NBC Fluffs Fauci in Interview: He’s Not Afraid to ‘Return to Masking’

News & Politics

On Wednesday night’s edition of NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt offered disgraced doctor Tony Fauci a sit-down interview to help him rehabilitate his image on his way out the door toward retirement from his job in the federal government. Not only did Holt fluff Fauci, but he did it during the opening segment of his primetime NBC newscast when he had the largest possible audience. 

“Vaccine fatigue just one of the things that concerns Dr. Anthony Fauci as he prepares to end more than 50 years of government service,” Holt gushed when kicking off the interview. 

“Dr. Anthony Fauci knows better than anyone that COVID is likely here to stay. The only question, to what degree?” Holt proclaimed.

Fauci defended his job performance during the pandemic:  “We were having in the United States anywhere between 800,000 & 900,000 cases per day and over 3,000 deaths per day. We are down now to 300 or less deaths per day and many, many fewer hospitalizations.” 

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Holt then bemoaned the fact that Americans are rightfully sick of Fauci’s constant lectures on masking and vaccines and how the public has now decided to apparently ignore Fauci: “Has your message become white noise to a lot of Americans?”

“Well, I worry because I know human nature, Lester, and I know people are tired of this,” Fauci responded.  

Holt fretted about “the limits of government intervention” when it came to controlling the public during the pandemic, and bemoaned how Fauci was “famously beat up throughout this by voices on the right.” 

In perhaps the most despicable moment of the interview, Holt blamed politics for getting in the way of more lives being saved from COVID as if Fauci wasn’t a big driver of politicization and polarization during the pandemic: “Did the politics of this slow down the response in a measurable way in terms of the number of people who could have been saved?”

“I think so,” Fauci replied, before talking down to Americans and hawking the vaccine: “It just is unconscionable that you have a life-saving intervention in the form of a vaccine that you know is safe and highly effective in protecting you from advanced disease and you have people and groups of people who don’t get vaccinated based on political ideology.” 

Fauci seems to forget that it was Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who were among the first vaccine skeptics when the vaccine was first announced when Trump was still President. 

Holt ended the sit-down portion of the interview by threatening freedom-loving Americans that “Fauci is not afraid to recommend a return to masking in some circumstances.” 

This segment of NBC’s Lester Holt drooling over Fauci was made possible by Salonpas. Their information is linked. 

To read the transcript click “expand”: 

NBC Nightly News
12/7/2022
7:04:32 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Vaccine fatigue just one of the things that concerns Dr. Anthony Fauci as he prepares to end more than 50 years of government service. I spoke with him in a wide-ranging interview in which he reflected on the frustrations of fighting COVID, both in the lab and in the political arena that he fears may have prevented more lives from being saved. 

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Technically and practically, we are still in a pandemic. 

HOLT: Dr. Anthony Fauci knows better than anyone that COVID is likely here to stay. The only question, to what degree? 

FAUCI: We were having in the United States anywhere between 800,000 & 900,000 cases per day and over 3,000 deaths per day. We are down now to 300 or less deaths per day and many, many fewer hospitalizations. 

HOLT: But it’s where Dr. Fauci will have to leave it as medicine’s most public face in the battle against COVID makes his exit from government service, but first sitting down with me to talk about successes and disappointments, like tepid demand for the latest booster shots. 

Has your message become white noise to a lot of Americans? 

FAUCI: Well, I worry because I know human nature, Lester, and I know people are tired of this. 

HOLT: Your job obviously primarily a scientist, but you are a communicator as well. Have you done a good job at it? 

FAUCI: I think that’s for others to judge. I can tell you I have certainly tried my best to give information based on the data as it’s available at the time and as new data comes sometimes the recommendations and the interpretations change. That clearly can be interpreted as well they’re flip-flopping. 

HOLT: And therein lay the controversies Fauci was swept into as the nation grappled with the limits of government intervention. You were famously beat up throughout this by voices on the right. But on the left you had people that were, I mean they were elevating you to sainthood, Dr. Fauci said it, it’s good. 

FAUCI: I think those extremes are in some respects inappropriate and sometimes really counterproductive. The profound adulation, which is, you know, a little bit unusual here, I don’t pay much attention to that. But also the conspiracy theory distortions of reality and propagation of untruths is also counterproductive. 

HOLT: The doctor who helped lead the battle against HIV/AIDS and Ebola was not fully prepared for how personal things would get surrounding COVID. 

You got visibly angry during some of those hearings. Senator Rand Paul was going after you. 

[…]

HOLT: Do you have any regrets about the way that you handled that? 

FAUCI: I think 99.9 percent of the time I have been my usual self, which is very calm and measured. The only time I really got upset was when Senator Paul totally inappropriately on national TV that was following that hearing accused me of being responsible for the death of 5 million people. Now, with all due respect, I’m not going to take that from anybody, including a Senator. 

HOLT: Did the politics of this slow down the response in a measurable way in terms of the number of people who could have been saved? 

FAUCI: I think so. It just is unconscionable that you have a life-saving intervention in the form of a vaccine that you know is safe and highly effective in protecting you from advanced disease and you have people and groups of people who don’t get vaccinated based on political ideology. 

HOLT: Vaccines work? 

FAUCI: Absolutely. 

HOLT: Masks work? 

FAUCI: Yes. 

HOLT: Lockdowns work? 

FAUCI: You know, if done in a temporary way, you don’t want to make it prolonged. 

HOLT: Even now as the country deals with a tripledemic of COVID, Flu and RSV Fauci is not afraid to recommend a return to masking in some circumstances. 

FAUCI: I’m not talking about mandating anything. I’m talking about common sense of saying, you know, I really don’t want to take the risk of myself getting infected and even more so of spreading it to someone who is a vulnerable member of my family. 

HOLT: And his break-glass advice to successors on dealing with the next pandemic. 

FAUCI: Stick with the science. Keep the investment in the science. 

HOLT: At age 81, Anthony Fauci hints he has more to do and more to offer. 

FAUCI: It’s not appropriate for me to be negotiating the next job while I am in the government. 

HOLT: To be clear this is not a retirement? 

FAUCI: Oh no, not even close. 

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