The Fauci Files: The Washington Post published a story surrounding 800 pages of emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci that were sent between January and June 2020. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: The Fauci Files
This past Monday, the Washington Post published a story surrounding 800 pages of emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci that were sent between January and June 2020. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News published 3,200 additional pages they obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. BuzzFeed says the emails “provide a rare glimpse into how Fauci approached his job during the biggest health crisis of the last century, showing him dealing directly with the public, health officials, reporters, and even celebrities.” The Washington Post titled their exclusive: “Anthony Fauci’s Pandemic Emails: ‘All is well despite some crazy people in this world.'” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has gained status as, by far, the most high-profile public figure over the course of the past 15 months. Unsurprisingly, the email dump sparked a firestorm of online debate about what he knew and didn’t know during some of the most chaotic days of the pandemic. Here’s what both sides are saying about the Fauci files:
On The Left
Left-leaning outlets and commentators believe the emails show a man faced with unbearable pressure. Despite being pulled in multiple directions amidst a tense political climate and massive amounts of misinformation, Fauci — they say — handled the crisis extraordinarily well.
The Pressure on One Man: Let’s start with BuzzFeed News. Reporters Natalie Bettendorf and Jason Leopold begin by saying the “Emails Reveal The Pressure That Fell On One Man.” Not only was Fauci “under tremendous pressure… because of the health threat facing the country,” he also dealt with the “political climate fostered by the Trump administration,” they write. Bettendorf and Leopold say, “The records also lay bare Fauci’s ambivalence toward his newfound celebrity status but also his embrace of a documentary crew who would tell his story.” While these emails “represent just a portion of what was requested, and they are filled with redactions,” they “do give a sense of the type of communicator Fauci is: courteous, low-key, and empathetic.” The authors end with a quote from Ezekiel Emanuel, a former Obama administration health adviser, who told Fauci, “You are a national — international — treasure. And we are depending on your sanity and smarts.”
Fauci is Just Like Us: In an opinion article for CNN, Dr. Megan Ranney writes about “What Fauci’s emails reveal — and what they don’t.” Ranney says she “would caution everyone, including Fauci’s detractors currently scouring them for missteps, to remember that these are errors only in hindsight; at the time, no one knew what was the truth.” She remarks on “Fauci’s clear leadership skills,” which he displayed while managing “a tremendous bureaucracy and its intersection with the executive branch. These emails show a man who is trying to move quickly but accurately. He maintains an impressive curiosity and willingness to at least stay aware of out-of-the-box ideas.” At the end of the day, “We watch him manage this pandemic as a human,” Ranney says. “Throughout, his on-paper voice sounds just like his television voice. He is humble, curious and committed.” Ranney concludes that “He is just like us — or, at least, he’s how most of us like to imagine ourselves to be, on our best days.”
A Man Pulled in Many Directions: Finally, reporting for The Guardian, Richard Luscombe and Martin Pengelly outline how Fauci was “pulled in many directions.” They say, “The emails offer a window into the chaos, panic, and confusion of the time, and of the considerable difficulties Fauci faced as a prominent figure in the White House coronavirus taskforce serving Trump as the Republican US president.” The writers outline an email in which Fauci mentions the “crazy people in this world.” They say “Fauci appeared to blame [them] for politicizing the crisis.” The Guardian authors highlight his exchanges with “wealthy or influential correspondents,” including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Morgan Freeman, observing that “almost every email from Fauci is unfailingly polite.” There are also “brief moments of humor,” the authors note. They point out “a 7 April 2020, exchange with an unidentified recipient, forwarding a link to an online news article headlined: ‘Cuomo Crush and Fauci Fever – Sexualization of These Men Is a Real Thing on the Internet.’” To that, Fauci said, “It will blow your mind… Our society is really totally nuts.”
On The Right
Right-leaning outlets and commentators focus almost exclusively on the coronavirus lab-leak theory. Specifically, they don’t believe Anthony Fauci is forthcoming in regards to early knowledge about this possibility. Some think he is straight-up lying, while others believe he owes the world an explanation.
Fauci Lied: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reacted to Fauci’s email dump saying, “The utter fraudulence of Tony Fauci is obvious now, and it’s widely acknowledged.” Carlson says when he interviewed Fauci on his show in March of 2020, he “assumed he was honest… But we were wrong.” Carlson continues, saying, “It soon became clear that Tony Fauci was just another sleazy federal bureaucrat — deeply political and often dishonest.” The emails show “From the beginning, Fauci was worried the public might conclude that COVID originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Why was Fauci concerned that Americans would conclude that? Possibly because Tony Fauci knew perfectly well he’d funded gain-of-function experiments at that same laboratory.” If anything, “The emails prove Fauci lied about this under oath,” Carlson says. He concludes by saying, “It tells you that Tony Fauci is no longer a scientist, assuming he ever was. He’s a figure of religious veneration — Jesus for people who don’t believe in God.”
The World Deserves an Explanation: In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, James Freeman asks, “Did Dr. Fauci disclose everything he knew about the possibility that a Chinese lab partly funded by his own institute might be the source of the pandemic?” In public, “Dr. Fauci played down this possibility in 2020,” Freeman says, but the emails “suggest that early in the pandemic, he had reason to take this potential scenario very seriously.” Freeman cites an email from Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in California, who told Fauci to “look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered.” Moreover, “Mr Andersen and three other respected colleagues had discovered a genome ‘inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.'” At the end of the day, Freeman says “Billions of non-credentialed people all over the world deserve an explanation from Dr. Fauci. Whether or not he disclosed what he knew to Donald Trump in 2020, the allegedly publicity-shy government official needs to share everything he knows about the US taxpayer money that went into Wuhan and the global horror that came out of it.”
Need to Get to Bottom of COVID Origins: The New York Post Editorial Team echoes the sentiment above. Specifically, they take issue with the fact that Fauci “forwarded ‘anti-conspiracy theory’ articles that quoted Peter Daszak — the head of a US nonprofit that used some grant money from Fauci’s agency to fund coronavirus work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — attacking the lab-leak idea. Daszak and others wrote Fauci personally to thank him for dumping on the theory.” They write that “For a year, we’ve been told to ‘trust the science’ — but Fauci, our leading scientist, made declarations that certain theories were ‘debunked’ when they weren’t.” They ask: “Why did he back up Daszak’s self-serving dismissal of the lab theory with no real evidence — when, in fact, he was getting e-mail evidence to the contrary?” In conclusion, they say, “These revelations don’t ease the growing concern that US taxpayer cash might have helped unleash this plague.” This is why “All of it is just more reason for the Biden administration to get to the bottom of the mystery.”
Flag This: The Fauci Files
According to polling conducted in May by Convention of States Action and Trafalgar Group (one of the few groups to accurately predict the 2016 presidential election for Donald Trump), 6 out of 10 Republicans, 4 out of 10 independents, and 2 out of 10 Democrats said their trust in Dr. Fauci has decreased in the past year. Early on in the pandemic, an Economist/YouGov poll in April 2020 showed that 80 percent of Democrats trusted Fauci, while only 18 percent of Republicans were in agreement.
Currently, Disney’s National Geographic is working on a documentary about Fauci. Additionally, a children’s book is set for release on June 28 called Dr. Fauci: How a Boy From Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor.
Flag Poll: The Fauci Files
Do you still trust Dr. Anthony Fauci when it comes to personal advice and public policy related to the coronavirus pandemic? Comment below to share your thoughts.