Last week on CNN, Wolf Blitzer referred to Dr. Anthony Fauci as a “national treasure,” but a couple of days later a random act of journalism happened on the same network. After people started noticing that Dr. Fauci’s estimate on herd immunity kept inching up, the NIAID director admitted that he’s been intentionally moving the goalposts, partly because he didn’t think the country was ready to hear what he really thinks.
CNN’s Dana Bash ruined what Dr. Fauci was probably hoping would be another softball interview by asking him why his numbers have changed, and he eventually said that his original estimate was, in fact, a “guesstimate”:
"It's a bit of that": Fauci admits polling affected his comments on herd immunity; "I want to encourage the people of the United States & globally to get vaccinated … The bottom line is it’s a guesstimate and I gave a range." pic.twitter.com/YplDxRyKhz
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 27, 2020
.@DanaBashCNN presses Dr. Fauci on his comments about “moving the goal posts” on herd immunity based on polling. "Why weren’t you straight with the American people about this to begin with?” she asks.
He deflects multiple times. She presses and he says it’s just a “guesstimate." pic.twitter.com/kquQvlwZ8j
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) December 27, 2020
It appears that to some degree what Fauci’s said has been designed to manipulate the public’s reaction rather than pass along reliable information.
Dr. Fauci's untouchable relationship with the press (and public) is beginning to thaw.
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) December 28, 2020
What’s the difference between him and any politician in Washington at this point?
— a newsman (@a_newsman) December 27, 2020
He is a politician. There’s no way you stay in DC as long as he has without being a politician. He just masquerades as an objective scientist
— CPrice (@CPriceDenver) December 27, 2020
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) December 27, 2020
So follow the science. Or polling. Whichever comes first.
— Lourdes (@LouCrespoGarcia) December 28, 2020
YESTERDAY: Follow the science.
TODAY: Follow the polling.
— hearingcrickets (@hearingcrickets) December 27, 2020
Wow. A CNN journalist asked a question. Third time in 9.5 months. https://t.co/vpaMU71CgF
— cailinanne (@cailinanne) December 28, 2020
Reporters from here on in should follow up on claims from Dr. Fauci this way:
— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 27, 2020
Yes, please do that, reporters (but we won’t hold our breath waiting).