RFK Jr. Defames Dr. Fauci (But Truth Is an Absolute Defense)

 

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has published a new book, The Real Anthony Fauci, that is clearly actionable defamation if untrue. And Kennedy must be angling for a fight. He has published the book which if untrue is libel and is orally stating the same information in as many interviews as he can obtain which is slander. Just this past week he was featured on Tucker Carlson’s evening show as an excerpt from Carlson’s long-form interview in an episode of Tucker Carlson Today. Progressive media are spinning the interview as conspiracy theories and anti-vaxx propaganda, effectively republishing a defamation to Kennedy’s real target audience albeit with their own spin.

It is this last point that I want to emphasize: Robert Kennedy’s targets are the Karens in the progressive movement that have lionized Fauci and are supporting the destruction of liberty. Kennedy’s rhetoric on liberty is refreshing and hopeful for conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals. His jeremiad is an important tool in persuading or defeating the Karens. Why? Because he accepts the frame of progressivism and demonstrates by statistics (often flawed in my view, but ones routinely relied upon by progressives in policy arguments) that Dr. Fauci is ineffective at best and corrupt at worst. And most importantly, Fauci’s ineffectiveness and/or corruption is not a new phenomenon. It has been a feature of his leadership at the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984.

In one book, RFK Jr does multiple things: (1) debunk the efficacy of the COVID-19 strategy promoted by Fauci, (2) highlights the problem of regulatory capture and expands the definition of Deep State to include big corporations, (3) draws a line under why a Deep State is an existential threat to the Republic, and (4) defines a rallying point for people who agree on a problem while disagreeing on a solution.

Kennedy is in the fight. Naomi Wolf is in the fight. Glenn Greenwald is in the fight. Bill Maher is in the fight. There is help for the Republic. It is in as many people as possible seeing the current alliance of media, academia, corporations, federal employees, and politicians functioning as a Deep State and to understand that centralizing power in this way will enslave us all.

This aggregation of citizens who see the Deep State as the principal problem to be solved opens up some opportunities. The problem with the Tea Party and MAGA is that it was anchored in one political party. Yes, Reagan and Trump were able to pull Democrats in ways that Republicans rarely did, but GOPe is as much a part of the Deep State as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The focus has to be on putting people into office who oppose the Deep State regardless of their political affiliation.

When we try to enforce political purity we use the strategy of “primarying” an incumbent. But if we expand the strategy to encompass both parties — not focusing solely on getting voters to shift affiliations — we get two bites at the apple. You work for candidates on both sides of the ballot to pledge to fight the Deep State. We need a new “Contract with America” that is not focused on putting one or the other party in charge of the House and/or Senate. Putting both chambers into the loving embrace of GOPe will not save the Republic. We have seen time and time again that GOPe will respond to the forces forming and guiding the Deep State and will abandon the grassroots once they have regained power.

We need a revolution. And whether Kennedy completely understands the revolution we need, his attack on Fauci and the cabal of unelected actors is exactly the kind of thing that we need to gain numbers in fighting the corruption of the Deep State. We need to set aside some of our disagreements for the duration while we attack the structure that is steadily enslaving us. For example, even if we eliminated all abortions in this country we will have them born into slavery if we do not dismantle the Deep State.

The Bill of Rights is our rallying point. We need to rediscover the outlook of our Founders who saw George III as the despot and demanded liberty. “Either we must hang together or all hang separately.” “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” Let us refresh the slogans and create a new Purple revolution that overwhelms the Deep State. Either we do it now, or do it generations in the future after terrible suffering.

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  1. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Well done, seeing (and sharing!) the real point — picking a fight with Fauci for influence over the narrative.

    C’mon, Fauci, sue!  You gonna take that from this guy?

    • #1
  2. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Have you noticed how many lawsuits for defamation have emerged from all the Deep State culprits identified and vilified over and over for their criminal acts against the Trump presidential campaign and the Trump Administration? 

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I fully support your points. The country must be unified in this fight. My only discomfort is whether those on the Left who appear to be with us will maintain those positions if they make it into office. We can’t even trust our own Republicans! But at some point we must stop wringing our hands and fight! Good post!

    • #3
  4. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I suspect RFK’s broader anti-vax obsessions were a major driving motivation. I liked his efforts to find ways to help the poor afford heating energy until he became a paid mouthpiece for Hugo Chavez. He was a diehard believer that Bush stole Ohio from Kerry through voting machine manipulation but has not advocated real voting reform. Kennedys seem to gravitate towards efforts and causes that can be personal dramas.

