NYT's Bret Stephens hits Fauci in scathing op-ed: 'Covid misinformation comes from the top, too'

Stephens said Fauci 'lied' about when he expected the US to reach herd immunity

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci Tuesday amid the Biden administration's efforts to combat so-called coronavirus "misinformation."

In a piece headlined, "Covid Misinformation Comes From the Top, Too," Stephens stressed the "misinformation saga" goes beyond "charlatans peddling fake cures and political conspiracy theories," pointing to the recent fiery clash Fauci had with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., over whether the U.S. government funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that may have led to the coronavirus outbreak. 

"Fauci is almost certainly right on the technical merits … But the larger truth — obscured until recently by fervent efforts (including by Fauci) to dismiss the lab-leak theory for the origins of the pandemic — is that the U.S. government’s scientific establishment did support gain-of-function research that deserved far more public debate than it got," Stephens wrote. "Also incontrovertibly true is that beneficiaries of that funding engaged in deceptive tactics and outright mendacity to shield their research from public scrutiny while denouncing their critics as conspiracymongers."


He pointed to the explosive report from Vanity Fair last month that revealed State Department officials were told not to explore the Wuhan lab's gain-of-function research because "it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it."

"If millions feel that some public-health experts are not as heroic or as honest as their media stenographers make them out to be, there’s a good reason for it," Stephens wrote. 

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The Times columnist then called out Fauci over his comments about herd immunity, insisting he "lied" "about what he saw as the threshold figure" because, according to Fauci's interview with the Times in December, because of "his gut feeling that tthe country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks." He also listed the CDC's faulty overestimation over the outdoor spread of COVID and its study that claimed Black and Hispanic children were "at greater risk of being hospitalized," which became a contributing factor to schools being closed despite consistent evidence that schools were never a superspreader for children. 


"The impact of this misinformation on everyday life has been immense … The credibility of public-health experts depends on the understanding that the job of informing the public means offering the whole truth, uncertainties included, rather than offering Noble Lies in the service of whatever they think the public needs to hear," Stephens argued.  

He concluded, "So, by all means, let’s continue to expose and denounce misinformation coming from the fever swamps of Alternative America. But it won’t do sufficient good until the guardians of public health hold themselves to a higher standard of truthfulness and accountability. Physician, heal thyself."