Bob Franken




How sad. Too many internet trolls need to cross over from their cyber hiding barriers to the rational world and back by using a troll bridge to sneak across the gap. Somehow all the high tech amplifiers provide them, in coronavirus parlance, with an antisocial distance to share their darkest fantasies.
How else to explain the hate campaigns against the likes of Dr. Tony Fauci? Tony (like any person in newsbiz, I’ve known him through decades of dealing with him through many a public health crisis) has had the audacity to contradict the mindless meanderings of President Donald Trump. Dr. Fauci is a member of the White House coronavirus task force. He is polite about it, expressing his differences ever so gently, but firmly. As the Trumpster spews out misinformation, Fauci, using his expertise, reins him in.

Trump says he doesn’t mind Fauci’s reality checks, but many of his deranged, free-range followers do, using the only language they know, a violent dialect of paranoia. Many resort to threats. It’s gotten so bad that Fauci had to agree to a security detail. Tony disdains face masks, much like Trump, but I wonder if his protectors wear them, along with their weapons and walkie-talkies. Tony likes to take strolls through his neighborhood. Does his detail members talk into their sleeves to warn each other that Dr. Fauci is about to embark on “a movement”? Have they given him a code name? They always do. What would be a good one for Tony? Is it “COVID”?
President Trump’s, at one point, was “Mogul.” Melania’s was reportedly “Muse.” I have no idea if they have changed. In Mr. Trump’s case, if it were up to me, the agents would call him “Tweety.” You were expecting something more derogatory?
Fauci is as opposite from Trump as a human being could be (and for the sake of this discussion, let’s stipulate that Trump is human). Tony is thoughtful, careful — as any scientist is trained to be — and is totally friendly to media types. The words “fake news” have probably never crossed his lips, like a certain someone we know. His way of correcting a false bit of reporting would be to quietly call the newsperson and explain the error of his or her way.
They are similar in that they make themselves constantly available for interviews. The Don prefers the friendly ones, like Hannity. Tony Fauci has probably not faced an unfriendly one. Those of us in newsbiz sometimes refer to celebrity TV appearances as “gets.” Dr. Tony Fauci, during a crisis, is probably the easiest “get” in Washington … except maybe Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, about whom they once said: “The most dangerous place in America is between Chuck Schumer and a camera.”
Fauci doesn’t seek publicity; it seeks him, and he’s willing to oblige during a public health crisis. I’ve interviewed him too many times to count, so I can personally attest that he suffers fools and their stupid questions.
This is the gentleman expert that the ninnies out in social media land have targeted for their vitriol because he dares to set the record straight when it has been twisted into a POTUS pretzel.
Donald Trump will go down in history as the master of the vacuous worlds of Twitter, Facebook and all the dark sites that allow him to incite his cyber audience whenever he wants. And he wants to a lot. The problem is these media are all about instant gratification.
Public health crises like the coronavirus that is ravaging the planet are immune to easy fixes. Experts like Tony Fauci understand that. Inexperts like Donald Trump do not, or choose not to because his followers, most of them anyway, aren’t fans of concentration for very long. His and their slogan might be “don’t confuse me with the facts.” They resent the Tony Faucis of this world that they can only troll by physically threatening them. They cannot be allowed to.

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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