    It must be tough to be a Kennedy and need to be seen as a leader. His older brother Joe was in the same kid baseball league as I was in the 1960s (power hitter but struck out a lot)—the only 12-year old with an adult entourage consisting of a bottom rung of hangers-on. There was a weird class of people who needed to be Kennedy hangers-on.

    When my dad left government he briefly had a consulting partnership with a guy who was a schoolmate buddy of Bobby (guess who recruited the clients and guess who did the work). I went with them on one of those summonings when the hordes in the various connected RFK circles were summoned to Hickory Hill. It was very much a near-royalty atmosphere.  Any normality in a Kennedy kid is an achievement and evidence of character. (Although Ethel was a good mom by most accounts, despite the atmospherics).

    • #4
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    I would dispute that anything said about Fauci is actionable. He is clearly a public figure under Times v Sullivan

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I would dispute that anything said about Fauci is actionable. He is clearly a public figure under Times v Sullivan.

    Yes, Fauci is a public figure. But that doesn’t mean there is no possible action, only that prevailing in a lawsuit is more difficult when you are a public figure because truth is not the only defense. Kennedy has heavily footnoted his book and I think Simon & Schuster are comfortable that they are covered. But that doesn’t mean that it is not actionable.

    • #6
  7. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Rodin (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I would dispute that anything said about Fauci is actionable. He is clearly a public figure under Times v Sullivan.

    Yes, Fauci is a public figure. But that doesn’t mean there is no possible action, only that prevailing in a lawsuit is more difficult when you are a public figure because truth is not the only defense. Kennedy has heavily footnoted his book and I think Simon & Schuster are comfortable that they are covered. But that doesn’t mean that it is not actionable.

    The more likely outcome will be doing the old memory hole thing. His book may get some sunshine but not for long. It could sell a trillion copies and never make any best seller list.

    To bring suit would only bring sunlight. The thing dark angles of the night detest.

    • #7
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Rodin: But that doesn’t mean that it is not actionable.

    Under Times, a public person must prove “actual malice,” that is, the author and publisher knew that something they published was false at the time they published it. It is almost an insurmountable standard. 

    • #8
  9. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I fully support your points. The country must be unified in this fight. My only discomfort is whether those on the Left who appear to be with us will maintain those positions if they make it into office. We can’t even trust our own Republicans! But at some point we must stop wringing our hands and fight! Good post!

    I so agree with this.  Tulsi Gabbard is another one. NOT our friend, do not be fooled. Having said that, thank God this book comes from the Left  (and a Kennedy no less) because it would have been ridiculed and minimized. And Simon & Schuster would never have published it. In fact, I’m surprised they did after what they did to Josh Hawley. Maybe they’re starting to see which way the ball is rolling.

    • #9
  10. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Rodin: But that doesn’t mean that it is not actionable.

    Under Times, a public person must prove “actual malice,” that is, the author and publisher knew that something they published was false at the time they published it. It is almost an insurmountable standard.

    If you read Kennedy’s book I think you will see actual malice against Fauci. This book is written to cause actual harm to Fauci’s reputation and livelihood. But I take your point that Fauci would be foolish for Fauci to sue and easily defended in multiple ways. It would be a true life “QB VII” at best.

    • #10
  11. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I fully support your points. The country must be unified in this fight. My only discomfort is whether those on the Left who appear to be with us will maintain those positions if they make it into office. We can’t even trust our own Republicans! But at some point we must stop wringing our hands and fight! Good post!

    I so agree with this. Tulsi Gabbard is another one. NOT our friend, do not be fooled. Having said that, thank God this book comes from the Left (and a Kennedy no less) because it would have been ridiculed and minimized. And Simon & Schuster would never have published it. In fact, I’m surprised they did after what they did to Josh Hawley. Maybe they’re starting to see which way the ball is rolling.

    We can hope.

    • #11
  12. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Rodin: If you read Kennedy’s book I think you will see actual malice against Fauci. This book is written to cause actual harm to Fauci’s reputation and livelihood. 

    “Actual malice” in this case is exactly as I defined it, knowingly printing falsehoods. Are you saying there are demonstrably false statements in this book? 

    • #12
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Rodin: If you read Kennedy’s book I think you will see actual malice against Fauci. This book is written to cause actual harm to Fauci’s reputation and livelihood.

