By JOE MUELLER
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — The day before Dr. Anthony Fauci will be deposed by two attorneys general in a lawsuit alleging government collusion with social media companies, he defended and promoted his communications strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The way you counter misinformation and disinformation is to do whatever you can, as often as you can, to provide correct information,” said Dr. Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He addressed reporters Tuesday at the White House during what could have been his last briefing before retiring from his position in January.
Dr. Fauci is scheduled to be deposed by two attorneys general today.
Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who was elected in early November to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, and Louisiana Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, distributed news releases Tuesday stating they would “get answers” when questioning Dr. Fauci.
In May, Attorney Generals Schmitt and Landry filed an 86-page lawsuit alleging Dr. Fauci and seven other high-ranking members of the Biden administration colluded with and/or coerced social media companies Meta, Twitter and YouTube to suppress “disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms.”
“Since we filed our landmark lawsuit, we have uncovered documents and discovery that show clear coordination between the Biden Administration and social media companies on censoring speech, but we’re not done yet,” Attorney General Schmitt said in a statement. “We plan to get answers on behalf of the American people. Stay tuned.”
Dr. Fauci said the administration’s strategy was necessary when considering the amount of communication challenging the government’s scientific findings.
“People who have correct information — who take science seriously, who don’t have strange, way-out theories about things, but who base what they say on evidence and data — need to speak up more,” Dr. Fauci said. “Because the other side that just keeps putting out misinformation and disinformation seems to be tireless in that effort, and it’s going to be very difficult.”
Subpoenaed information in the lawsuit includes any communications to any social media platform relating to the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a letter published in October 2020. The letter was published in response to COVID-19 policies recommending “focused protection,” an approach to reaching herd immunity by allowing those at minimal risk of death to live normal lives by building up immunity through natural infection while protecting those at highest risk.
“We all deserve to know how involved Dr. Fauci was in the censorship of the American people during the COVID pandemic; tomorrow, I hope to find out,” Attorney General Landry said in a statement Tuesday. “And I will continue fighting for the truth as it relates to Big Government colluding with Big Tech to stifle free speech.”
During his Senate campaign, Attorney General Schmitt alerted Dr. Fauci through social media he would be spending his early retirement in front of congressional hearings.
“If there are oversight hearings, I absolutely will cooperate fully and testify before the Congress if asked,” Dr. Fauci said. “You may not know, but I’ve testified before the Congress a few hundred times over the last 40 years or so. So I have no trouble testifying. We can defend and explain and stand by everything that we’ve said. So I have nothing to hide.”