Conservatives are spending big on bashing Anthony Fauci

(Image credit: GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Conservatives are fundraising, list-building, and spending big on bashing Dr. Anthony Fauci, an effort that has redoubled following the release of his emails through various Freedom of Information Act requests this week. But while the emails have given Fauci's critics new fodder — albeit, with a distinctly conspiratorial bent — they're also the culmination of a months-long effort to discredit the nation's top infectious disease expert. In the past month, for example, Republicans and conservative interests have dumped some $300,000 into Facebook ads targeting Fauci, Politico reports based on data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

More recently, conservatives have selectively pointed to Fauci's emails to make the false claim that the correspondences offer proof the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases "privately supported a theory that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab and lied about masks in an effort to amass political power," Politico writes, going on to clarify that "neither was true. Fauci has said he thinks it's more likely that the virus spread from animal to human but would not rule out a lab leak, and while he initially downplayed the need for masks, it was, he said, out of fear that medical professionals would lose access to them if the public began panic purchasing."

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.