    “Actual malice” in this case is exactly as I defined it, knowingly printing falsehoods. Are you saying there are demonstrably false statements in this book?

    There are statements that are libel per se. Truth is an absolute defense whether you are a public figure or not. If you are a public figure additional defenses are available to the publisher of a libel. I am saying that RFK Jr is intentionally defaming Fauci. I think Kennedy would be delighted to be sued and have his statements amplified. 

    • #13
  14. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Rodin: There are statements that are libel per se.

    But that’s not the American legal standard. Under Times there is almost nothing you cannot say about a public figure unless you know it to be false. Which is why almost all libel judgments won by celebrities are achieved overseas. One of the few US lawsuits I remember being successful was Carol Burnett v National Enquirer. Burnett, who has a long history of being anti-alcohol, was accused of being drunk in public. 

    • #14
  15. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Rodin: There are statements that are libel per se.

    But that’s not the American legal standard. Under Times there is almost nothing you cannot say about a public figure unless you know it to be false. Which is why almost all libel judgments won by celebrities are achieved overseas. One of the few US lawsuits I remember being successful was Carol Burnett v National Enquirer. Burnett, who has a long history of being anti-alcohol, was accused of being drunk in public.

    I remember that. And didn’t they say something about her daughter? Anyway good for Carol.

    • #15
  16. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Rodin: But that doesn’t mean that it is not actionable.

    Under Times, a public person must prove “actual malice,” that is, the author and publisher knew that something they published was false at the time they published it. It is almost an insurmountable standard.

    Right — so where’s the lawsuit?  No lawsuit because the claims are true.  I get that malice contains (apparently) a condition of known falsehood, which is why there’s no lawsuit.  This is the dare.  Now Kebbedy gets to go from coast to coast daring Fauci to sue him for whatever, and point out the above.

    • #16
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    “Fauci is one of the world’s greatest mass murderers, personally responsible for the deaths of millions.”

    Sue me, Fraud! Discovery will be fascinating.

    • #17
  18. jonb60173 Member
    jonb60173
    @jonb60173

    wake me up when something actually happens

     

    • #18
  19. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    You do not need to agree with someone on most things to recognize that they have the right idea in one case.  Ironically, Fauci has probably done more to promote vaccine hesitancy than RFK Jr.

    • #19
  20. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    You do not need to agree with someone on most things to recognize that they have the right idea in one case. Ironically, Fauci has probably done more to promote vaccine hesitancy than RFK Jr.

    Not just Fauci though, he has a big cohort in government, the medical profession, and health related business

    • #20
  21. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    A couple of points:  1) State and local governments do, under our constitution and system of laws, have the authority to enforce restrictions like lockdowns if they have good reason to do so because of a public health emergency.  Much of the fulmination about violations of our freedoms is nonsense.  And 2) The demonization of Fauci has been one of the more unseemly aspects of the insanity on the right of this whole pandemic mess.*  The demonization has produced absurd, ridiculous accusations against Fauci personally. (Torturing puppies!, Deliberately making a killer virus!)  Fauci is an arrogant jerk and a publicity hound, but all he has been doing for the most part is transmitting the wisdom he has received from the scientific and medical community, which does change as new data comes in.  Maybe many people don’t like it, but that’s no reason to turn Fauci into this great big bête noire.

    __________________________

    *Yes, the left has been insane in their own way, but that’s beside the point.

    • #21
  22. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Until I read the post by @philo ,  “Behind the Scenes Fun of the Day: Complex Rivers of Cash,” last week, I had scoffed at the idea of a “GOPe.” To me, the 2016 free-for-all primaries and the subsequent nomination and election of Donald Trump were living and breathing proof that there was no powerful Oz pulling the levers of the Republican Party–he was an outsider. 

    The knowledge of the “party dues” system has changed entirely the way I see the federal government. 

    If I were king, that’s where I would start in an effort to save the country: get rid of that system and the people who have been enforcing it. To me, that system is the very definition of corruption. 

    There are many issues that could unite the country. That’s just one of them. 

    RFK is persuasive. I read a fantastic article by him on Michael Skakel, who I have thought was innocent. Kennedy’s article and argument were brilliant. I don’t know why it didn’t gain much traction. My theory is that prosecutorial assertions get lots of press coverage; defense, not so much. 

    That said, RFK is an activist, and he is good at cherry picking. In his vaccine worries, he comes across a little bit like the climate change activists. 

