How Dr. Fauci Discovered Himself Speaking to Julia Roberts, Lil Wayne and Simply About Any Podcaster Who Requested

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How Dr. Fauci Found Himself Talking to Julia Roberts, Lil Wayne and Just About Any Podcaster Who Asked

On March 15, when the novel coronavirus began to grow in the United States, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci a rare achievement in Washington: he appeared on all five major talk shows on Sunday.

However, the White House feared that Dr. Fauci could bring President Trump to the stage (and sometimes contradict him), and soon his media officers no longer agreed to his high-profile interview requests.

So Dr. Fauci found another way to get his message across: he accepted pretty much every little offer that came his way: academic webinars, Instagram feeds and niche podcasts, as well as some celebrity interviews.

This is how Dr. Fauci, the country's foremost infectious disease scientist, spoke to the American Urological Association again in June. the Chicago Economic Club in July; and the “Brazda Breakfast” briefing this month.

And it could be that he had a polyp on his vocal cord. "Essentially, I talked all day non-stop for six months," he wrote in an email on Friday, the day after his surgery, to remove it.

The coronavirus pandemic hit Dr. Fauci, a career government scientist who first came to the fore in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, made a real celebrity. There are all kinds of fauci booty now – fauci socks, t-shirts, coffee mugs, buttons, stickers, and masks. When the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame made a doll in his guise, it "quickly became our best-selling bobblehead of all time," said Phil Sklar, the group's chief executive officer.

This reputation has pushed him into the higher levels of media interest. Most people need a slot on a big show to have a better chance of reaching a large audience. But reporters follow all of Dr. Fauci, however dark they may be.

"He can speak anywhere and if he has something he wants to say, people will notice," said Brendan Buck, communications director for former Speaker of Parliament John Boehner, another man who could make news in dark places. Dr. Fauci, he said, “could with a P.T.A. Newsletter if he wanted and it would be covered and there would be follow-up eyes for it. "

When asked about his rules for media appearances, Dr. Fauci (via email), he often says yes. Its only automatic numbers are for fundraisers or "anything remotely political."

Intended or not, Dr. Fauci effectively bypassed the White House's efforts to mute him. Since Mark Meadows became Chief of Staff on March 31, White House communications officers have approved very few inquiries from major outlets. However, there is no such review process for smaller businesses like the Journal of American Medical Association's weekly podcast or the KC O & # 39; Dea radio show.

In the past few weeks, Dr. Fauci attended up to five such shows a day. On August 13th, he appeared on Mr. O'Dea's show which serves the Raleigh-Durham, NC market. a podcast from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; "The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson"; a National Geographic special on pandemics; and a local Fox partner in High Point, NC. He also appeared on NewsHour, the PBS evening news show.

His performances are often watched by reporters from major outlets who then quote him in their news reports.

The most important media appearances of Dr. Fauci have gone down over the past three months

At the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci regularly seen on major news programs.

Now his appearances are rarer.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci a regular major newscast.

Now his appearances are rarer.

In the meantime, his appearances on smaller platforms have grown significantly

Dr. Fauci is operated on on his vocal cords

Dr. Fauci is operated on on his vocal cords

Our charts show the programs of Dr. Fauci from March 1st to August 20th, the day of his operation. We recorded video and audio appearances posted on the National Institutes of Health website by Dr. Fauci, and others we uncovered through searches of transcription databases, social media, and general web searches. Given the breadth of Dr. Fauci's performances, it is possible that we missed some.

Peter Staley, an H.I.V./AIDS activist who has been close to him for years, said Dr. Fauci has always been a seasoned public communicator, able to promote public health messages through any available channel.

"He would prefer to visit Andrea Mitchell and Sanjay Gupta, but he wondered why this minor stuff would end the same way," said Staley. "He's doing the little zoom with Harvard and it's on CNN that night."

In July, Dr. Fauci at a weekly video press conference hosted by Senator Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat, on his local media Facebook page. Dr. Fauci made news when he directly contradicted Mr. Trump by saying it was a "false narrative to console oneself on a lower death rate," comments circulated in national media that day.

Dr. Fauci rarely appeared on CNN's prime-time shows, but he did give an hour-long interview to The Ax Files, a CNN-supported podcast of David Axelrod, a top adviser to President Obama. "Tony is the personification of the agonizing reality that science presents," said Axelrod. “What he understands is that it really doesn't matter where you say what you say. We're in a digital age and you're being heard. And he's right. You know, when Tony Fauci speaks, people find him . "

Journalists with major news programs are frustrated that they see Dr. Unable to book Fauci during a public health emergency. Margaret Brennan, the host of CBS's "Face the Nation," told her audience in July that the White House has not had any interviews with Dr. Fauci approved more, which is hindering public understanding of the pandemic. "We will continue our efforts," she said. Mary Hager, an executive producer on the show, said that every week after Dr. Fauci and other government scholars asked.

"We have this genius and this guest goldmine," she said. "And we can't make the most of it at a time when people are dying."

The availability of Dr. However, Fauci is a boon for smaller branches that cannot always book such a prominent guest. In July, Vincent Racaniello, professor at Columbia University and co-host of the podcast This Week In Virology, asked for an interview. Dr. Fauci agreed almost immediately.

"I was surprised because I know he was very busy," he said. "I thought he didn't have the time and I wondered if he would be allowed to."

Dr. Speaking for 30 minutes on the podcast, Fauci shared his views on the latest science on Covid-19 and the strategies various drug companies are using to study vaccines. The audience for 12-year-old This Week On Virology has grown since the pandemic hit, but the Fauci episode was the most popular with nearly 100,000 podcast downloads and YouTube views combined.

"Given the urgency of the situation and the need to get correct information out of it, I've made as many human beings as possible," said Dr. Fauci. He mentioned that he had a soft spot for opening addresses, several of which he had made, although he knew the audience would be small. Among other things, he spoke to the senior class of the Quorum of the Holy Cross, his alma mater.

He is very aware of his media profile; He knows, for example, that the Sunday shows on March 15th were a "full ginsburg". (The reference is to William H. Ginsburg, an attorney for Monica Lewinsky who appeared on all five Sunday shows in 1998.)

But his propensity to say yes – and his friendships with prominent journalists – has got him into trouble at times, as did when his girlfriend Norah O’Donnell proposed an article for InStyle magazine. Dr. Fauci was photographed by his backyard pool wearing sunglasses – an image that didn't go over well with Republicans and which he now regrets.

"Not really me, and everyone who knows me will understand that this is not my style," he wrote. “I can understand the criticism and as I said, I wish I could take it back. My mistake."

His friends say he was overwhelmed; Mr. Staley said he had Dr. Fauci recently encouraged "adding an ax to his schedule". The polyp surgery did that for him. He can only conduct longer interviews in September.

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