The Monday bombshell, for those of you who can still perceive concussion and feel shaking, or even care why things are falling off the shelves, is that a public relations man who works for Anthony Fauci by day, moonlights as a political blogger by night for RedState, disparaging and undermining the very agency that he’s paid to promote. Nothing like having an active saboteur on the payroll. Daily Beast:
William B. Crews is, by day, a public affairs specialist for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But for years he has been writing for RedState under the streiff pseudonym. And in that capacity he has been contributing to the very same disinformation campaign that his superiors at the NIAID say is a major challenge to widespread efforts to control a pandemic that has claimed roughly 200,000 U.S. lives.
Under his pseudonym, 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.” He has gone after other public health officials at the state and federal levels, as well—“the public health Karenwaffen,” as he’s called them—over measures such as the closures of businesses and other public establishments and the promotion of social distancing and mask-wearing. Those policies, Crews insists, have no basis in science and are simply surreptitious efforts to usurp Americans’ rights, destroy the U.S. economy, and damage President Donald Trump’s reelection effort.
“I think we’re at the point where it is safe to say that the entire Wuhan virus scare was nothing more or less than a massive fraud perpetrated upon the American people by ‘experts’ who were determined to fundamentally change the way the country lives and is organized and governed,” Crews wrote in a June post on RedState. […]
Crews’ authorship of the posts—which The Daily Beast was able to confirm through public records, social media postings, and internal records from the National Institutes of Health, NIAID’s parent agency—is a remarkable break from the public positions of the agency that employs him in a public relations role. And it illustrates the extent to which the response to the pandemic has become deeply politicized, even within the agencies at the front lines of fighting it. Crews isn’t just a civil servant anonymously disagreeing with his bosses online; he’s actively undermining their work and even suggesting retribution against them.
But while Crews may be one of the most remarkable cases of a government official contributing to the misinformation campaign around COVID-19, he’s hardly the only one doing so. His most scathing writings about the coronavirus came over the summer, as other Trump loyalists in the nation’s public health bureaucracy sought to undermine the work of some of the government’s foremost scientists.
The link to the “other Trump loyalists” is to the New York Times piece on Michael Caputo, who went bonkers and did a conspiracy theory screed on Facebook, claiming that “the shooting starts” when Trump refuses “to stand down at the inauguration.” Caputo also enlisted the aid of Canadian Paul Alexander, who undermined CDC scientists and their work. Alexander has been terminated and Caputo is on administrative leave — which is good, since his Facebook screed sounded like something that you say just before those nice young men in their clean white coats come to take you away.
Crews has been posting for RedState since 2004 and he apparently has no ethical problem sharing information he gains at work.
Emails from listservs for both current and former RedState writers—a number of which were obtained by The Daily Beast—show that Crews also passed along information shared internally at NIH to other writers at the site. In late 2016, he sent an email to a list of current and former RedState contributors from his “streiff” Gmail account containing a memo circulated to agency employees by NIH director Francis Collins. Crews prefaced the memo by writing, “from office email.” He also sent the list internal NIH emails regarding the government shutdown of 2013, and even suggested that RedState writers cover various NIH-funded studies, in one case asking suggesting that another contributor write up a particular study because “I’m conflicted out.”
Apparently that sentiment didn’t last too long. Crews has no problem disparaging Dr. Fauci, and he may have been doing it on the taxpayers’ dime. Most of his pieces were posted during working hours, when he was on the clock. Moonlighting is one thing, stealing from your employer is quite another. And when what you’re selling is misinformation during the worst epidemic in a hundred years, then it becomes treachery. Here’s a sample of what you and I are paying for:
Though a Trump critic during the 2016 campaign, Crews is now a die-hard supporter, and his writings on the coronavirus have been, to say the least, inflammatory. Wearing masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, he wrote last month, is “a political statement” akin to “wearing the red ribbon when AIDS was a huge deal, and we were supposed to believe that you can have an epidemic without having casual transmission of a virus (sorry, in most areas of the world’s landmass outside a San Francisco bathhouse, butt sex is not considered ‘casual’).” […]
Crews’ posts on coronavirus at RedState have directly contradicted the guidelines put out by the White House coronavirus task force and the nation’s various public health agencies, including the NIH. “This whole thing has been a total fraud, insofar as the policy response to Wuhan virus, from day one,” he wrote in June. “There has never been a need for a lockdown. There has never been a need for wearing masks.”
If Irony wasn’t long dead, she would remark that if there’s a Deep State conspiracy, it’s directed against the well being of Americans, not the clown in office. And probably Trump knows that, and his Deep State proclamations are just one more projection.
What’s obvious here, is that Crews has no ethics. It’s all a PR job to him, and truth v. lies is not at issue. And this comes as zero surprise to me. As a matter of fact, I expected somebody to be outed for doing this long ago. Seriously, I’ve been waiting for this. The reason I say that is because a few years ago, it was suggested to me that I could “do it for the other side, too, and make twice the money.” I said, “You mean, create a wingnut version of Ursula (imagine the avatar wearing a goatee and doing the Nazi salute) and call her ‘Jessica Law’ let’s say, and she goes over to RedState or Breitbart and froths conspiracy theory?” “Yeah,” I was told. “All you need is a VPN and they’re cheap.”
The ethics of the situation weren’t even touched on in this conversation, only the pursuit of profit. So I repeated this conversation to a few people, fellow Zoomers as a matter of fact, and the question we framed was, “Would you want to do damage like that? Is it worth it to tell lies and do damage for a few bucks?”
And here’s how it stacks up, for me or anybody who starts writing for the love of it, which to my mind, is the only reason to do it. To write about what you passionately feel is a wonderful thing. And it’s doubly wonderful if your labors eventually allow you to eat and pay a few bills, at least. Cobbling together a mishmash of something you don’t believe in — because you don’t believe in anything — solely for a buck, is a very different thing. To proselytize a belief system, not because it is yours, but because you can pander to the people whose system it is, for money, is a con, plain and simple. It comes down to who you want to look at in the mirror, and apparently in this day and age, there are a lot of people who have no problem whatsoever presenting whatever face will make them a buck. Crews is one of these people.
The big question here, is how many people like Crews are there in our government, who are literally willing to sell their souls? Because to once again quote Obama, Trump is a symptom of what’s wrong, he’s not the problem. But the fact that he’s in office at all and that we are now living in a dystopia, illustrates how deluded a great number of people in this country are, and Crews is one of the people deluding them — for a buck. Maybe it’s time to replace the Statue of Liberty with a giant dollar sign, since that seems to represent us best these days.
Who is America anymore? Because our “ratings” have never been lower. A Pew Research poll indicated that 84% of adults in 13 countries think we’ve done a terrible job on the coronavirus. Trump said that he was going to see America “respected again” and instead we have plummeted in the eyes of the world — and rightfully so.
America needs to clean house, starting with the one on Pennsylvania Avenue.