Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said Fox News host Jesse Watters should be fired from the network for his incendiary rhetoric about the infectious disease expert in a speech to young conservatives.
“That’s horrible. I mean that is such a reflection of the craziness that goes on in society,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said in a CNN interview.
“The only thing that I have ever done throughout these two years is to encourage people to practice good public health practices, to get vaccinated, to be careful in public settings, to wear a mask, and for that, you have some guy out there saying that people should be giving me a kill shot to ambush me?”
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“The guy should be fired on the spot,” he said, though he predicted that he would not be held accountable.
In a speech at Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest on Monday in Phoenix, Watters suggested that attendees should film themselves confronting Fauci in public with questions about the root of the pandemic, citing conspiracy theories about how the virus originated.
“Now you go in for the kill shot, the kill shot with an ambush, deadly, because he doesn’t see it coming,” Watters said.
“This is when you say, ‘Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab. The same lab that sprung this pandemic on the world. You know why people don’t trust you, don’t you?’ Boom, he is dead! He is dead! He’s done!”
Fauci’s prediction proved accurate. Fox News defended Watters, telling media in a statement that the host’s words were “twisted completely out of context.′
“Based on watching the full clip and reading the entire transcript, it’s more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor for asking hard-hitting questions,” it said.
Watters made a name for himself doing ambush interviews for Fox News. His terminology, however, was not something that some others in the industry were familiar with.
“I’ve never used, or heard, that term used, and I did my share of ambush interviews as an investigative producer,” Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of Hofstra University’s School of Communication and a longtime journalist at NBC News, told The Associated Press.
Fauci, one of the most visible public health experts throughout the pandemic, has dealt with hateful comments and death threats for his part in implementing COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
He recently told Yahoo News in an interview that inflammatory comments from anti-vaccine activists and Fox News personalities often accelerate the threats he and his family receive.
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Last month, Fox Nation host Lara Logan was condemned by Jewish groups after she inexplicably likened Fauci to Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor who performed gruesome and deadly experiments on concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust.