St. Anthony of NIAID. After all, Nicolle Wallace said Fauci looks good when his personal emails came out. Or work emails. Whatever.
Put them out of mind. Isn’t he just chicken soup for your soul?
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