Fauci warns against 'cacophony of falsehoods' during address at Princeton University

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he's troubled by the 'normalization of untruths'

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), weighed in on misinformation Monday during a commencement address at Princeton University, claiming the United States has grown subject to lies.

"What troubles me is that differences of opinion or ideology have in certain situations been reflected by egregious distortions of reality," Fauci said.

"Sadly, elements of our society have grown increasingly inured to a cacophony of falsehoods and lies that often stand largely unchallenged, ominously leading to an insidious acceptance of ‘what I call the ‘normalization of untruths," he continued.

"We see this happen daily," he went on. "It is our collective responsibility not to shrug our shoulders and sink to tacit acceptance of the normalization of untruths because if we do, lies become dominant and reality is distorted."

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"Then truth means nothing, integrity means nothing, facts mean nothing," Fauci added.

Fauci went on to urge the students to live fulfilling lives, while acknowledging that "COVID left an indelible mark on you and your entire generation."

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1, 2021.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Fauci has served as the director of NIAID since the 1980s and became the face of the federal government's fight against coronavirus in early 2020. 

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Former President Trump frequently clashed with Fauci during the first year of the pandemic about hydroxychloroquine, testing, reopening businesses, curtailing travel from China, and several other issues.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was accused of constant flip-flopping in a lengthy Twitter thread.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was accused of constant flip-flopping in a lengthy Twitter thread. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

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"People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people," Trump said in October 2020 during a campaign conference call, one month before the last presidential election. "Every time he goes on TV, there's a bomb, but there's a bigger bomb if you fire him."

Fox News' Paul Best contributed to this report.