I was under the impression, during the final year of the Trump administration, that Dr. Anthony Fauci was the voice of science. This wasn’t necessarily because of his performance during his frequent television appearances and media briefings, but rather because I was explicitly told as much.
Why, just look at the headlines. Bloomberg: “Anthony Fauci, America’s Voice of Science.”
Science: “Fauci mania! His voice for science during pandemic inspires bobblehead, other kitsch … and SNL.”
Al Jazeera: “Who is Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s trusted voice on coronavirus?”
The Qatari state media outfit mentioned responsible for that last headline may have gotten to the heart of why Fauci is so “trusted” by those writing these laudatory pieces when it mentioned this about halfway through: “Fast-forward six years, and Fauci is again at the forefront of scientists’ efforts to dispel misinformation and explain the coronavirus pandemic, even when it means being at odds with the president.” I couldn’t help but reading that sentence slightly differently; when Al Jazeera said “scientists,” I distinctly heard “media,” and when it said “even when,” I heard “because.”
But don’t take my word for it. When the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases won arguably his biggest prize this week, it had nothing to do with his scientific acumen. Instead, the Dan David Prize, an Israeli award which is affiliated with Tel Aviv University, has given Fauci the award based on, in part, the fact he was “speaking truth to power.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic unraveled, [Fauci] leveraged his considerable communication skills to address people gripped by fear and anxiety and worked relentlessly to inform individuals in the United States and elsewhere about the public health measures essential for containing the pandemic’s spread,” the committee added.
“In addition, he has been widely praised for his courage in speaking truth to power in a highly charged political environment.”
The committee didn’t mention any powerful names Fauci was speaking truth to. Anyone want to venture a guess? I’m stumped.
“Dr. Fauci has been a global leader in control and research of infectious diseases that present a major public health challenge,” Dr. Elizabeth Miller, the chair of the selection committee, said during the award announcement, according to CNN.
“Dr. Fauci’s contribution has encompassed the basic laboratory and clinical research that has underpinned the development of effective treatments and vaccines for these diseases, but equally important his leadership has helped ensure that this basic research has been translated into a public health impact across the world.”
Fauci, Miller said, was also selected for “courageous leadership.”
Again, no word on what the courage entailed, but we can be fairly certain what it was.
This isn’t just another medal, mind you. The Dan David Prize carries with it $1 million in prize money; the award is given out to recipients who address issues in the past, present and future. Dr. Fauci won in the “present” category.
Furthermore, 10 percent of that check is set aside for scholarships in the academic field of the winner.
Now, is there a problem with most of the reasons why Fauci is getting the award? Of course not. However, it’s curious to see that “speaking truth to power” is one of the reasons he’s being given the $1 million prize.
Fauci, who was considered someone former President Donald Trump couldn’t get away with firing, would say something the media liked. Usually, it would be something that contradicted the Trump administration’s official narrative.
It didn’t even have to be practical. For instance, last summer he said that it might be time to take up wearing goggles or eye shields.
“If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it,” he said during a late-July Instagram Live session.
Would things get to that point? “It might, if you really want perfect protection of the mucosal surfaces,” he said.
“You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,” he continued
“Theoretically, you should protect all the mucosal surfaces. So if you have goggles or an eye shield you should use it.”
He went on to say that goggles were “not universally recommended” yet, but that “if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can.” Almost nobody did.
Nor did his “truth” even have to be truth.
In March, Fauci told CBS News, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” One month later, according to the Washington Examiner, he told us we all needed masks. In June, he admitted that was because he knew the masks would be subject to shortages, so he told people they were ineffective so that others could get them. A lie to the people can sometimes be truth to power, after all.
At least we can be rest assured the media will be as forgiving when Fauci speaks truth to power under this administration, right? For instance, how did they react when — after CNN reported that “sources with direct knowledge of the new administration’s Covid-related work” said there was no usable vaccine distribution plan left to them by the Trump administration — Fauci said “we certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution?”
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
After speaking truth to the power that was Donald Trump, it turns out that Fauci is now “a holdover from the Trump administration.”
Enjoy your award, Dr. Fauci, and would you please stop speaking truth to power? Just be the voice of science — the administration’s science. That’d be superb. Thanks!
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.