Topic: Media Research Center
We noted how the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck did his best to flog the supposed scandal in the release of Anthony Fauci's emails in his White House press briefing reviews. But he wasn't the only one desperate to push this non-story. Nicholas Fondacaro wrote in a June 2 post under the desperate headline "Nets CENSOR Scandalous Fauci E-Mails Showing What He Really Knew":
Thanks to the use of the Freedom of Information Act, the American people gained access this week to thousands of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s e-mails and revelations that he knew the National Institutes of Health may have funded gain-of-function research for coronaviruses, that COVID-19 may have come from a lab, and that masks didn’t work. And in an attempt to cover up the truth, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News ignored the scandal completely.
But for NBC’s part, Nightly News featured fill-in anchor Kate Snow picking the more benign topic of probing the origin of the virus and weakly asking Fauci to defend the government.
Fondacaro cited "the reporting of Jerry Dunleavy at the Washington Examiner" -- a biased right-wing reporter for a biased right-wing outlet. By the MRC's own theory of biased reporting, he shouldn't be trusted. A more objective source found nothing too earth-shattering in Fauci's emails.
Houck tried to pile on in a non-Jen Psaki-releated post the next day:
On Wednesday night, NewsNation fill-in host and former Fox News correspondent Leland Vittert did what few national news outlets have done in subjecting the NIH’s Dr. Tony Fauci to a challenging interview. In this case, he focused on this week’s dump of thousands of Fauci e-mails from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic that showed a woeful lack of judgement, distrust of masks, and an almost blind trust in communist China.
As has been the case whenever he’s been challenged, Fauci reacted with a combination of anger, annoyance, dismissal, and disgust. Unfortunately for him, it stood in stark contrast to softball interviews hours earlier with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace and NBC’s Kate Snow.
Of course, the MRC has designated Fauci to be an enemy of the people because he refused to be a Trump sycophant, so it's Houck's job to portray him as filled with "anger, annoyance, dismissal, and disgust." While Houck did acknolwedge that Vittert used to work for Fox News -- a red flag for bias -- he also refused to acknowledge the right-leaning bias of NewsNation, which is being run by former Fox News executive(and short-lived Trump White House communications director) Bill Shine.
Kristine Marsh got mad on June 4 when "The View" accurately pointed out what the right is trying to do to Fauci:
Dr. Anthony Fauci is under renewed scrutiny after a Freedom of Information Act released thousands of his emails from the early days of the pandemic, raising questions about Fauci’s cozy relationship with China and conflicting messaging on masks, among other controversies. But Fauci’s friends at The View refused to criticize the public figure, and attacked Republicans, instead.
Friday co-host Ana Navarro also dismissed any criticism as a “distraction.”
“I think Republicans have chosen Fauci to be the target of their ire and to be a distraction,” she sneered before defending the doctor as being under a lot of stress: “Some of these emails are from last year when Fauci was drinking out of a water hose. He was drinking out of a fire hydrant. Understand, He was in the midst of dealing with the virus.”
Marsh did not dispute that Republicans were targeting Fauci for political reasons.
Kyle Drennen got even more perturbed when it was accurately pointed out that right-wing media were taking Fauci's emails out of context:
While NBC’s Today show on Friday finally discovered the controversy swirling around Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails from the early days of the pandemic in which he and his colleagues dismissed the possibility of COVID-19 leaking from a Wuhan lab in China, the broadcast touted his defense that the exchanges were “ripe for being taken out of context.” The network worried that Fauci was “under fire from conservatives” as a result.
Watching the tease at the top of the show, viewers might have expected a report hammering Fauci, as co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: “Under Fire. Dr. Anthony Fauci facing new scrutiny as his e-mails from the early days of the pandemic go public. What they reveal about his handling of the investigation into the origins of the virus, and how he and the White House are responding.”
However, minutes later, senior Washington correspondent Hallie Jackson made it clear the network coverage would run defense for the doctor: “The nation’s top infectious diseases doctor now facing fire from some Republicans and defending the broader context of those e-mails, newly released, from more than a year ago. Fauci says these messages are ripe for being taken out of context...” Notice that he was exclusively “facing fire from some Republicans,” suggesting the criticism was just politically motivated.
Drennen did not provide any evidence that criticism of Fauci's emails was not politically motivated.
On the June 4 NewsBusters podcast, guest co-host Fondacaro rehashed the MRC posts and insisted that the emails are "completely in context."
And .. then not much afterward. The MRC pretty much dropped the story, perhaps finally realizing there was not there there, save for a June 9 post by Alexander Hall attacking his emails to "disgraced medical official Dr. Anthony Fauci." But even that ludicrous description of Fauci couldn't reignite the story. Another post by Hall that same day whining that "Instagram reportedly censored a comical satire article claiming Dr. Anthony Fauci wants Americans to cover their eyes with masks, so they can't read his exposed emails" didn't help either.