Associated Press panned after Fauci promoted same antibody treatment it blasted DeSantis for

The Associated Press is being criticized for a story that suggested Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ earlier promotion of monoclonal antibodies as a successful treatment for COVID-19 was for political purposes after Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday they can help reduce hospitalization related to the illness.

Last week, the AP published a contentious story confessing there were benefits to Regeneron antibody treatments for such patients while suggesting that DeSantis was only touting it because a hedge fund based in Chicago that donated to a pro-DeSantis PAC also owns stock in the pharmaceutical company that makes it.

But now that Fauci, who is the chief White House medical adviser, is promoting the same treatment, Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, and other supporters are ripping the AP over its previous report.

“Omg can’t wait for the AP investigation!!!!” Pushaw wrote on Twitter in a post containing a link to a New York Post story reporting Fauci’s remarks.

“Wait isn’t this the thing Ron DeSantis promoted that the @AP tried to discredit?” tweeted Allie Beth Stuckey, host of the “Relatable” podcast.

“If you didn’t follow the story… DeSantis slammed by AP for opening Regeneron (monoclonal antibodies) sites claiming he did it because one of his top donors is an investor (not because it helps people). Days later it’s approved as a therapeutic,” Jennifer Sey, producer of the documentary “Athlete A,” added.

“TLDR; Fauci comes around to the DeSantis position. Time for AP to light him up. It’s only fair,” noted Conservative Partnership Institute policy director Rachel Bovard.

“Maybe Fauci’s largest donor is invested in monoclonal,” wrote Yossi Gestetner of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.

“They waited to make this ‘official’ until St. Fauci gave his ‘official’ opinion. Lord, given [sic] me an ‘official’ break!” another user wrote.

Earlier, the Republican governor wrote to the AP to clap back at the newswire for its “smear” against him.

“I assumed your letter was to notify me that you were issuing a retraction of the partisan smear piece you published last week,” DeSantis wrote. “Instead, you had the temerity to complain about the deserved blowback that your botched and discredited attempt to concoct a political narrative has received.

“The ploy will not work to divert attention from the fact that the Associated Press published a false narrative that will lead some to decline effective treatment for COVID infections.”

During a press briefing Tuesday, Fauci said that Regeneron treatments could reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by as much as 85 percent if patients were treated early in their sickness.

“It is important to emphasize that this must be done early in infection and not wait, of course, until a person is sick enough to be hospitalized,” Fauci said.

“That’s when you get the best effect. And again, being an underutilized intervention, we want people out there, including physicians as well as potential patients, to realize the advantage of this very effective way of treating early infection,” he added.

Other media outlets have attacked DeSantis throughout the pandemic, including a “60 Minutes” report that accused the governor of giving the Publix grocery chain priority to offer coronavirus vaccines because of donations to his campaign. DeSantis said Publix got the nod because of the chain’s locations — most stores were in proximity to the most vulnerable populations in the state.

Meanwhile, the same press has been largely silent about now-former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to send COVID-19-positive patients into nursing homes as the pandemic was spreading in March 2020, though it was already known elderly Americans were the most vulnerable to catching it and dying from it.

In fact, shortly after Cuomo stepped down Monday and was replaced by Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul, she revealed that he hid the real number of nursing home deaths, undercounting them by about 12,000.

Jon Dougherty

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