I actually don't have any problem with this choice, which is about tacitly acknowledging that society has moved on from the pandemic. But what's frustrating is that Fauci has been a politician this whole time, pretending to be the Oracle of Scientific Truth. https://t.co/nZU3MoLLdc— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) December 30, 2021
It is- or should not- be the role of the President's Chief Medical Advisor to play the role of the politician, to take the pulse of the public and respond accordingly. He should offer the advice of an expert in the field, of a scientist. But that is where we are. Fauci, too, saw the election returns in Virginia and New Jersey and knows which way the wind blows. He always has been comfortable in the role of weathervane.
Fauci never proclaimed to be the Oracle of Scientific Truth but did not argue when he was treated royally by MSNBC, CNN, and much of the traditional, centrist media.
It was always fairly obvious that Fauci, talking carefully and sensibly while occasionally lying (i.e., about masks and about the degree of infection needed for herd immunity), has been a politician during his service in the Trump and Biden presidencies. With a Republican or a Democratic president, he has done what is necessary to survive.
It has been a reflection of our political times that the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has been so wildly popular with the left while reviled by the right. Demonized in some quarters, the President's Chief Medical Advisor has gone unquestioned in others, neither group of partisans dialed into reality. On MSNBC, the interviews consistently have been deferential, occasionally even reverential, and rarely clarifying.
If they look beyond the network's sexy stars- Wallace, Reid, Maddow, and O'Donnell- viewers can catch a discerning, even probing, dialogue with Anthony Fauci. Or at least they could on Wednesday evening: