Media Rush In to Save ‘Fauci’ Doc
NatGeo kept film's box office tally a secret. Now, reporters are doing damage control
There’s an excellent chance Americans have had their fill of Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The elderly bureaucrat and infectious disease guru is more visible than any public figure save the president. On any given day you can watch Dr. Fauci weigh in on COVID-19 across the media landscape.
Except “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” apparently.
Today on @clayandbuck Fauci refuses to come on show because he’s too busy with NYT photoshoots. Horses banned at border & kids are more likely to be shot in Chicago than die with covid. @JDVance1 guest stars. Listen & subscribe: https://t.co/j7k37LyjbR
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) September 23, 2021
Still, that kind of media saturation suggests the NatGeo documentary “Fauci” had a built-in audience, if not valuable name recognition. Yet “Fauci” screened in select theaters, starting Sept. 10, and we still don’t know how much money the documentary made.
Now, Disney+ is bringing “Fauci,” by most accounts a hagiography, to its growing subscriber base after that abbreviated theatrical run.
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The same media that fawned over the documentary, giving it a 91 percent “fresh” rating at RottenTomatoes.com, is trying to revive the film’s fortunes.
It started with The New York Times dubbing Dr. Fauci a “movie star” in a glowing assessment of both the film and its subject matter.
Next up? People magazine served up an article that feels like NatGeo’s publicity department scripted it.
“The upcoming Disney+ documentary on Dr. Anthony Fauci is showing a softer side of the acclaimed doctor,” purred the august magazine.
The father of three has risen in popularity as he has led the nation through COVID-19.
Never does People magazine, which dubbed Dr. Fauci one of its four People of the Year in 2020, acknowledge the doctor’s critics.
Next up: The New York Daily News, which recites the film’s marketing bullet points as part of its “See it!” recommendation.
“There is only one Dr. Tony Fauci, and it’s an incredible privilege to be the first to tell the story of his life and career, including his never-ending quest to cure disease and prevent outbreaks,” [directors John] Hoffman and [Janet] Tobias said with Monday’s announcement.
But what if audiences don’t want to spend 90-plus minutes on a mash note to a doctor making so many lives miserable?
The increasingly liberal Washington Post entered the fray, too. The newspaper runs cover for the documentary, suggesting “pandemic fatigue” may be hurting its appeal. That, plus the rubes who dare criticize Dr. Fauci may stay far, far away, even if the completely unbiased reporter says they’re the ones who need to see it the most.
Watching documentaries, however, is even less compulsory than complying with public health guidance. So “Fauci” the film, much like Fauci the scientist, may see its messages fall on willfully deaf ears.
Yes, the same “public health guidance” that tells Americans they can’t gather with loved ones for Christmas one day, and then discounts that advice 24 hours later. Or how masks aren’t as effective as advertised (Dr. Fauci admitted as much via leaked emails) only to publicly demand everyone mask up, vaccinated or otherwise.
Perhaps it’s his public health guidance that goes silent when the rich and famous gather maskless, or how the southern border is infiltrated with illegal immigrants without the phrase, “super-spreader” being spoken.
All of the above may explain this:
The NatGeo trailer for “Fauci” has 74K “down” votes, and only 7.2K “up” votes. The people have spoken, and the media is none too happy about it.