3 years ago American Thinker was the first to call out the fraud of Dr. Anthony Fauci and was viciously attacked by the WaPo, NYT other MSM outlets
Three years ago tomorrow, on March 21, 2020, American Thinker published the first nationally-read critical article about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Deep State medical bureaucrat who would play a determinative role in the country’s draconian and failed response to Covid-19. I was the author of that blog.
At the time, the United States was in the first days of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown as a result of the pandemic. The weeks and months ahead would witness the greatest disruption of life in the U.S. since World War II – and arguably the most serious suspension of the constitutional protection of civil liberties, as well as harm to hundreds of millions of Americans’ health and personal freedom – in the history of the country.
Although Fauci, as director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), had a four-decade-long history of questionable influence on the nation’s health care, the media in March 2020, both left and right, were largely swooning over him. Having reported on Dr. Fauci starting in 1985, however, I knew better.
My AT blog had the provocative – but entirely justified – title “Anthony Fauci, the NIH's face of the coronavirus, is a Deep-State Hillary Clinton–loving stooge.” The gist of the article was substantive: Fauci, in my opinion and based on the record that I cited, had presided over the creation of an enormous, sclerotic medical bureaucracy in response to the first politically correct disease in history, the gay AIDS “pandemic,” in the 1980s. The AIDS-centric bureaucracy that he was largely responsible for grew to unprecedented proportions that eclipsed and crowded out research on more prevalent, but less trendy, diseases including diabetes, breast cancer, and heart disease.
In the early 2000s, AIDS (which resulted in only 2.5% as many deaths as cancer between 1982 and 2020) was still inexplicably the dominant preoccupation of the U.S. medical establishment. In 2005, a quarter century after AIDS emerged, Fauci and his fellow bureaucrats were supporting draconian measures like mandatory testing of everyone for HIV, the virus they insisted caused AIDS, and a fruitless search costing hundreds of billions of dollars for an AIDS vaccine.
Chart from my March 21, 2020 blog on Fauci, illustrating the gross mismatch in U.S. government research dollars accorded to various diseases during Fauci’s long tenure at the helm of the NIAID. Sources: Centers for Disease Control (top); American Diabetes Association.
During the week of my March 21 AT blog, Fauci’s stellar reputation was being reported both here and internationally, including in the Sydney [Australia] Morning Herald in an article titled “How Dr Anthony Fauci became America's truth-teller.” Fauci, according to the article, “was previously a revered figure in scientific circles… but now he has become an almost omnipresent figure in American life.”
Soon after its publication, my March 21, 2020 article at AT on Fauci – because of its novelty, timing, and compelling headline – began to hit a nerve. On March 24, 2020, POLITICO was the first publication to pile on in “Anthony Fauci becomes a fringe MAGA target:”
The far-right’s most zealous Trump supporters have set their sights on Dr. Anthony Fauci…. To a vocal minority of right-wing blogs and pro-Trump pundits, Fauci is the embodiment of the establishment forces that have been arrayed against the president since he came to Washington. And those voices are getting louder amid rumblings about Fauci’s standing with Trump as the president itches to get the economy restarted in the coming weeks.
“A Deep-State Hillary Clinton-loving stooge,” read a Saturday headline on the American Thinker, a far-right website, latching on to a WikiLeaks-released email that showed Fauci praising Clinton for her Benghazi testimony as secretary of State.
Two days later, the Washington Post published the first of four critical articles that referenced – and linked to – my AT blog. Also weighing in were the New York Times (two articles including one of them on page 1A), New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Buzzfeed, and a large number of other left of center MSM outlets. Some excerpts of their reporting follow.
Early in the first Post piece that dropped on March 26, 2020, one of the Post’s premiere political reporters, former Rhodes Scholar Isaac Stanley-Becker, observed:
Peter Barry Chowka, whose Twitter bio boasts that he has been retweeted by the president, recently referred to Fauci, who has advised multiple presidents of both parties, as a “Deep-State Hillary Clinton-loving stooge.” Trump has not brought these attacks to his own Twitter feed, but he has surfaced previous pieces by Chowka, including praise for Sean Hannity of Fox News. . .
The attempt to discredit Fauci draws on a resource for which Trump has professed his “love” — WikiLeaks. Among the emails hacked by Russian agents and released by the anti-secrecy organization in 2016 was a message Fauci sent in 2013 to one of Clinton’s top aides, Cheryl Mills. He praised the secretary of state’s “stamina and capability” during her testimony before the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. (snip)
The same hacked email was the centerpiece of Chowka’s piece, which appeared over the weekend on the conservative blog American Thinker.
“So Fauci’s a typical, deeply embedded administrative state hack who can be expected to be obsequious to his political bosses like Mrs. Clinton,” Chowka wrote, going on to accuse the infectious diseases expert of contradicting and undermining Trump. . .
Chowka’s piece has generated nearly 20,000 interactions on Facebook alone — more than the typical well-performing story in the mainstream media. [Emphasis added.] It has gained particular traction in Facebook groups devoted to Fox News personalities, suggesting an overlapping audience, as well as in state-specific groups, such as Maine for Trump 2020 and New York for Trump. In a group for Massachusetts-based supporters of the president, one user wrote, “Never liked or trusted this person.”
The first Post article generated about 50,000 reader comments and not surprisingly a significant number of them expressed extreme hostility directed at yours truly. My Twitter account, which had about 8,000 followers at that point, became a magnet for hate tweets and threatening Direct Messages. It was decidedly unpleasant and extremely creepy to suddenly feel so much virtual hate directed at me. Previously in my so-called career, I had experienced this kind of (negative) “15 minutes of fame.” But the advent of social media in 2020, the wildfire spread of politicized memes that social media encourages, and the vitriolic partisan hatred of anything deemed pro-Trump elevated the whole thing to a new, nuclear level.
Virtually none of the MSM reporting that referenced my article mentioned the substance of it. The authors probably didn’t read it beyond the title, after which I was lumped in with diehard supporters of the president, even though I never mentioned Trump beyond the fact that Fauci was the head of the president’s Covid Task Force.
The primary message of my early writings on Covid at AT, including the very first blog, were summarized in a subsequent blog, “Will the Covid-19 PsyOp succeed?,” published on April 9, 2020.
Here’s the core of what I am saying: I began reporting on Dr. Fauci in 1985 in the context of the U.S. government’s war on AIDS. The decade before, I started covering the war on cancer and in the 1980s the war on AIDS. Some of the same doctors and medical bureaucrats were the generals in charge of both of these wars. The substance of my reporting documents how Fauci and his colleagues engineered the growth of a massive bureaucracy dedicated to HIV/AIDS, while selling short research into other much more prevalent diseases – deadly illnesses that are not caused by unhealthy personal behaviors.
Several decades later now, things are completely out of whack. Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are still the leading medical causes of death. But to this day, thanks to Fauci and his colleagues in government, they receive much smaller percentages of funding in terms of people who die from these diseases compared with AIDS, which kills hardly anyone. This should be a national scandal and along with everything else he has done, it should rule Fauci out of a leadership role in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NY Times is next, and the plot thickens
The “newspaper of record,” the New York Times, got to the story in a page one article on Sunday, March 28, 2020, “Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right:”
In recent weeks, much of the online discussion of Dr. Fauci was benign or positive. Zignal Labs, a media analysis company, studied 1.7 million mentions of Dr. Fauci across the web and TV broadcasts from Feb. 27 to Friday [March 20] and found that through mid-March, he was mainly praised and his comments were straightforwardly reported. . .
However, by Saturday March 28, according to the Times:
Anti-Fauci posts spiked, according to Zignal Labs. Much of the increase was prompted by a March 21 article in The American Thinker, a conservative blog, which published the seven-year-old email that Dr. Fauci had written to an aide of Mrs. Clinton. In the email, Dr. Fauci praised Mrs. Clinton for her stamina during the 2013 Benghazi hearings. The American Thinker falsely claimed that the email was evidence that he was part of a secret group who opposed Mr. Trump.
This last comment in the Times article about my blog inspired my March 30, 2020 reply at AT, “New York Times publishes fake news about American Thinker.”
In its Sunday edition, with the biggest readership of the week, the New York Times published an utterly baseless accusation:
The American Thinker falsely claimed that the [Fauci] email was evidence that he was part of a secret group who opposed Mr. Trump.
In other words, the newspaper did exactly what it purported this website [American Thinker] did: “falsely claimed” something without a factual basis. Moreover, in its online edition, the Times failed to link to the post in question so readers could see for themselves that the accusation was untrue.
On March 30, I wrote that my March 21 blog about Fauci “made no mention of, nor did it imply the existence of an alleged conspiracy on the part of Fauci or anyone else in President Trump’s circle of medical advisers to seriously undermine the president’s efforts to mitigate the problem of the coronavirus.”
I also objected to my blog being lumped in with “misinformation campaigns” as the Times described reporting that didn’t adhere to the party line.
Misinformation campaigns during a pandemic carry a unique danger because they may sow distrust in public health officials when accurate information and advice are crucial, said Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor at Syracuse University who teaches digital ethics.
