President Donald Trump, right, listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health Anthony Fauci speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, channeled his inner President Trump during an appearance CNN’s on “State Of the Union,” on Sunday when a CNN anchor tried to put him off guard. The director, who is the leading infectious disease expert, was discussing the coronavirus outbreak and the steps that should be taken to combat the virus.
The director had participated in a press conference with the president on Friday to discuss the government’s efforts to address the coronavirus problem. Both the president and Fauci addressed members of the media using the same microphone.
During the conversation, CNN host Brianna Keilar showed a picture of Fauci touching the same microphone as President Trump and asked if the director was going to take a coronavirus test. “I have no symptoms. I have not — I’m practicing pretty good social distancing,” he replied. “But not everybody in the United States should take a test. I mean, I have no symptoms, there’s no reason for me to take a test. If I’m in a situation where I’m at a higher risk, I will take a test.”
Keilar pushed Fauci further, noting that it’s “hard” to “fully” practice social distancing as the director has repeatedly recommended. Unfazed, Fauci retorted:
“The picture you showed about the microphone, let’s get real here. There are certain things that you have to do. If I left the microphone like that, you would see nothing but the microphone. My putting my two fingers to get the microphone down isn’t that bad, so I don’t think we should make something of that.”
Let’s take Fauci’s advice here and “get real.” There was absolutely no reason for Keilar to have asked about Fauci’s touching the microphone or whether he has taken a test. That line of questioning added nothing to the conversation and was a thinly-veiled attempt to cast doubt on Fauci’s warnings.
Other members of the establishment media criticized the president for downplaying the virus when it first spread. But are now attempting to discredit the administration’s attempts to combat the spread of the disease. Keilar seems to be following suit, trying to discredit Fauci and other experts in the administration who have urged an abundance of caution.
The president’s messaging when the outbreak first occurred was deeply flawed; whether he intended to or not, he downplayed the seriousness of the illness despite warnings from agencies that saw that the virus would continue to spread across the world and affect American citizens. However, it is evident that government workers are making a sincere effort to address the pandemic and lessen the number of deaths that could occur.
The reality is that the media was going to use the coronavirus as a political weapon against the president regardless of how he responded. If he had emphasized the seriousness of the virus earlier, they would have claimed he was fomenting panic. Their objective is not to inform the American public; it is to influence their viewers. This can easily be seen in their deceptive reportage on the coronavirus.
Unfortunately, the Fourth Estate seems bent on playing politics with the coronavirus rather than contributing to a solution. For them, it is more important to ensure a Democratic victory in November than to try to decrease the number of deaths that result from the disease. But this isn’t anything new, is it?
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