The nation needed a reassuring presence when COVID-19 first hit, and Dr. Anthony Fauci delivered.
He looked like your favorite grandfather or neighbor, someone ready to inform, and protect, a weary nation. He spoke softly, warning us about the pandemic’s reach and how to keep safe from its potentially deadly spread.
His appeal reached across the ideological aisle. Even conservatives wary of government overreach understood some of the measures Dr. Fauci outlined.
That was then.
We know so much more today about both the virus and Dr. Fauci. The former is fading thanks to vaccines developed during the Trump era at a remarkably swift clip.
The news about Dr. Fauci is far more troubling.
The avuncular soul we embraced last year looks far different now. We’ve seen flip-flop after flip-flop, for starters. He told us masks were of little use to combating the virus early in the pandemic. Then, he insisted we wear them in nearly every scenario.
Later, he avoided criticizing far-left protests like Black Lives Matter as possible super-spreader events but dubbed a Trump White House gathering as just that. He praised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a figure who did more to doom elderly citizens than any other politician in the country, for his pandemic leadership.
“They did it correctly,” is his exact phrasing.
He got cornered by Sen. Lindsey Graham on possible COVID-19 spread at the U.S.-Mexico border, but his answers sounded like a politician’s response, defensive and incomplete.
Stephen Miller eviscerated Dr. Fauci in a Dec. 2020 article in The Spectator.
How many passes does Anthony Fauci get? How many times must he be categorically wrong before people stop ogling his every facial expression and treating him as some sort of minor deity?
Miller cited another example of the doctor’s duplicitous ways.
Fauci has said if 70 percent of the population were vaccinated, herd immunity could be reached. However last week, he admitted to that he was downplaying that number in an interview with the New York Times, and is now saying his herd immunity ‘estimate’ is 80 to 85 percent. His reason for not being truthful with these numbers at first was ‘partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks’.
Just this week, Dr. Fauci admitted the decision to wearing a mask outdoors as being based not on science but symbolism. He’s also expanded his area of “expertise” to promote gun control as a health crisis and, as National Review put it, “antagonized” Republicans in an unnecessary fashion.
Given all of the above, and it’s an incomplete list, you’d think comedians would be blasting Dr. Fauci from any number of angles. It’s a perfect, “truth to power” moment, which is the new call to arms for today’s political humorists.
And you’d be wrong.
“Saturday Night Live” occasionally tasks Kate McKinnon with bringing Dr. Fauci to the far-left show. He’s never the target of biting satire. Here’s a recent, classic example:
Late night monologues won’t target him in anything but a reverential way, and that’s when he’s not gracing various show couches for softball interviews.
Not every comic is avoiding Dr. Fauci. Independent comedians are picking up the slack from their higher-profile peers, roasting Dr. Fauci for many of the reasons listed above.
Right-leaning comic K-Von uses his growing YouTube channel to mock the doctor’s flip flops.
Here’s comic Tyler Fischer teasing the doctor’s signature overreach.
Ryan Long, arguably the bravest comedian currently working, used Dr. Fauci’s recent “sixth inning” analogy to power this sketch taking Democratic governors to task for their authoritarian ways.
You won’t find these comics on Netflix, Hulu or other mainstream platforms. They’re doing the work the Colberts and Kimmels won’t dare, using satire to smite someone who can’t tell us the truth.
Dr. Fauci’s reign of error deserves their brickbats and so much more.
UPDATE: This may partially explain why comedians won’t go near Dr. Fauci. Fischer says TikTok banned his Fauci videos from the service.
My Fauci impressions are starting to be removed from TikTok for breaking “community guidelines.” Censorship causes extremism, cause now I have to go do my impressions door to door like a psychopath. 🏡 🕺🏼🏡 pic.twitter.com/EXXTz1Rp0V
— Tyler Fischer (@TyTheFisch) May 17, 2021