“What this case will show is that conspiracy theories can kill,” she said.
The blowback was white hot
In those last days of March and early April 2020, the blowback directed at me and AT grew white hot as the MSM reported that Dr. Fauci was now required to have 24/7 round the clock security because of threats to his safety. In another article in the New York Times that referenced me on April 1, 2020, “After Threats, Anthony Fauci to Receive Enhanced Personal Security,” the authors wrote “online attacks against him [Fauci have] increased.” The report recycled a description from the Times’ previous article about my March 21 blog on Fauci at AT:
A seven-year-old email that he wrote to an aide of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s was posted online by The American Thinker, a conservative blog. In the email, Dr. Fauci praised Mrs. Clinton for her stamina during hearings into the 2012 attacks on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya. The blog suggested falsely that the email proved that Dr. Fauci was part of a secret group who opposed Mr. Trump.
The “newspaper of record” wasn’t the only outlet to imply that this author shared responsibility for threats to the great doctor. The leftist program Democracy Now!, broadcast on many NPR and PBS stations around the country, ran a segment on April 2, 2020 “Top Coronavirus Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci Gets Security Detail After Death Threats:”
Dr. Anthony Fauci has reportedly been given a security detail after receiving death threats. . . He’s been pilloried in conservative media circles in language echoing President Trump. [Author’s note: FALSE.] For example, a recent headline in the American Thinker referred to Fauci as a “Deep-State Hillary Clinton-loving Stooge.”
I wondered if I would be deemed responsible by the unseen powers that be for the reported anti-Fauci threats (I have always publicly abhorred and never advocated violence, by the way) and would receive an invoice for the costs of Fauci’s security detail. Fortunately, that did not come to pass.
This spin made it across the pond to the Guardian (UK), which reported on Fauci’s need for a government security detail to protect him while, of course, citing my March 21 blog.
Nationally-syndicated columnist Clarence Page, whose home base was the Chicago Tribune, celebrated Fauci in a column on March 27, 2020, and went on to note:
The Washington Post reports, despite his valued service under presidents from both parties, Fauci has come under increasing — and unfair — fire from paranoids on the right fringe who long have fueled a conservative war against science and so-called “deep state” conspiracies.
For example, Peter Barry Chowka, who has been retweeted by Trump on other occasions, recently called Fauci a “Deep-State Hillary Clinton-loving stooge.” Others have hint-hint-hinted that perhaps Fauci himself had a hand in creating what Trump, until recent days, called “the Chinese virus.”
Such is the low quality of ideological discourse into which some would drag Fauci or anyone else who refuses to subscribe to their wing-nut ideology.
After Page’s column appeared, I succeeded in getting an email to him. He briefly acknowledged receiving it and I sent him a further email outlining the substance of my blog and requesting a correction or a clarification. I never heard from him again.
The experience of the over-the-top blowback provided a painful insight into what President Trump and other individuals, who are continually in the limelight or crosshairs, have to endure day to day, every day.
And so it went until around mid-April, when the news cycle finally moved on. In the three years since then, Anthony Fauci’s reputation has deservedly suffered a major decline, at least among most conservatives and people who can think independently. Members of Congress, including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), have accused Fauci of lying under oath in Congressional testimony about Covid-19. And that’s the least of it.
A persistent Fauci critic, hardly on the MAGA right, is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose non-profit Children’s Health Defense early on emerged as a uniquely credible and truth-telling professional group of attorneys and analysts deconstructing the various Covid-19 PsyOps and myths. Kennedy’s 480-page 2021 book, The Real Anthony Fauci, a confirmed best-seller, is the definitive analysis of the dark side of Fauci including his previous career overseeing the government’s problematic responses to HIV-AIDS, SARS, Swine Flu, Zika, and Ebola.
It should be noted that – while my March 21, 2020 blog was the first article or blog at AT to headline and focus on Dr. Anthony Fauci – the home page of American Thinker on Sunday, March 22, 2020, archived here, included a number of articles that very early on were beginning to report an alternative, fact-based narrative about Covid-19, including:
- “Want to beat the coronavirus? Reopen America now,”
- “Coronavirus Lunacy: Take a Deep Breath, Society,”
- “FDA Must Approve Hydroxychloroquine Now,”
- “Why COVID-19 Is a Product of the Left,” and
- “A Real-Life Story of How Coronavirus Hysteria Oppresses People.”
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades. His web page with links to his work is http://peter.media. Peter's extensive American Thinker archive: http://tinyurl.com/pcathinker. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka
Caricature by Donkey Hotey CC BY 2.0 license