News & Commentary

Fauci ‘Upset’ About ‘Conspiracy Theories,’ Wants To ‘Flood The System’ To Counter

The former NIAID director said at a recent CFR event that he doesn't "know how to effectively counter" the "energetic" skepticism toward things like mRNA shots and masks. "I think we're going to have trouble overcoming that."

“It really upsets me, as much as anything has ever upset me.”

That’s what Anthony Fauci said about supposed “misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories” during a recent event at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), after being prompted on the subject by the organization’s longtime president, Richard Haass.

The event, whose full title was “Daughters and Sons Guest Event: A Conversation With Anthony Fauci,” took place on January 18, 2023 — a few weeks ago now — although it appears to have received no real media coverage thus far. Haass and Fauci spoke to each other remotely via video conference from the CFR’s New York City and Washington, D.C. locations, respectively.

Saying he wanted to “talk a little bit about the public reaction” to the government’s Covid policies, Haass cited “skepticism of vaccines” and “the resistance to masking up” as things that “we” need to “combat,” asking Fauci for his strategy and “takeaway”:

HAASS: Let’s talk a little bit about the public reaction. The skepticism of vaccines, particularly on social media; the resistance to masking up—to what extent did this surprise you, and what is your thinking about how we combat this? How do we basically—what are our tools of persuasion when there is everything from misinformation, to conspiracy theories, to you name it. What is your takeaway from all this?

In his reply, Fauci — who has been demonstrably wrong and dishonest over and over since 2020 (and for decades before that) — expressed frustration with his side’s inability to “effectively” “counter” such skepticism, which he characterized as coming from people who don’t have “a day job.”

He said the “very energetic, aggressive way” that such critics spread their message is something “we’re going to have trouble overcoming.”

“We’re kind of fighting, you know—we’re going into a gunfight with a knife.”

Here’s a transcript of Fauci’s full response:

FAUCI: Well, my takeaway is that it really upsets me as much as anything has ever upset me because when you have misinformation, and disinformation, and conspiracy theories in any venue, it’s a negative thing. But when it’s interposed in a venue of public health where people’s lives are going to be influenced by the spread of misinformation, and disinformation, and conspiracy theories, that’s really serious stuff, Richard. I don’t know how effectively to counter that. I can say the best way to counter misinformation and disinformation is to flood the system with correct information.

The only trouble and observation that I have made personally is that it appears that the people who are spreading the misinformation and disinformation do it in a very energetic, aggressive way as if they don’t have anything else to do. Whereas the people who are capable of spreading the correct information actually have a day job, and we’re kind of fighting, you know—we’re going into a gunfight with a knife, which is really something that I think we’re going to have trouble overcoming that.

Fauci’s hypocrisy was on further display in an exchange a short while later, when he opined about who it was that misrepresented the nature of science over the past few years:

In another response, he bemoaned a supposed “disaster” that arguably no one in America is more responsible for than him: