CNN political commentator Mary Katharine Ham took aim at the mainstream media’s treatment of Dr. Anthony Fauci and claimed that he was responsible, at least in part, for the criticism he is facing.
The story: Ham made the comments during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” after political analyst David Gregory asked about the reason behind the “fixation” on “attacking” Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president.
Gregory was referring to the criticism Fauci has received over his claims about the coronavirus and masking. The NIAID director also recently came under scrutiny for a heated exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) at a Senate hearing, which took place on Tuesday.
The Senator grilled Fauci about an NIH-funded study that he claimed qualifies as gain of function research.
What she said: Ham accused the mainstream media of “fangirling” of the long-time health official and said they rarely ask him any tough questions.
“I think it’s that Fauci is a very powerful public official who deserves, and rarely gets, tough questioning in almost any realm,” Ham said. “[Fauci] gets, frankly, a lot of fangirling and a lot of forum for his ideas and he doesn’t get a lot of pushback.”
Han also took a jab at Fauci for recently declaring that “attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science.”
“And despite his protestations, tough questions for Dr. Anthony Fauci are not attacks on science itself,” the CNN contributor said.
She further argued that Fauci deservedly faces criticism over his statements about the pandemic.
“This is something we should talk about … Fauci has something to do with the numbers on his own level of trustworthiness. He has at least, twice, and I will be gentle in saying, at least shaded the truth about his COVID pronouncements based on his own judgment on what the public can handle,” she said.
Ham pointed out that Fauci said at the beginning of the pandemic that masks are not necessarily effective at preventing the spread and then flip-flopping on the matter. Fauci has also reversed on herd immunity, she added.
“It did seed distrust of him with good reason,” Ham said. “Those are just facts. And it is an issue that a very powerful public figure was found to be shading the truth about these things and it is a reason that people have come to distrust him.”
“Both Fauci and much of the media and much of his fan base, frankly, conflate confronting him about these things in a serious way with an attack on him personally. It’s not an attack on him personally to note that he has done these things,” Ham said. “He is the face of the messaging for this. At times he has been not a great face for the messaging of these things.”
“On the issue of this particular line of questioning which has to do with the lab leak theory … you may say it’s legitimate to ask him difficult questions but we don’t ever seem to get around to it,” she added. “This is the kind of thing that makes people distrust folks when we’re told we can’t talk about something that we have good reason to ask questions about.”
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