Here are three reasons Dr. Fauci is a GOP punching bag

David Pakman
Liberal Opinion

David Pakman

Host of The David Pakman Show
Archive |

Why is Dr. Anthony Fauci a punching bag for the right? He’s considered one of the world’s leading immunologists, has served this country for more than 50 years, and is currently President Biden’s chief medical advisor. Yet since the coronavirus pandemic began spreading globally, Republicans have shredded him in the media, grilled him on Capitol Hill, and called for his prosecution. They claim he undermined Donald Trump and lied about U.S.-funded research in a Chinese lab that they allege could have led to this pandemic. Still, Dr. Fauci continues the fight to bring the world to a safer place.

So what’s behind all the accusations and ridicule?

Well, you really need look no further to understand it than the SOP, the standard operating procedure for the modern American right wing on just about any issue, and it comes to some of the same parameters and characteristics of conspiratorial thinking in general and conspiracism.

I’ve interviewed many experts on cults, conspiratorial thinking, specific conspiracy theories and conspiracism, which is more the tendency within one’s own mind that some have to seek conspiracy even when there is none. And at the end of the day, blame Fauci is very similar psychologically and culturally to: China made this virus as a weapon and released it.

And it is the same principle that underlines so many conspiracy theories, which is that there are many people who would prefer for a variety of reasons to be able to say this was done on purpose. And here’s the cause. Some people prefer to say it that way, or to believe that because it’s scary to think there are random and unpredictable events based on odds, unlikely events that can happen at any time and it’s bad. And we don’t like it. Instead of that, they would rather believe someone did it. 

At the same time, Fauci is present and available which makes him a target. And he’s an authority figure, which is the type of person the right loves to question just for the sake of it. Let’s just hope Fauci sticks around long enough to get us out of this mess.

Why is the Republican party determined to bring down Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lead infectious disease doctor at the NIH and a guy who has worked for decades, five decades, maybe even parts of six decades, he’s 80 years old after all, on fighting infectious and communicable disease?

Well, you, you really need look no further to understand it then the SOP, the standard operating procedure for the modern American right wing on just about any issue, and it comes to some of the same parameters and characteristics of conspiratorial thinking in general and conspiracism.

I’ve interviewed many experts on cults, conspiratorial thinking, specific conspiracy theories and conspiracism, which is more the tendency within one’s own mind that some have to seek conspiracy even when there is none. And at the end of the day, blame Fauci is very similar psychologically and culturally to: China made this virus as a weapon and released it.

And it is the same principle that underlines so many conspiracy theories, which is that there are many people who would prefer for a variety of reasons to be able to say this was done on purpose. And here’s the cause. Some people prefer to say it that way, or to believe that because it’s scary to think there are random and unpredictable events based on odds, unlikely events that can happen at any time and it’s bad. And we don’t like it. Instead of that, they would rather believe someone did it. 

And so this shows up a lot in what are called shadow government conspiracy theories. Shadow government conspiracy theories generally are the idea that the elected officials that we know of, the president, the vice president, the secretary of state, the chain of command, the military even, they are really a facade. And the real source of power is fill in the blanks.

Sometimes it’s the Illuminati, the trilateral commission, the Bilderbergs, the Jews is a popular one, Bill Gates, some kind of cabal, QANon believes it’s a cabal of pedophiles, you know? Okay. So the point there is the idea that all of these things that are happening, stocks are up, stocks are down, there’s an attack. There’s a… none of this is random. It’s actually all being controlled by some group of individuals.

This gets us to basically the same type of thinking around COVID. Originally, the thinking was what the elected officials, our leaders, and science experts are telling us, isn’t true. This isn’t an unpredictable virus of nebulous origin that we have to do all of these things. This was a bio weapon released by China, or it was an accidental or a deliberate release by China of a naturally occurring virus or some version of that.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci has gotten pulled into that and he’s been pulled into it for a couple of different reasons.

Number one, he’s been present and he’s available. And there’s something called the availability bias, that which you see when you look around becomes the subject of your attention.

That’s what got the right’s attention on Dr. Fauci. And then beyond that, it’s the reality that, I mean, let’s not mince words.  Fauci just says what’s on his mind. And with some brief period of time under Donald Trump, where he was clearly sort of shutting his mouth to avoid getting fired, making the calculation that listen, it’s better if I’m here, even if I don’t constantly contradict the things that Donald Trump is saying. He made himself a target in that way, not by virtue of doing anything wrong. 

At this point in time, Dr. Fauci has become Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, and this has just set him up perfectly to be attacked. This includes Republican Senator Ted Cruz saying Fauci should be prosecuted. This includes Donald Trump Jr. recently saying he trusts podcaster comedian MMA analyst Joe Rogan more than Dr. Anthony Fauci.

And that gets us to sort of the third component for why Dr. Fauci is the perfect punching bag. 

And remember, number one, tendency towards conspiratorial thinking, the idea that Fauci is part of the conspiracy in some way, shape or form. Number two availability: he’s present, he’s on TV. Everybody knows who he is, sort of like Bill Gates with the vaccine microchip stuff. So that makes him attractive. 

And then number three is sort of like a misunderstanding or even like a a battle against the idea of expertise. And I’ve said before that the right loves to talk about how the left is bad because of this post modern idea that any notion is valid. Every opinion is equally valid and must be respected and welcome. Now that’s not anything I recognize as a value on the left. It doesn’t apply to me. Maybe it applies to some, but it’s very interesting that the very same right wingers who say the left is wrong for saying every opinion is equally valid, they are now essentially doing the same thing by saying, “listen, expert doctor pulmonologist, epidemiologist –  Joe Rogan knows just as much he had COVID and he took ivermectin and now he’s fine”, or whatever the case may be. And that’s the third component of it, which is questioning expertise merely for the sake of questioning it. Not because there’s actually any reason to. And of course, I’ve talked on my program before about the appeal to authority fallacy. Appealing to authority is a fallacy, when, number one, that’s the only reason, the only reason why you believe what someone’s saying. And the number two, when you were not really pointing to an actual authority. 

Saying that we should be listening to Dr. Fauci if he were not an infectious disease specialist because he is Dr. Fauci would be an appeal to authority. And that’s exactly what happened with that guy, Scott Atlas. I don’t know how many of you remember, but at one point, Donald Trump brought Scott Atlas to head up his White House COVID group of some kind, the guy’s a radiologist, and they would, that was an appeal to authority fallacy. Yes, he’s a doctor. Yes. He’s a medical doctor, but he’s a radiologist. He looks at scans. He looks at medical scans and makes diagnoses on that basis.

So these are really three reasons together have made Dr. Anthony Fauci, the perfect punching bag. Unfortunately, the concern for me is that Fauci just bails. Again, he’s 80, he’s close to retirement. And if I were him, I would be saying it’s time to exit. He seems to realize that the value of him staying significantly exceeds the risk if he just goes away. 


Get unbiased straight facts, context, and perspective!