NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, praised Anthony Fauci soon after he declared he would retire in December:
“I can’t think of another public servant who has contributed as much and for as long to saving lives as Dr. Tony Fauci. He is also a wonderful person.
In a flash, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Fauci was resigning from his position as chief medical adviser to President Biden “presumably to escape being questioned by a GOP controlled house on how he got everything so wrong for so long.”
The conflicting stories were in progress.
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As the director of the infectious-disease institute, Fauci was a continuous presence on the radio and television, appeared on numerous magazine covers, and generally leveraged his position to become one of the most well-known and contentious doctors in the world. The fact that he gave interviews to the New York Times and Washington Post the evening before making yesterday’s announcement came as no surprise.
Comparison of the two tales is really instructive.
The Post pretty much got it right, putting both his notoriety and his political conflicts in the lead:
Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert who attained unprecedented fame while facing vicious political criticism as the public face of the coronavirus pandemic response under two presidents, announced on Monday that he plans to retire in December after more than 50 years in public service.
His time there “made him an adviser to seven presidents and put him on the front lines of every modern-day disease, including AIDS, the 2001 anthrax scares, Ebola, Zika, and the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the following two paragraphs, which detailed his career.
The criticism was then brought up again:
Although Fauci has been well-known in scientific communities for decades and is one of the most frequently cited researchers of all time, the coronavirus pandemic propelled him to international recognition and sparked criticism from some Republican leaders as well as threats from the public.
The paper claimed that while the coronavirus pandemic arrived in a “strikingly different era,” social media “poured fuel on the criticism and baseless conspiracy leveled at Fauci and others presiding over the federal governments response,” and that he had faced criticism during the early stages of the AIDS crisis.
The 81-year-old official admitted making mistakes, including declaring in the early weeks of the pandemic that Americans didn’t need masks and failing to realize that those who weren’t ill with the virus might still spread it.
This “caused the surgeon general of the United States, the CDC and me to say, right now, you really dont need to wear a mask and all of a sudden, it became Tony Fauci is the mask person,” said Fauci. “Since I am the far right’s main target, when they say you got it wrong, it isn’t because everyone got it wrong; it is because Tony Fauci got it wrong,” I said.
Even if it is spin, it is Faucis’ spin.
The Times article’s opening five lines, in comparison, are pure adoration:
The narrative then states that Fauci is resigning to “pursue the next chapter” of his professional life:
Few scientists have influenced public policy as significantly or as persistently. When the AIDS crisis needed attention in 1984, Dr. Fauci was appointed director of the National Institutes of Health’s infectious disease department. He joined the organization in 1968, when Lyndon Johnson was president.
“Dr. Fauci is an expert at managing the intersection of science and politics, having counseled seven presidents since Ronald Reagan. He listed one of his biggest achievements as working with President George W. Bush to create PEPFAR, a worldwide initiative to fight HIV/AIDS that is thought to have saved 21 million lives. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was given to Dr. Fauci in 2008 by Mr. Bush, whose father, George Bush, referred to him as a hero during a 1988 presidential debate. The Times just states the following in the sixth paragraph:
“But Dr. Fauci, who shot to fame when the coronavirus started to spread in 2020, was unable to avoid the partisanship of the Trump administration. The prospect of firing him was openly discussed by President Donald J. Trump (though that would have been difficult because Dr. Fauci is not a political appointee). Dr. Fauci was perceived by conservatives as a representation of masks and lockdowns, which they vehemently opposed.
Therefore, Fauci’s issues were caused by the “politicization of the Trump period” and conservatives’ portrayals of him as a right-wing victim.
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The sentence after that said that Fauci and Rand Paul had labeled one another liars.
The newspaper did mention that AIDS activists had initially criticized Fauci, but it also stated that “with time, he befriended many of those activists.”
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Then, more compliments followed.
One narrative weaves together Fauci’s remarkably lengthy history of public service with his political conflicts during the pandemic, while the other treats such conflicts as a sideline and portrays him primarily as a conservative target.