CNN’s Oliver Darcy covers the Fauci email saga by pointing fingers at Fox News

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy appeared to shift focus away from increasingly scandalous emails involving Dr. Anthony Fauci’s early involvement and observations about the COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to criticize rival Fox News Channel.

“Fox has been awfully interested this week in looking back at Dr. Anthony Fauci’s record and scrutinizing his early remarks,” Darcy noted in an emailed newsletter to subscribers on Friday. “The right-wing talk channel’s airwaves have been saturated with hosts knocking his early comments on masks and the origins of the coronavirus. Which is awfully ironic coming from the same network that got so much about Covid wrong from the outset.”

Darcy went on to link to a piece he wrote early in the pandemic claiming that Fox News personalities and hosts “spent weeks downplaying the virus and comparing it to the seasonal flu.” Continuing, he then claimed, “the network spent weeks and weeks promoting miracle cures while running cover for [then-President Donald] Trump. Criticizing Fauci is fair game, but Fox hosts and commentators doing so might want to consider taking a look at the dangerous info they put out,” Darcy wrote.

In fact, most media outlets treated the virus similarly during the earliest stages of the pandemic — to include Darcy’s own network.

Conservative columnist Jim Treacher responded by tweeting, “Anderson Cooper also said it was less dangerous than the flu,” along with a video clip of the CNN host making the claim along with network medical contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta on March 4.

Another user tweeted a link to a Washington Free Beacon YouTube video that begins with MSBNC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski calling out Trump for comparing COVID to the flu early on, followed by a montage of media outlets and their medical experts making the exact same assertion — including several hosts and guests on CNN.

In addition, in a February 2020 interview with a local media outlet, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also downplayed COVID-19 in favor of cautioning Americans about influenza being a bigger risk.

“There is no circulating sustained transmission of coronavirus in the United States,” he said at the time. “We have 15 cases that have been identified, isolated, and their contacts have been traced.”

When asked whether Americans should be wearing facemasks, Fauci responded definitively: “Absolutely not.” The local report went on to characterize the new virus in this way: “The illness is different from other known coronaviruses that generally cause mild illnesses, like the common cold.”

Fauci also said that the flu was a much more prevalent and pressing concern at the time.

“The flu is a real and present issue that we are going through right now,” Fauci said. “We’re so used to every year having the seasonal flu that we sort of take it for granted. It’s part of life. And yet each year it kills from [30,000] to 79, 80,000 on our worst year.”

The local media outlet went on to cite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, which showed, to that point, “26 million reported flu cases this season, along with 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths.”

“I think there’s this misperception that wearing a mask, even if you were in an area where there was transmission, is going to absolutely protect you,” Fauci added. “A mask is more appropriate for someone who is infected to prevent them from infecting someone else.”

Social media users went on to rip Darcy for avoiding the issue of Fauci’s potential cover-up of information suggesting at the outset the virus was likely manufactured in a Chinese lab and his early recommendations to shun masks, per emails released last week.

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Jon Dougherty

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