Orf vs. the Memory Hole: The Heartless Shaming Campaigns of Covid-19

On March 9th of last year, former chief medical advisor to Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave an interview to Neil Cavuto on Fox News expressing mirthful astonishment that anyone could say he pushed a zoonotic “spillover” theory for Covid-19. “That’s totally bizarre,” he said. “First of all, I wasn’t leaning totally strongly one way or the other. I’ve always kept an open mind.”

Two days later he was on CNN, telling Jim Acosta that he didn’t start off in one place or another, but was influenced by “two very important, well-written, peer reviewed papers in Science magazine strongly suggesting that in fact it was a natural occurrence from an animal to a human.” As Racket’s Matt Orfalea goes on to show above, Fauci didn’t just repudiate the substance of what he’d said about Covid’s origins across three years, but the specific language, down to the word “strongly,” dating to the beginning of the pandemic.

I’m recovering from a particularly violent bout of Covid-19, so perhaps as a vaccinated person I’m a bit frostier on the subject than one might normally be, but Orf has put together a clip I hope future historians will bother to review. It’s now clear one of the biggest, if not the biggest single sources of misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic was Fauci himself. Incidentally, as Dr. Jay Bhattacharya just noted, Fauci just admitted the six-foot social distancing rule “just sort of appeared,” and was likely not based on any data. So there’s that.

The above Orf clip pertains to one corner of the jumble: Fauci’s preposterous double-down on the idea that he was never “strongly leaning totally one way or the other” about the origin of the disease.

That Fauci was saying this as late as March of last year is amazing, given that emails and chats between the authors of the infamous Proximal Origins of SARS CoV-2 paper ginned up to promote the “zoonotic origin” hypothesis were just a few months from bursting into public, proving that Fauci poured his bureaucratic weight into that theory, even over and above the authors’ own reservations. He must have known this material would get out.

The moment history should perhaps examine most closely is the amazing White House press conference Fauci gave on April 17, 2020.

On that day, Fauci said, in response to a question about the possibility of a lab leak: “There was a study recently that we can make available to you by a group of highly qualified virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolved… it is totally consistent with a jump from an animal to a human.”

He paused. “I don’t have the authors right now, but we can make that available to you.” He was referring to the Proximal Origins of SARS CoV-2 paper.

I’ve re-watched that video sequence probably a hundred times. It might be the most impressively bold example of political lying I can remember in recent years, and that includes Donald Trump’s appearances. If it were possible for a human being to lie one’s face off, Fauci’s would have been sliding off at the edges in that sequence above.

Last summer, Michael Shellenberger and Alexandra Gutentag of Public and I were able to review and publish those Proximal Origin Slack chats and emails showing Fauci could not possibly have been ignorant of the article authors when he gave that April 2020 press conference. Why? Because he was in every meaningful sense an uncredited author of the paper, with constant involvement in its preparation in the months leading to that moment. Those of us who worked on that story had our faces repeatedly shoved in the hugeness of Fauci’s lie.

The genesis of the “papah” to which Fauci referred, when he acted as if he didn’t know the “authas,” was a February 1st, 2020 conference call including Fauci and at last four of the eventual Proximal Origin writers, many of whom expressed strong initial suspicion of a lab leak. Even Wellcome Trust’s Jeremy Farrar, one of the biggest funders in medicine, said, “On a spectrum if 0 is nature and 100 is release — I am honestly at 50!” Eventual author Robert Garry: “I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature.” Researcher Michael Farzan added, “I am 70:30 or 60:40,” meaning leaning toward lab release versus natural origin.

Three days from the conclusion of that call, the first Proximal Origin draft was written and submitted not to a magazine editor, but to Fauci and NIH director Francis Collins. When Collins wondered how accidental lab escape might be possible, Fauci himself wrote, “??Serial passage in ACE2-transgenic mice?” meaning via genetically modified mice.

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