Neil Cavuto’s interview with Dr. Fauci was big on dispelling misinformation — but not calling out his Fox News colleagues for spreading it

Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared Friday afternoon for a TV interview with Fox Business host Neil Cavuto. But even as the two worked to educate viewers about the need for COVID-19 vaccination, Cavuto conspicuously did not point out that many of the narratives they were trying to dispel had been platformed by his own network.

This interview had followed recent media coverage — whether by coincidence or not — of Fauci’s reported rejection of most appearance invitations from Fox News. That media coverage had wrongly blamed Fauci, instead of putting the responsibility on Fox News for pushing misinformation and political scare campaigns.

Appearing last night on MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes, Fauci responded to Fox Nation host Lara Logan’s comparison of him to the Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele, saying it was “unconscionable” and an “insult to all of the people who suffered and died under the Nazi regime in the concentration camps.” Fauci also referred to inaccuracies in Logan’s other statements about COVID-19 and took issue with Fox News as a network, saying, “How they can let her say that with no comment and no disciplinary action. I’m astounded by that.”

However, Fauci may have correctly expected that his appearance with Cavuto would be much different than Fox’s usual fare. Recently, when Cavuto urged the network’s viewers to get vaccinated — following his own recent breakthrough infection as an immunocompromised person — he got bombarded with hate mail.

Though to be clear, Cavuto is not just some passive underling or lone voice within Fox. He also carries a corporate title as a senior vice president and managing editor of business news. It has also long been clear that the company’s management structure does not actually believe any of the anti-vaccine propaganda that the network otherwise peddles, as the company maintains a strict regimen of vaccination and testing for its employees. (According to Fox insiders, the COVID-19 lies have been “great for ratings.”)

Moreover, there was still a dog that did not bark during the over 20-minute interview, in a manner remarkably similar to Fauci’s appearance in October with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. When Cavuto asked Fauci to explain the proper reasons why vaccination is important, even with the existence of breakthrough infections, he only said he had heard contrary arguments “from people,” ignoring that such misinformation has been spread for months by Fox’s top prime-time host Tucker Carlson.

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Citation From the December 3, 2021, edition of Fox Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast

CAVUTO: You know, you had mentioned earlier in some interviews about you hope that maybe one of the good things that would come of this, I'm paraphrasing here, is that people who are not vaccinated would get vaccinated. But I hear as much from people who have not been vaccinated, who are now sure as hell they will not get vaccinated, because if you can get this and hear about, you know, breakthrough cases — mine own included, Doctor, and I was fully vaccinated — and they hear about this, people who have the full vaccination, even get the booster shots, and getting it, not necessarily with this variant. They're saying, “No, I'm not going to bother.” What do you tell them?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI (CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT): Yeah, but the thing about that, Neil, is that you don't want to get into a situation where you don't fully realize that very, very often — and the data clearly show that — if you are vaccinated and get a breakthrough infection, which there are a lot of breakthrough infections, you yourself mentioned your own personal situation. However, we know now that when people are vaccinated, even when they do get a breakthrough infection and compare the likelihood of their going on to a serious hospitalization and even death is much, much greater in an unvaccinated person that in a vaccinated person.

So although I can understand a person saying, “Well, if there are breakthrough infections, why should I get vaccinated?” They need to understand that even if they do get infected, if they were not vaccinated, they might have had a much, much more serious course. And if you look at the whole cohort of patients who get infected, there's no doubt — recent data, Neil, just came out that if you are unvaccinated and get infected versus vaccinated and get infected, the likelihood of your getting hospitalized is much, much higher if you are in the unvaccinated group.

CAVUTO: Yeah, and I was vaccinated, and it was relatively mild. I tried to milk it for all the attention I could, Doctor, but the fact of the matter is that it could’ve been a lot worse.

Later on, Cavuto asked Fauci how he responded to various controversies throughout the pandemic, which have been complicated by both the overall situation and the scientific knowledge evolving as time went by. Cavuto then alluded to how Fauci was “a rockstar at the beginning” but “something changed with the controversy over the origins of all of this, what you knew, when you knew it.” He then asked, “without getting into those details,” whether Fauci had wanted to walk away from the public limelight.

The “details” that Cavuto clearly wanted to avoid are that multiple Fox News hosts — most notably Maria Bartiromo, Steve Hilton, and Tucker Carlson — have used their shows to spread a conspiracy theory claiming that Fauci was himself connected to the creation of COVID-19 in a Chinese laboratory.

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Citation From the December 3, 2021, edition of Fox Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast

Fauci also bemoaned “there really has been a considerable degree of politicization about all of this” — a remark that was only just scratching the surface. Indeed, ever since the beginning of the pandemic, Fox’s biggest names have cast Fauci as a shadowy and ill-intentioned figure. The network’s hosts also attempted early on to convince then-President Donald Trump to fire him, and those calls continued into the Biden era.

So when Cavuto talked about how “something changed” regarding Fauci’s reputation as a scientist,” he was definitely leaving some key details out of this conversation.