An expert cannot distort the message to the public because too many in the public can directly interrogate the source material. In this case, that means: models estimating herd immunity thresholds or the data underlying community mask use, drawing their own conclusions. If an expert seeks to distort their view of the science to further a behavioral change amongst the public, the risk of detection is high — at least by some in the public. As such, it runs the risk of immediate backlash and the ensuing loss of credibility. . . .
Once it is revealed that any individual has presented information selectively to get the listener to change their behavior — that person will forever be viewed through that lens: a calculating person. Is Fauci telling me this because the science supports it, because he believes it, or because he thinks hearing it might motivate a behavioral change on my part?
Personally, I don’t see a way back from this situation. The moment the public believes that you might be withholding, selectively presenting, or distorting information to get them to behave a certain way, they will immediately put your comments through a translator. He might be saying this because it’s what he believes, but what if he is saying it to change my behavior. What might that look like? What does he want my behavior to be, and what would it be if he told me something else? If that’s the case, what might his real feelings be … and on and on. The moment you enter this state in a relationship, there is no path back, it is over. Trust is irrevocably broken. A new spokesperson is needed.
At the very least. One way to make the new spokesperson more trustworthy is to punish the old spokesperson for lying.