Jon Cohen in Science:
Tucker Carlson, a political commentator on Fox News, has long assailed Anthony Fauci for his role in the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic during both former President Donald Trump’s and President Joe Biden’s administrations. But on 22 August, when Fauci announced he would be retiring from his jobs as director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief medical adviser to the president at the end of year, the Tucker Carlson Tonight host laid into him like never before. Carlson asserted Fauci had committed “very serious crimes” and said he “apparently engineered the single most devastating event in modern American history.” Carlson, infamous for assailing people’s looks, also called Fauci a “an even tinier version of the Dalai Lama” and a “Stalinist midget.”
Carlson seems to relish criticisms of his comments, which inevitably draw more attention to him and his show. But at the risk of playing into his hand, Science fact-checked his criticisms of Fauci. The analysis shows Carlson took facts out of context and cited long-debunked studies or reports to attack Fauci. He also repeatedly blamed Fauci and other scientists for changing their minds based on new evidence—the bedrock of scientific progress. In Carlson’s calculus, such reversals equal lying.
Here are annotated fragments from a full transcript of the show posted on Fox News’s website. “Imagine the pandemonium at SoulCycle studios across the Northeast this morning when Tony Fauci announced his retirement. Ugly doesn’t begin to describe it. Picture the chaos, if you can, in the organic chaga aisle at Whole Foods in Brooklyn. Try to envision the panic and hysteria that must have broken out at espresso bars in Edgartown and Aspen and Santa Monica and Bethesda …”