Fauci gets defensive in NYT podcast, calls criticism 'craziness': 'It isn't a question of being wrong'

Media top headlines June 21

Reporters and activists rushing to judge Florida Pride parade crash before investigation, The Washington Post getting knocked for painting Biden as ‘deeply Catholic,’ and CNN getting shredded for misleading headline on GA voter roll purge round out today’s top media headlines

Chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci defended himself against criticisms of his messaging and handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a new interview, calling the condemnation “craziness.”

On the New York Times podcast “Sway,” Fauci said he had spent his life trying to save lives and his critics were trying to paint him as “Hitler.” 

“The more extreme they get, the more obvious how political it is … ‘Fauci has blood on his hands,’” the infectious diseases expert said of his critics. “Are you kidding me? … Here’s a guy whose entire life has been devoted to saving lives, and now you’re telling me he’s like Hitler? You know, come on, folks.”

More than one critic mocked Fauci for referring to himself in the third person.

Frustrated Americans have hit Fauci after months of his apparent flip-flopping on COVID-19 mandates. His recently leaked emails, obtained by the Washington Post and BuzzFeed News, revealed that he had told colleagues that masks are essentially ineffective, which many noted didn’t square with his later public support of national mask mandates. Fauci renewed his argument that those refuting him are actually refuting science, doubling down on his insistence that science evolves and he’s evolved with it.

“The people who are giving the ad hominems are saying, ‘Ah, Fauci misled us,'” Fauci said. “First he said, ‘no masks,’ then he said ‘masks.’ Well, let me give you a flash. That’s the way science works.”

“It isn’t a question of being wrong,” Fauci said of his relationship to the science surrounding COVID-19. “It’s a question of going with the data as you have, and being humble enough and flexible enough to change with the data.”

Critics accused him of lying, while others challenged him to provide the “data” to which he alluded to support his supposed evolution. 

The thousands of uncovered emails from Fauci also showed that he had been informed that COVID-19 could have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China, but he spoke out strongly against the theory last year, saying it was almost assured it originated naturally. He has since said that as a scientist, he always kept an “open mind” on the subject, but he was cited in media reports last year as effectively refuting the lab-leak theory espoused by the Trump White House.

Fauci told Swisher that he still leans toward the belief the virus occurred naturally and would like to see how solid or “flimsy” the evidence is supporting reports that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed COVID-like symptoms in November 2019. 

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