Dr. Fauci: Fox Should Fire Jesse Watters

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci gives an update on the Omicron COVID-19 variant during the daily press briefing at the White House on December 1, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci (Image credit: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci called for Jesse Watters, co-host of Fox News Channel's opinion show The Five, to be fired over comments he made about Fauci, a top White House COVID-19 adviser, at a conservative conference.

Watters talked about ambushing Fauci with a question about U.S.-funded research at a Chinese lab, saying that would be a kill shot, ostensibly for Fauci's reputation, but continuing the sniper metaphor in reference to a public official who has received actual death threats. Watters was providing advice on how to capture a "viral moment" of confrontation with Fauci, who Watters has criticized for his advice on pandemic safety.

Fauci, being interviewed on CNN following Watters' Dec. 20 appearance at Turning Point USA's AmericaFest conference in Phoenix, said all he has done has been to promote health safety and that Watters' comments were awful and probably would go unpunished by his media outlet, though he said he thought Watters should be "fired on the spot."
Fox News signaled that was not likely to happen. 

"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," Fox News said in a statement. 

During The Five's Tuesday broadcast, Watters continued to criticize Fauci and the president's response to COVID-19. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.