Tucker Carlson committed the mortal sin of questioning the unerring wisdom of Dr. Anthony Fauci. And for that, CNN's John Berman suggested this morning that Carlson is a "buffoon."
Berman was throwing back in Carlson's face the fact that on his show last night, Tucker did describe some of Dr. Fauci's statements as "buffoon-level stuff." But what Berman omitted from his blast at Carlson were Tucker's predicates for his remark. In the wake of Fauci suggesting to Congress yesterday that maybe schools should be closed until there is a coronavirus vaccine, Carlson had played tape of Fauci making these contradictory statements:
1. Although in his recent comments Fauci has been a big proponent of masks, as recently as March 8th, Fauci said: "right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks. There's no reason to be walking around with masks."
2. On January 21st, Fauci said of the coronavirus: "This is not a major threat for the people in the United States. And this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about."
3. Fauci said we "shouldn't ever shake hands again"...but also pandered to a Snapchat questioner that sex with a stranger you find on the Internet might be an acceptable risk.
These are the sort of contradictions that angry White House reporters often throw at President Trump, so it shouldn't be shocking to CNN that this tactic can also be used with Dr. Fauci.
It looks like Berman hasn't learned the lesson of Chuck Todd's recent episode of deceptive editing. If you claim to be an honest journalist, provide the context of your target's remarks.
JOHN BERMAN: There are people who are having a hard time processing the science here, processing what they are being warned will happen from the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci. We heard it from senator Rand Paul yesterday. And overnight, we heard it from some of the president's key allies in the media, with really just unbridled attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci. So I want you to listen to this.
TUCKER CARLSON: Is this the guy into whom you want to vest all of your trust? Is this the guy you want to chart the future of the country? Maybe not. This is a very serious matter. The decisions we’re making right now. Tony Fauci has not been elected to anything. Some people seem to think he should be dictator for the duration of this crisis. That's insanity.
NED RYUN: Fauci, to be blunt, is the face of this failed administrative state —
CARLSON: I totally agree.
BYUN: You've got to question the entire premise of this.
CARLSON: The chief buffoon.
SEAN HANNITY: Anthony Fauci also seems to favor what the Democrats want. And that is, massive restrictions with no end in sight.
LAURA INGRAHAM: All due respect to Dr. Fauci’s expertise: no one elected him to anything.
BERMAN: Right. So there is a zero percent chance that this was not coordinated. When you see it across the entire primetime lineup of fox. I’m waiting to see how the president responds to Tucker Carlson. No one, exactly no one, has suggested that Dr. Anthony Fauci be a dictator of everything. Tucker called Anthony Fauci a buffoon. Which might be a subject that Tucker Carlson knows something about.
Tucker Carlson Tonight
8:22 pm EDT
TUCKER CARLSON: Today for example, Dr. Fauci spoke about how happy was to see Americans going about their lives while wearing masks.
ANTHONY FAUCI: Some sort of mask-like facial covering, I think for the time-being, should be a very regular part of how we prevent the spread of infection. In fact, moore and more, as you go outside, right here where I'm sitting in Washington, DC, you can see many people out there with masks on, which gives me some degree of comfort that people are taking this very seriously.
CARLSON: Yeah. They're following Fauci's words, and of course he’s pleased by that. He didn’t expect to have this much power at the age of 79. The funny thing is, though, it was two months ago that Fauci was in the course of high officials, lecturing us the rest of us that actually, wearing a mask was pointless, maybe worse than pointless, and people shouldn't do it.
FAUCI [CBS interview of 3/8]: Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks.
INTERVIEWER: You're sure of it? Because people are listening really closely to this.
FAUCI: Right now, people should not be walking -- there’s no reason for people to be walking around with a mask.
. . .
CARLSON: By the way, back in early January [late January, actually], Tony Fauci was telling the rest of us, don’t worry about the coronavirus!
NEWSMAX INTERVIEWER: Bottom line, we don’t have to worry about this one, right?
FAUCI: Well, you know, we need to take it seriously, and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But this is not a major threat to the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.
CARLSON: Huh. Do wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Don't worry about the coronavirus, don't open schools until we have a cure for coronavirus. That's a lot of different positions. It was just last month that Dr. Fauci told the rest of us, it was totally fine to have sex with strangers that you meet on the internet, on dating apps. Totally cool! Hey, man: he's old, but he's cool. But almost simultaneously, he said that nobody should ever shake hands again, just to be safe.
FAUCI: I don’t think we ever should ever shake hands ever again to be honest with you. Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease but it would decrease the influence of influenza dramatically in this country.
CARLSON: Look: this is just buffoon-level stuff at that point. And we're not doing this to mock the guy. I mean, anybody who talks as much as Anthony Fauci does on television—we can tell you first-hand—is apt to say some stupid things. The point is, is this the guy into you want to vest all of your trust? Is this the guy you want to chart the future of the country? Maybe not!