In October, Fauci told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he and his family had received death threats and said he required a security detail to do his daily power walks. In November, former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon was banned from Twitter after he called for Fauci’s beheading.
But the campaign against Fauci has dramatically intensified recently — especially since BuzzFeed and The Washington Post released his email trove last week.
And in a twisted way, it makes sense.
After all, today’s right-wing politics and media require a villain. With solid approval ratings and an apparently indelible reputation as a moderate, President Biden isn’t turning out to be much of one. Vice President Harris? A little more promising given how much some trolls enjoy race-baiting, but still a less-than-ideal target.
But Fauci is a different story. He established himself as an annoyance to Trump early in the pandemic, when he was forced to publicly correct the president’s many dangerous assertions about the disease.
In a right-wing culture so often opposed to verifiable reality, who better to target than a person who stands for science and facts?
“During the Trump administration, many on the right unfortunately learned the lesson that they could make up almost anything and people would believe it,” said Laura Helmuth, editor in chief of Scientific American (and a former colleague of mine at The Post).
“But science is a challenge to that,” she told me. [Continue reading…]