Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, has responded strongly to growing rightwing criticism and conspiracy theories connected to the release of thousands of his emails under freedom of information laws.
“‘Fauci has blood in his hands’ – are you kidding me?” Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said in a frank interview with the New York Times on Monday.
“Here’s a guy whose entire life has been devoted to saving lives, and now you’re telling me he’s like Hitler? You know, come on, folks. Get real.”
Tucker Carlson of Fox News is a “go-to source” for the US political media he claims to “hate” and has called “cowards” and “cringing animals not worthy of respect” – according to a columnist for the New York Times.
Ben Smith, a former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, outed Carlson as “the go-to guy for sometimes-unflattering stories about Donald J Trump and for coverage of the internal politics of Fox News (not to mention stories about Mr Carlson himself)”.
Carlson has become a star of the pro-Trump right – even figuring in polls regarding the next Republican presidential nomination, although he told a podcast last week he will not run – and a hate figure on the US left.
Smith quoted a leading recycler of Washington gossip, Michael Wolff, who has written two Trumpworld tell-alls and last week announced a third.
“In Trump’s Washington, Tucker Carlson is a primary supersecret source,” Smith quoted Wolff as writing in a new book of essays. “I know this because I know what he has told me, and I can track his exquisite, too-good-not-to-be-true gossip through unsourced reports and as it often emerges into accepted wisdom.”
Carlson told Smith: “I don’t know any gossip.”
But Smith said he spoke to 16 journalists from publications other than the Times.
One “reporter for a prominent publication who speaks to Mr Carlson regularly” said: “It’s so unknown in the general public how much he plays both sides.”
Another said: “If you open yourself up as a resource to mainstream media reporters, you don’t even have to ask them to go soft on you.”
Smith said he would not reveal the contents of his own off-record chats with Carlson.