OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Dr. Anthony Fauci had a working relationship with his wife. According to a fact check from Logically, “Dr. Christine Grady’s role as Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the NIH’s Clinical Center did not put her in a position of oversight relating to the work of her husband, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Claims to the contrary are based on a misunderstanding relating to her role and the work of the department she oversees.” We have updated our story and regret the error.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk has responded to a post on the platform that appeared to push back on claims that outgoing White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, in his post as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has never been untruthful or dishonest.
Entrepreneur and moderate Republican backer Marc Andreessen posted a tweet that contained a screengrab supportive of Fauci which said it is neither “accurate or fair” to claim that Fauci “has ever lied,” to which Musk posted a link to a congressional .pdf file of a Newsweek story headlined, “Fauci Was ‘Untruthful’ To Congress About Wuhan Lab Research, New Documents Appear to Show.”
The September 2021 report noted: “The National Institute of Health (NIH) has denied funding studies that would make a coronavirus more dangerous to humans after it was accused of doing so following the release of research proposals. The documents were obtained and released by The Intercept on Tuesday after it launched a FOIA lawsuit. Richard Ebright, board of governors professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and laboratory director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, told Newsweek these documents show “unequivocally” that NIH grants were used to fund controversial gain-of-function (GOF) research at the Wuhan Insitute of Virology in China—something U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has denied.”
“The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement in Wuhan are untruthful,” Ebright said.
Meanwhile, Musk said this week that former Twitter employees had managed a channel in Slack titled “Fauci Fan Club” in which they fawned over the outgoing NIAID director during the recent COVID pandemic.
The New York Post reported:
Musk tweeted the claim in a thread that was highly critical of Fauci, who was accused by the mogul of lying about so-called “gain-of-function” research that some suggest may have played a role in the spread of the coronavirus.
“Despite these glaring issues, Twitter nonetheless had an internal Slack channel unironically called ‘Fauci Fan Club,’” Musk tweeted late Tuesday. He did not elaborate as to how many employees participated in the Slack channel.
During the pandemic, Twitter — under the old management team — regularly censored coronavirus-related content that ran afoul of information being put out by Fauci and federal health agencies. Some users who routinely posted counter-research and information, like Alex Berenson, were eventually booted off the platform, though he as since been reinstated after he filed a lawsuit against the platform.
Perhaps with an eye towards those incidents, Musk sparked a strong reaction this week after he announced the social media platform would promote “reasoned” skepticism of scientific data.
“New Twitter policy is to follow the science, which necessarily includes reasoned questioning of the science,” Musk tweeted.
Writer Katherine Brodsky tweeted in response, “Also known as the scientific method,” to which Musk replied with a “bullseye” emoji, suggesting he agreed with her response and thought it was accurate.