    I don’t like reporters, writers, and activists who throw out accusations about individuals the way RFK apparently has done in this book. I think life is more serious than that. If someone has a credible accusation, it should be brought to the police.

    It seems like he is trying to stir up a witch hunt to go after Fauci; in 2003 he was trying to stop the witch hunt going after Michael Skakel.

    It’s the witch hunt itself that bothers me. :-) :-) 

     

    • #22
  23. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    MarciN (View Comment):…the knowledge of the “party dues” system has changed entirely the way I see the federal government. 

    Call that the proverbial tip of the iceberg. I could do five more posts on insider trading by our “Permanent Political Class.”  Everything I post on those topics is information that is more than a decade old. Peter Schweizer (and others) have done good work…and few care. Most find too much comfort in their “Things really aren’t that bad” mantra and other rationalizations for curbed liberties. 

    Thanks for the call-out.

    • #23
  24. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Some may find this interesting. I have no big opinion.

     

     

     

     

     

    • #24
  25. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Roderic (View Comment):

     State and local governments do, under our constitution and system of laws, have the authority to enforce restrictions like lockdowns if they have good reason to do so because of a public health emergency. Much of the fulmination about violations of our freedoms is nonsense.

    15 days, fine. The data does not justify the continued “emergency” (IMO).

    Fauci is an arrogant jerk and a publicity hound, but all he has been doing for the most part is transmitting the wisdom he has received from the scientific and medical community, which does change as new data comes in.

    His emails suggest otherwise (IMO)  

     

    • #25
  26. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Roderic (View Comment):
    The demonization of Fauci has been one of the more unseemly aspects of the insanity on the right of this whole pandemic mess.  The demonization has produced absurd, ridiculous accusations against Fauci personally. (Torturing puppies!, Deliberately making a killer virus!)  Fauci is an arrogant jerk and a publicity hound, but all he has been doing for the most part is transmitting the wisdom he has received from the scientific and medical community, which does change as new data comes in.  Maybe many people don’t like it, but that’s no reason to turn Fauci into this great big bête noire.

    You are aware of the many lies he’s told — lies that affected national, state, and local policies across the country? You are aware that he funded the creation of the damned virus? You are aware that he lied about funding it before Congress? He should at the very least be tried for perjury along with fellow liar Francis Collins, but of course, they’re part of the Deep State and that’ll never happen.

    My goodness, Fauci is a demon from the pit of hell, personally responsible for all the world’s suffering for the last two years. How can you side with him?

    • #26
  27. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Roderic (View Comment):

    A couple of points: 1) State and local governments do, under our constitution and system of laws, have the authority to enforce restrictions like lockdowns if they have good reason to do so because of a public health emergency. Much of the fulmination about violations of our freedoms is nonsense. And 2) The demonization of Fauci has been one of the more unseemly aspects of the insanity on the right of this whole pandemic mess.* The demonization has produced absurd, ridiculous accusations against Fauci personally. (Torturing puppies!, Deliberately making a killer virus!) Fauci is an arrogant jerk and a publicity hound, but all he has been doing for the most part is transmitting the wisdom he has received from the scientific and medical community, which does change as new data comes in. Maybe many people don’t like it, but that’s no reason to turn Fauci into this great big bête noire.

    __________________________

    *Yes, the left has been insane in their own way, but that’s beside the point.

    Your faith in whoever is in authority appears to be unshakable. 

    Whatever new data emerged did not shape the recommendations of scientific “wisdom” but instead was ignored as they doubled down on failed policies solely to obviate the need to change and admit failure. The data unambiguously spoke to the complete failure of the NPIs. The Great Barrington guys were right. The only reasonable strategy was to try to protect the vulnerable and otherwise move on. Everything done was solely to stave off that reckoning.

    You once offered a set of pro-mask studies (which I dutifully read) including one that found a significant benefit even from bandanas (!?) but you evince not even a whisper of curiosity as to why mask usage achieved roughly zero difference in actual results. You position seems to be that it does not matter if a policy doesn’t actually work so long as deference is given to the right sorts and we submit to the credentialed order of things without protest.

    Fauci is moving inexorably to endorsing a mandate of vaccination of kids. Vaxxing kids makes little sense (unless a kid has specific relevant vulnerabilities) so long as there is a strong possibility that the small risk of long-term downside is the same or greater than the very small risk from actual infection.. Mandating it when we know with certainty that it does not stop spread is unscientific. It is sheer inertia of the myth that vaccines are fighting the spread and that those in charge of policy are saving us from COVID.

