A former veteran writer for the New York Times described American citizens as “selfish pigs” in an email to to Dr. Anthony Fauci in February 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to become a major international news story.
In the email, former science and health writer Donald McNeil Jr. contrasted his low view of Americans with his view of the average Chinese citizen, whom he said “behaved incredibly heroically in the face of the virus.”
McNeil — who famously became the victim of cancel culture when he was canned by the Times earlier this year for repeating a racial epithet during a company education trip to Peru — said that unlike the Chinese, Americans seem to be “interested only in saving themselves.”
Though certainly of lesser consequence than many of the other emails sent and received by Fauci that have been unearthed in recent days, the communication exemplified the smug condescenscion that liberal elites are perceived to hold toward regular Americans.
Before being fired by the Times, McNeil worked for the paper for more than four decades.
Below is the entire relevant section of the email, obtained as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request produced by BuzzFeed News, which sought Fauci’s communications between January and June of last year.
I was just watching the HHS briefing online, and thinking about an article I read this morning, and Bruce Aylward’s description of what he saw in China, and a lot of videos I’ve watched on the South China Morning Post website (they’re doing great coverage.).
In China, we in the media tend to report the horrors and the lockdown and the government’s early lies … But the truth is that a lot of average Chinese behaved incredibly heroically in the face of the virus: 25,000 doctors and nurses went into Wuhan to help, knowing they might die. Average people gave up their stockpiles of masks so they could be shipped to Wuhan. Neighborhood committees brought food to thousands of little old ladies and checked on them every day, even as they asked them to stay behind their doors for fear of infection.
Meanwhile, in America, people tend to act like selfish pigs interested only in saving themselves. How can I hoard a mask? Where’s my vaccine? This morning, I read this appalling article from Alabama. Here you have Americans com ing back from a horrifying experience overseas, and the President — who is popular in Alabama — asks Alabamans to take some of those fellow Americans in. There is zero risk because they’re going to be housed on a naval base.
And yet, the answer is “No! Keep them out!” And their legislators encourage it…
I dunno — that’s the kind of behavior I expect from my fellow New Yorkers, not from Alabama.
If the virus arrives — and we both know it will — America is going to have to do better than that. Like the Chinese, Americans are going to have to look out for each other the way we haven’t since 9/ 11. Or maybe since World War II.
In response, Fauci simply said, “You make some very good points, Donald.”