Kelly Hawes Column: Defy Lies, Not Rhetoric | Opinion
It all started with the remarks of Fox News personality Jesse Watters at an event sponsored by Turning Point USA.
Watters was encouraging an audience of students to sneak up on the President’s COVID-19 adviser, Anthony Fauci, in public appearances.
âNow go for the killing blow,â he said. “The fatal blow, with an ambush, fatal. Because he doesn’t see it coming.
Watters even came up with a script. Save it, he suggested. The Conservative Echo Chamber will take it from there.
âThat’s when you say, ‘Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research in a shoddy Chinese lab, the same lab that started this pandemic around the world. You know why people don’t trust you, don’t you? ‘ Watters suggested. “Boom! He’s dead! He’s dead! Done!”
John Berman, host of New Day on CNN, picked up on the comments in an interview with Fauci.
âOn the divide issue, Dr Fauci, frankly I’m not going to play it because I think it’s dangerous,â Berman said, âbut Jesse Watters, who is a Fox News artist, was giving a speech in front of a conservative group where he talked about you and suggested the crowd ambush you with what he said was some sort of rhetorical âgunshot.â ââThat was his exact word. I wonder at how much it concerns you, when you hear language like that, about you and your well-being.
My first reaction after watching the Watters video was maybe Berman should have played it. Perhaps that would have made Fauci realize that Watters wasn’t really threatening his life. Fauci, however, was left to answer the question put to him.
âIt’s horrible,â he said. âIt’s just such a reflection of the madness that’s going on in society. The only thing I have done in those two years is to encourage people to practice good public health practices. Get vaccinated, be careful in public places, wear a mask.
“And for that you have a guy over there who says people should give me a ‘death blow’, to ambush me,” he said. “I mean what kind of madness is there in society these days? It’s horrible that he said that. And he will most likely become irresponsible. No matter what network he’s on, it won’t do anything to him. I mean, it’s crazy. The guy should be fired right away.
Fox News confirmed Fauci’s prediction, noting that Watters spoke metaphorically in his remarks.
Perhaps Watters should have been called out for his inflammatory rhetoric, but it might have been even more helpful if Berman had gotten to the heart of what Watters was saying.
The theory that Fauci is somehow responsible for the emergence of COVID-19 has been circulating in conservative media for some time. It is based on the claim that the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, thanks to research funded by Fauci’s branch of the National Institutes of Health.
Examining this claim, the PolitiFact website concluded that it was too early to say where the virus had come from. Some scientists insist that it developed in nature. Others say it could have come from a lab.
âThis dispute notwithstanding,â the website said, âthe claim that COVID-19 was created with research funded by Dr. Anthony Fauci remains false. “
It would seem fair to give Fauci another chance to call out the hogwash Watters was putting forward. The story has been debunked many times, and Watters should be humbled for trafficking such nonsense.
It’s amazing that guys like Watters persist in painting Fauci as a villain. The man is 81 years old. He could have retired years ago, but he continues to fend for himself, working tirelessly to protect public health.
He’s an American hero.