It used to be that a guy could be respected for his work over the course of several presidential administrations. Used to be a noted medical expert was treated with a little more dignity than just being known as a “holdover” from a previous administration.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is not perfect. Like anyone, he has made some mistakes. But he has over forty years of experience as a top medical expert in Washington D.C. and has advised every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan. That should mean something, right?
Fauci pushed back last night against the idea that the Biden team was “starting from scratch” with regard to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the Trump administration’s “Operation: Warp Speed” was a major success in cutting the red tape to get a vaccine quickly yet safely, the distribution has been less than ideal at all levels of government. Rollout to the states has been slow, state leaders have not always been great at handling it (hi, Andrew Cuomo!), and local spots are in some cases mishandling their stash.
However, pushing back against the freshly-inaugurated Biden administration was apparently a bit too far for CNN White House correspondent MJ Lee, who had this to say about Fauci.
Fauci, a holdover from the Trump administration, said about the previous admin's vaccine distribution efforts: "You can't say it was absolutely not usable at all."
(In the last hour, Biden said Trump's vaccine rollout had been a "dismal failure")
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) January 21, 2021
Fauci is a “holdover from the Trump administration.” That’s it. That’s all he amounts to in this reporter’s eyes.
Nevermind that, again, Fauci has been serving every U.S. president since Reagan. Nevermind that he was at several points a calming and reassuring voice throughout this pandemic. Nevermind that Fauci has been able stay above the politics of the crisis. He disagreed with the Biden administration’s framing of the issue, so he is little more than someone who worked for Trump.
What’s amazing is that Lee, a White House correspondent for CNN, is saying this about someone Biden hired to be the Chief Medical Adviser to the President on Wednesday. He isn’t just a holdover. He got a promotion.
I honestly can’t fathom why 56% of Americans have no faith in the media whatsoever.
This is a very hollow, very petty framing of a news story, and it shows just how sad the business of journalism has become. The actual facts of the situation — facts that even CNN anchor Chris Cuomo readily admit — are that the infrastructure is there, that the Trump administration laid some groundwork that can be used. When Fauci points this out, however, it is in conflict with the way the Biden administration framed it. Therefore, Fauci’s time in the Trump administration automatically makes him wrong, or at least less credible.
This is ridiculous, and she should be absolutely ashamed of that tweet and her phrasing. Journalists will never be able to win back the trust of the American public when people like Lee are out there letting their personal views cloud their reporting. The facts are no less credible because Fauci worked for Trump. Facts are facts.