Norah O'Donnell tells Stephen Colbert Dr Fauci not hiding, claims White House 'blocked him from speaking on TV'
After a two-week hiatus, 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' was back with its June 13, 2020 episode with guest CBS Evening News Anchor and Managing Editor Norah O'Donnell. As per the show's pattern, host Colbert spoke of the rising Covid-19 cases in the United States, the Goya controversy, the re-opening of Disney Land, and many other political and social concerns making the headlines. The interview with O'Donnell was a political one, as most interviews in these times are, considering the Black Lives Matter protests still continue, the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, and all the news surrounding the upcoming elections. The news anchor said that journalists have taken on the role of public health service during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how she's surprised that Dr Anthony Fauuci, a man "who can impart knowledge", is being kept from speaking on relevant information by President Donald Trump's White House.
O'Donnell cexplained how this year of journalism was like "sipping water from a fire hose," referring to the intense news outpour in 2020. From the President's impeachment and pandemic to the protests and election, O'Donnell said 2020 was "unlike any other year in my career in journalism." In recent months, with the Trump administration giving out different information compared to news channels, the anchor said she feels that "journalism is a public service." She further explained that journalists are currently in the role aiding public health and spoke of how her show doesn't showcase opinions but brings on professionals with MDs and PhDs to speak on topics that the people want to know. Is the virus airborne or on the surface? What are the therapeutics? When are the vaccines coming out? How do we keep schools safe? These are just a few of the important topics they touch on, she said. Journalists have embraced this role, said O'Donnell, as "the quest for knowledge is there."
With that being said, both Colbert and O'Donnell were surprised that they have been unable to get Dr Fauci, a physician, and immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to speak on their shows. O'Donnell explained that they have been requesting to have Fauci on the Evening News since April for more than three months and more than a dozen times, revealing that the request was denied by the White House, and since then Covid-19 related deaths have surpassed 130,000. When Colbert asked what reply they received from the White House, O'Donnell revealed she was informed that "Fauci was busy" but she believes that the recent polls that show 67% of people trust him when it comes to the virus, with only 24% trusting the president, has something to do with it. As a mother, O'Donnell said she would also like to know if it's safe to send kids to school. "He can impart knowledge," said the anchor while speaking about Fauci, asking why the White House would squelch public health information. You can watch the clip here.
O'Donnell also revealed that she, in fact, does know Fauci and said he is a "friendly" person, as she spoke of how she would call him on his cell phone. "He's not hiding, he is being blocked by the White House from speaking on TV," said the anchor who told Colbert that he'd be surprised but Fauci would pick up should Colbert call him too. The host further asked O'Donnell an interesting question: is she disheartened by the continuous attack on the press of the Trump administration and its supporters? O'Donnell, who has been attacked by the President with a tweet, said that the "dissemination of facts" is what concerns her. She went on to speak of how the upcoming election is very important, her social distancing protocol while interviewing Joe Biden, and how the blood shortage in the US is causing problems for citizens.
'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' airs weekdays on CBS.