    Lockdowns, closures, panic, political tensions came at a horrific cost and did nothing to stop the spread. Whatever happened to ‘first do no harm’? Vaccines are a great therapy but not much use as a spread preventative. But we are compelled to pretend they do.  Wearing two masks? Wearing a mask after vaccination? Wearing a mask between mouthfuls in restaurants? This has been a farce.

    Mandating treatments that do no protect others as in the case of smallpox or polio vaccines is unconscionable. So, yes, there are legitimate ights issues implicated by the need to protect Fauci’s (and the other role inflators) image. 

    The existing science expressly predicted that lockdowns and closures could, at best, delay spread and even then only for a very short time. The evidence was that the lockdowns did not even accomplish that but we continued inflicting this gratuitous harm despite “new evidence”. Why didn’t Fauci speak to that? If he was just channeling the data, why not tell us to stop closing things? Why pretend kids are at risk or spreaders? The data is unambiguous.

    Let’s be clear: the general suppression strategy was wrong from jump. There was no scientific reason to believe it would.  Certainly by July 2020, real scientists had already noticed that seasonality was in place and unaffected by the nature or timing of any NPIs.

    Fauci simply scrambled, temporized and lied to adapt as needed to deny the fact that his approach was a costly failure. He is either spectacularly incompetent or an amoral political bureaucrat willing to inflict enormous harm on his country just to serve his self-image and sustain his role as the man “handling” the pandemic. None of that was done in good faith.

    I agree that the  “killing puppies” tangent was gratuitous but your characterization of Fauci as an honest broker of changing science is utterly absurd.

    The rightful place of legitimate expertise and the restoration of public trust is not served by giving Fauci a pass. He committed malpractice on a grand scale. He did not have the professionalism, character or integrity to have admitted his failure, change course and mitigate the damage.

    He deserves all of the opprobrium we can muster.

    • #27
  28. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I agree that the  “killing puppies” tangent was gratuitous but your characterization of Fauci as an honest broker of changing science is utterly absurd.

    The rightful place of legitimate expertise and the restoration of public trust is not served by giving Fauci a pass. He committed malpractice on a grand scale. He did not have the professionalism, character or integrity to have admitted his failure, change course and mitigate the damage.

    He deserves all of the opprobrium we can muster.

    Yup.  And he killed puppies.  Screw Fauci and his blackshirts.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I think I was gently chastised yesterday (along with others, I suppose) for Facui living rent free in my head.  Facui doesn’t live in my head, and I rarely think about him anymore.  He is a cartoon, a puppet, a mask.  He is the front man and financial organizer for the research into, the development and creation of, and the funding for — killer pathogens.  And he defends their creation and use, and funds their production.

    And he lies about it.  Whom he works for and what his financial associations and social affiliations are, I don’t know.  Certainly, he is a true believer in creating PPPs to protect life and life as we know it.  But he, through his diktats, has done more to destroy lives and social structures than anyone short of a newly-minted communist dictator has.  He is very likely very much responsible for millions of deaths, if the popular data can be cited.  Did he “press the button” for the pandemic?  I doubt it very much.  But he created the button, or took a leading role in doing so.  If it hadn’t been him, it would have been someone else, but he specifically with his zeal for mRNA vaccines and his stated outlook to find an epidemic or pandemic to introduce the products of this technology into the world, and to advocate mandating it to everyone including infants, does leave responsibility for this mess largely on his own shoulders.

    I don’t judge him, and I leave the call for sentencing him to hell to others (or rightly to God) but Facui probably has no regret for anything he’s advocated or done.  After all, he was only following the science — that he made up as he went along.

    • #29
  30. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Roderic (View Comment):
    Much of the fulmination about violations of our freedoms is nonsense.

    I supported initial actions taken by elected and appointed authorities, such actions coming swiftly and on limited information available at the time.  It would be dishonest of me to now condemn those early actions.  I own it.  
    Still an emergency is by definition limited in time.  We are being conditioned to accept unwarranted exercise of power by departments and agents without a proper mandate. 
    we are losing our freedoms, and the only nonsense is the sweet-sounding “everything is fine” lullaby.  
    Everything is not fine.  I object strenuously.  By keyboard.  For now.  
    But at least I object that much!  I remember a quote by Sam Adams which I do not apply to you personally — I sometimes agree with you.  But we are indeed being fitted for chains.  
    And I object.  

    • #30