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Sept. 28, 2020, 8:56 p.m. EDT

Fauci calls out Fox News, but says real ‘bad guy’ is coronavirus, not those with opposing views

In CNN interview, Fauci stresses importance of facts, says Fox News can be ‘outlandish’

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By Mike Murphy


Getty Images
Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, looks on before testifying at a Senate hearing on Sept. 23.

Dr. Anthony Fauci criticized Fox News and attempted to downplay differences with White House coronavirus task force colleague Dr. Scott Atlas on Monday, saying the real enemy remains COVID-19.

“The bad guy is the virus. The bad guy is not the person on the other side of your opinion.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Speaking Monday night during an interview on CNN, the nation’s foremost expert on infectious diseases said the spread of misinformation is detrimental to the nation’s public health effort.

“Some of the media that I deal with really kind of — I wouldn’t say distort things, but certainly give opposing perspectives on what seems to be a pretty obvious fact,” Fauci said, calling out one network in particular. “If you listen to Fox News, with all due respect to the fact that they do have some good reporters, some of the things that they report there are outlandish, to be honest with you.

“There is so much misinformation during this very divisive time that we’re in, and the public really needs to know the facts,” he said.

Earlier Monday, Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that America is “not in a good place” as it heads into the fall, as coronavirus cases have been spiking nationwide since Labor Day. “There are states that are starting to show uptick in cases . . . And, I hope not, but we very well might start seeing increases in deaths.” He also criticized Florida’s move to lift restrictions on bars and restaurants.

Also Monday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield reportedly criticized Atlas, saying “Everything he says is false” on a phone conversation overheard by an NBC News reporter. Atlas has downplayed the use of face masks, opposed lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus, and has supported the development of herd immunity — which could kill millions of Americans. A number of Stanford medical faculty — where he previously worked — recently signed an open letter condemning Atlas, saying his comments run counter to scientific evidence and undermine public health efforts.

When asked by CNN about Atlas, a radiologist who lacks infectious-disease experience, Fauci attempted to downplay their differences. “I’m concerned that sometimes things are said that are really taken either out of context or are actually incorrect,” he said. “Most [of the task force] are working together. I think, you know, what the outlier is,” Fauci said. “My differences with Dr. Atlas, I’m always willing to sit down and talk with him and see if we could resolves those differences.”

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