“Based on watching the full clip and reading the entire transcript, it’s more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor for asking hard-hitting questions to Dr. Fauci about gain-of-function research and his words have been twisted completely out of context,” a Fox representative said, according to CNN.
He said Fauci should be questioned for his decisions and then went on to describe how an ordinary citizen could create a viral moment by confronting Fauci in public and getting it on video. In his description, Watters used the metaphor of “ambushing” Fauci in the style of an aggressive journalist.
“Now you go in for the kill shot. The kill shot with an ambush — deadly, because he doesn’t see it coming … Boom, he is dead! He is dead!” Watters said.
Many responded to Watter’s language claiming it was inflammatory and encouraged harassment of Fauci.
CNN host John Berman asked Fauci how he felt about the comments on Tuesday.
“Jesse Waters, who is a Fox News entertainer, was giving a speech to a conservative group where he talked about you, and suggested to the crowd that they ambush you with what he said was some kind of rhetorical kill shot. That was his exact word,” Berman said, as Mediaite reported.
“I’m wondering, you know, how much that concerns you when you hear language like that about you and your well-being?”
Fauci didn’t hold back.
“That’s awful that he said that. And he’s going to go very likely unaccountable. I mean, whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything for him. I mean, that’s crazy. The guy should be fired on the spot!” Fauci said.
This is not the first time that Fauci has spoken out against Fox News. In light of criticism he has received for his role in the pandemic, he has commented that Fox should discipline their hosts.
He wanted Watters fired, and he wanted Lara Logan disciplined several weeks ago after she compared Fauci to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who performed barbarous medical experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“What I find striking, Chris, is how she gets no discipline whatsoever from the Fox network,” Fauci told MSNBC host Chris Hayes, according to CNN. “How they can let her say that with no comment and no disciplinary action. I’m astounded by that.”
Fauci has become more and more the subject of harsh criticism from conservatives over his performance during the pandemic. This criticism also follows on the heels of a general growing mistrust of Fauci and the CDC that was beginning before Trump even left office.
StatNews reported in September 2020 that a poll at the time found “the public’s trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S.’s top doctors, like Anthony Fauci, is rapidly dropping, particularly among Republicans.”
This year, as amid continued government overreaching and doubts about the Biden administration’s competence in handling of the coronavirus, public trust in Fauci is questionable, despite his celebrity status in the mainstream media.
An I&I/TIPP poll released Monday found trust in Fauci is apparently lacking among a majority of Americans.
The poll of 1,301 Americans conducted Dec. 1-4 found fewer than half of Americans surveyed had had “a lot” or “quite a bit” of trust in Fauci, according to Issues&Insights. Forty-one percent had “little trust” or “no trust at all. Thirteen percent had no opinion.
The results broke down along party lines, with 45 percent of Democrats saying they had “a lot” of trust in Fauci, and 27 percent saying they had “quite a bit.”
Among Republicans, 28 percent said they had little faith in Fauci, according to the poll, and 40 percent saying they had none at all.
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