Press gushes over Fauci emails showing 'frank honesty,' 'pressure that fell on one man'

Thousands of newly released emails offer glimpse into Fauci's coronavirus response

Media outlets gushed over Dr. Anthony Fauci upon the reporting of thousands of his emails at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic this week, with outlets praising his "frank honesty," "to-the-point demeanor," and the "peek into his world" they showed.  

Thousands of Fauci's emails were obtained by the Washington Post and BuzzFeed News through the Freedom of Information Act, delving into his time on the Trump administration's coronavirus task force. Fauci now works for President Biden as the White House's chief medical adviser, in addition to his duties running the National National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"Anthony Fauci’s pandemic emails from March and April 2020, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, offer a peek into his world during the frantic early days of the coronavirus crisis," the Washington Post tweeted with a link to their report.


"Anthony Fauci’s Emails Reveal The Pressure That Fell On One Man," BuzzFeed wrote.

"Thousands of emails from and to Dr. Fauci reveal the weight that came with his role as a rare source of frank honesty within the Trump administration's Covid-19 task force," CNN reported.

Critics called out outlets for their framing rather than spotlighting his evolving positions on masks and COVID-19 mandates, discussions of gain of function research, and initial dismissal of lab-leak theories for the virus' origins.

"The correspondence from March and April 2020 opens a window to Fauci’s world during some of the most frantic days of the crisis, when the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was struggling to bring coherence to the Trump administration’s chaotic response to the virus and President Donald Trump was seeking to minimize its severity," the Post reported.


"The emails show that he was inundated with correspondence from colleagues, hospital administrators, foreign governments and random strangers — about 1,000 messages a day, he says at one point — writing to seek his advice, solicit his help or simply offer encouragement," it added.

The authors also noted that the released emails "show that Fauci indeed tried to answer many queries, sometimes hitting ‘send’ well after midnight."

More than 3,200 Fauci emails were also obtained by BuzzFeed News. Those, too, were praised by BuzzFeed, CNN and others as a window into how Fauci had so much "pressure" on him throughout the pandemic.

"CNN's next project to help Dr. Fauci is to get Major League Baseball to move up the pitcher's mound and expand the strike zone," Forward contributor Joel Petlin quipped.

Other outlets chose angles that avoided criticism of Fauci.

Critics have suggested that the above headlines are burying the lede, arguing the emails also depict a bureaucrat being potentially misleading about the virus' origins.

One email exchange on Jan. 31, 2020 revealed that National Institutes of health scientist Kristian Andersen told Fauci the coronavirus looked "potentially engineered." At the time, Fauci said it was most likely the virus developed naturally. Media such as CNN took his words to suggest that he had "crushed" proponents of the lab leak notion. 

It wasn't until recently that most outlets began to look more closely at the Wuhan lab leak theory, in part due to a recent report that three Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers developed COVID-like symptoms in November 2019

Other emails showed Fauci advising people that masks weren't all that effective against the virus, despite later supporting national mask mandates.


Journalist Jordan Schachtel compiled a list of some of the more telling, yet perhaps less reported stories to emerge from the unearthed emails.