Sep 21, 2020 - Health

Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency

Anthony Fauci

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The managing editor of the conservative blog RedState, who under a pseudonym has attacked officials leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, was actually a public affairs specialist for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), The Daily Beast reports.

Why it matters: Under the pseudonym "strieff," William B. Crews has written several articles on RedState that directly contradict guidelines issued by the White House coronavirus task force and other government agencies. This includes misinformation that NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci and other leaders have warned undermine the U.S. response to the pandemic.

What they found: "Crews has derided his own colleagues as part of a left-wing anti-Trump conspiracy and vehemently criticized the man who leads his agency, whom he described as the 'attention-grubbing and media-whoring Anthony Fauci,'" the Daily Beast's Lachlan Markay writes.

  • According to The Daily Beast, Crews, as strieff, has also insisted policies, including mask-wearing, social distancing and public establishment wearers, have no basis in science.
  • "His writings on RedState repeatedly allude to fascism and Nazism in describing efforts to combat the virus, with references to 'the public health Gestapo' and 'mask nazi' Fauci," according to The Daily Beast.
  • 'A government that can force you to wear a purely symbolic face mask in a prescribed manner can make you wear a yellow Magen David and get on the boxcar,' Crews wrote in July.
'When the smoke clears on this Wuhan virus tragedy (and I mean the tragedy of the working men and women of this nation who have seen their livelihoods and life’s work and, sometimes their actual lives destroyed by the unreasoning panic inflicted upon us by the public health nazis), one thing will become blindingly obvious: the nation and the Trump administration were failed at every turn by ... Fauci."
— Crews, under his pseudonym, wrote

Driving the news: Responding to the revelations, NIAID spokeswoman Kathy Stover told the Daily Beast in an emailed statement that Crews would "retire" from his position.

  • "NIAID first learned of this matter this morning, and Mr. Crews has informed us of his intention to retire," the Stover wrote. "We have no further comments on this as it is a personnel matter."
  • Crews did not respond to the Daily Beast's repeated requests for comment.

Go deeper: Read the full Daily Beast report.

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