Fox News backs host as Fauci demands he be fired

Fox News says comments by Jesse Watters have been ‘twisted completely out of context’

Sravasti Dasgupta
Wednesday 22 December 2021 11:18 GMT
Dr Fauci calls for Fox News host to be ‘fired on the spot’ over ‘kill shot’ remarks

Fox News backed its host Jesse Watters despite Anthony Fauci calling for his sacking after he asked a crowd of young conservatives to “ambush” the top diseases exert and urged them to go for a rhetorical “kill shot”.

In a statement cited in several reports, Fox News said Mr Watters’s comments had been taken out of context.

“Based on watching the full clip and reading the entire transcript, it’s more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor for asking hard-hitting questions to Dr Fauci about gain-of-function research and his words have been twisted completely out of context,” the statement said.

The violent rhetoric was used by The Five host during an address at a conference of the conservative group Turning Point USA last weekend.

“You got to ambush a guy like Fauci. OK, this is how you do these ambushes like [Project Veritas founder James] O’Keefe. You got to be respectful because they’ll turn the tables on you and you can’t have it blow up in your face,” Mr Watters said at the event.

“This guy’s scrambling at this point. You have the goods,” he added.

He also accused Dr Fauci of funding research at a Wuhan-based virology lab in China that has been at the centre of accusations for the “lab leak” theory of the origin of Covid-19.

“Now you go in for the kill shot. The kill shot....whew, with an ambush, deadly. Because he doesn’t see it coming. This is when you say, ‘Dr Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab’... Boom, he is dead! He is dead! He’s done!”

Dr Fauci had called for Mr Watters’ dismissal by the network when he was asked about the presenter’s comments on CNN’s New Day.

“That’s awful that he said that. And he’s going to go very likely unaccountable. I mean, whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything for him. I mean, that’s crazy. The guy should be fired on the spot,” Dr Fauci had said.

The chief medical adviser to president Joe Biden has been the subject of harassment, intimidation and death threats from conservatives for his push for mask mandates and vaccinations during the pandemic.

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