Is Fauci boycotting Fox News?


It hadn’t occurred to me but Politico’s right. It has been awhile since the right’s least favorite doctor turned up on the right’s favorite network.

Any theories as to why?

You know the coverage on a network is tough when one host compares you to Mussolini and that’s not the nastiest analogy of the week for you on their airwaves.

Logan was scolded for that comparison on Twitter by the official account of the Auschwitz Museum, which she promptly blocked.

The most interesting detail about Politico’s report is that Fauci seems willing to do what Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes recently did, holding the entire network responsible for the positions of its most unhinged hosts. Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Neil Cavuto would doubtless treat Fauci with respect as a guest, unlike the primetime crew, but evidently he’s not making a distinction between the respectable journalists and the bombthrowers anymore. Evidently Fauci’s decided that if the respectable part of the network is okay working at a network where the primetime hosts treat him like a chew toy, they can look elsewhere for guests on their own programs.

If, that is, this is truly a case of him boycotting the network. Maybe it’s something else.

Shows across the cable news channel, including ones with news hosts like BRET BAIER and NEIL CAVUTO, have been trying to book Fauci for months but he’s been turning them down, according to an official familiar with bookings at Fox News…

Fauci began turning down more Fox appearances when hosts asked him on to respond to Sen. RAND PAUL’s unproven allegations that Fauci’s agency funded research that could enhance viruses, known as gain-of-function research, or calls for the NIAID director to resign, an official familiar with his thinking said. The official added that Fauci had good interviews with hosts on the network but that they needed to put “daylight” between accusations from Paul and comments like Logan’s.

“Would you go on a show that compared you to a Nazi war criminal? Do you really think that’s an opportunity to get a fair hearing?” said ERIC SCHULTZ, an adviser to BARACK OBAMA and former White House deputy press secretary. “I don’t think we should blame Fauci for not appearing on the network that has undermined his credibility every step of the way.”

Politico couldn’t find any record of him turning up on a Fox News show since July but Mediaite noted that he was on “Fox News Sunday” (which airs on Fox’s broadcast network) in October.

So is Fauci boycotting FNC to protest its criticism of him? (He recently called attacks from Tucker Carlson a “badge of honor.”) Or has he simply given up on Fox’s viewers, concluding that future appearances there will achieve nothing at best and alienate people at worst given the audience’s opposition to COVID mitigation measures of all flavors?

I lean towards the boycott theory because he’s shown no awareness that his TV segments might do more harm than good for his cause. Various people have pressed him on that point and he either seems befuddled by the suggestion or dismissive, asserting that his critics have a problem with Science, not with him. But if anything might get him to consider the possibility that he’s wasting his time, it’s the prospect of appearing on a network whose own hosts get hate mail when they politely encourage their audience to go out and get vaccinated.

I mean, if he did go on Fox, what would his message be? “Get a booster”? C’mon:

In the new Kaiser poll, just 36% of Republicans overall said they would get the booster. This is significantly less than the 77% of Democrats.

For comparison, the same Kaiser poll found that 85% of all Democrats were fully vaccinated and 55% of all Republicans were.

This means that the partisan gap on boosters was 11 points higher than it was on becoming vaccinated and that spread was already pretty wide.

The partisan gap on boosters is also wider than the gap on vaccines when the vaccines were first becoming available to the public. In December 2020, there was a 30-point partisan difference compared to the 41-point booster gap in the latest Kaiser poll.

Fauci should write off Fox and go find a figure who’s held in high esteem by populist Republicans to make the case for vaccination on FNC instead. Uh, is there anyone out there able and willing to do that? Every prominent populist I can think of has steered around to being anti-vax-adjacent, if not anti-vax, for fear of antagonizing their supporters. The only way to get prominent and stay prominent in partisan media is to tell your audience what they want to hear and the audience doesn’t want to hear that boosters work.

But lo and behold, word came this afternoon that the (apparent) boycott will soon be over! At least if you count Fox Business as part of Fox News:

I’ll leave you with MSNBC yukking it up at the idea that Republicans are resisting the vaccination effort because they want Biden to fail, which is dumb. They’re resisting the vaccination effort because their base would rather take its chances with a deadly virus than concede that vaccines championed by the liberal elite are good and save lives.





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