Press Contact: Clare Lefebure
WASHINGTON (September 12, 2021) – Today, in a taped interview broadcast during the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists National Convention, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “the only way to really counter misinformation and disinformation is by flooding the system with the correct information, and that’s one of the major roles of journalists – to really be the vehicle for the correct information. Information that’s edited, and evaluated and peer-reviewed, as opposed to what goes out on social media”. The interview with the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases covered topics ranging from vaccine mandates to Fauci’s experiences during the early years of the HIV epidemic. It was conducted by NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Vice President of Print & Online Jen Christensen, a health writer. The interview can be viewed here.
“It’s a very difficult period,” Fauci said, “because the Delta variant has been the wild card that has really changed things.” He suggested a team of, “trusted public messengers who put aside political ideologies and convince people to get vaccinated,” along with local and organizationally-based mandates, would help to end the pandemic faster.
Christensen asked Fauci about the lessons he learned from his time working on the HIV epidemic at its onset, and whether he’s applied any of those lessons to his work on COVID-19. “One of the lessons learned from one to another is never underestimate the potential of an emerging infection,” Fauci said.
“In the [early] days of HIV, there were a lot of activists who would try to gain the attention of government authorities,” said Fauci. “They were confrontative, they were iconoclastic, they were disruptive, but they were correct… Particularly the LGBTQ community, if you listened to what they had to say, they made sense… Today, it’s all divisiveness, without a productive endpoint to the divisiveness. That’s a big, big difference.”
“Don’t fail to communicate,” Fauci advised journalists. “Classic journalists are a very, very important part of the solution to this very difficult situation we’re going through. In fact, we count on journalists to be able to spread evidence-based truth.”
“Report the facts and data as they occur, in real time,” he said, when asked about the role of journalists in preventing a future epidemic. “The beauty of journalism is that it’s a vehicle for correct information.”
Fauci’s interview aired during the “COVID and Our Community” plenary session of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists National Convention. The Convention concludes today. NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists partners with the Centers for Disease Control and their Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign. More information can be found at cdc.gov/stophivtogether.
About NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists:
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists is a journalist-led association working within the news media to advance fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ communities and issues. We promote diverse and inclusive workplaces by holding the industry accountable and providing education, professional development and mentoring For more information, visit www.nlgja.org.