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Lara Logan draws outrage for comparing Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele on Fox News

It’s the latest in a series of inflammatory and conspiracy-tinged comments from the once-lauded former ’60 Minutes’ correspondent.

Lara Logan on Capitol Hill in October 2017. In comments Monday night on Fox News, she compared Anthony S. Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. (Saul Loeb/AFP)
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Lara Logan, once a lauded foreign correspondent for CBS News’s “60 Minutes” and now a boundary-pushing Fox News guest commentator and streaming show host, drew fierce condemnation for on-air comments Monday night comparing the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

Her comments came during a segment in which Fox host Pete Hegseth, a frequent critic of coronavirus vaccine mandates and masking politics, accused the Biden administration of overhyping the new omicron variant.

Logan’s response, though, went well beyond.

“What you see on Dr. Fauci — this is what people say to me: that he doesn’t represent science to them. He represents Josef Mengele,” she said. “Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War and in the concentration camps. And I am talking about people all across the world are saying this, because the response from covid, what it has done to countries everywhere, what it has done to civil liberties, the suicide rates, the poverty, it has obliterated economies. The level of suffering that has been created because of this disease is now being seen in the cold light of day.”

It was the latest and arguably the most inflammatory in a series of comments from Logan that have stunned viewers who remember her days as an impartial news reporter and star correspondent for the respected newsmagazine show.

But Hegseth, who guest-hosted Fox’s 7 p.m. opinion show Monday, showed little reaction while Logan spoke and did not contradict or push back on her statements. Before going to a commercial break, he promoted Logan’s show on the Fox Nation streaming service. (His other guest, Fox host Will Cain, called Fauci a “would-be authoritarian.”)

Known as “the angel of death,” Mengele performed “a broad range of agonizing and often lethal experiments with Jewish and Roma twins, most of them children,” while serving as a physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Early Tuesday morning, the Auschwitz Museum’s official Twitter account released a statement seeming to condemn Logan’s remarks without naming her. “Exploiting the tragedy of people who became victims of criminal pseudo-medical experiments in Auschwitz in a debate about vaccines, pandemic and people who fight for saving human lives is shameful,” the organization said. “It is disrespectful to victims & a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that works to combat antisemitism, issued a statement to The Washington Post on Tuesday saying that “there’s absolutely no comparison between mask mandates, vaccine requirements, and other covid-19 mitigation efforts to what happened to Jews during the Holocaust.”

He added, “This includes making outlandish and offensive analogies suggesting that somehow Dr. Anthony Fauci is akin to Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, known for his gruesome medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners.”

The American Jewish Committee called Logan’s comments “utterly shameful” and said that “an apology is needed.”

“Josef Mengele earned his nickname by performing deadly and inhumane medical experiments on prisoners of the Holocaust, including children,” the group said on Twitter. “There is no comparing the hell these victims went through to public health measures.”

Fox News representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Logan has drawn criticism for other comments made about the coronavirus during appearances on Fox News programs over the past few months. During a Saturday night appearance on Jeanine Pirro’s show, Logan inaccurately asserted that Sweden has had “no vaccinations” — in fact, the country of about 10 million people has administered at least 15.6 million doses, according to a Reuters tracker — and that “every oncologist who deals with bone cancer identifies hundreds of coronaviruses within our bones,” an unsupported assertion that Pirro did not challenge. In separate Fox News appearances in September, she claimed that Food and Drug Administration-approved mRNA vaccines for the coronavirus are “not really a vaccine,” accused the Biden administration of “hiding evidence of vaccine side effects” and seemed to imply that a surge of Haitian migrants at the border could be a “virus attack” on the United States.

“Bioweapons specialists and intel agents tell me that that’s typical of how you disperse a virus,” she said.

Last week, Logan took to Twitter to compare two Fox News contributors to “cockroaches” for leaving the network over concerns about programming. “This tells you everything you need to know about these two,” she said of Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, “among the many running for cover as the truth is coming out — like cockroaches when you turn on the lights.” In segments earlier this fall, Logan criticized the Open Society Foundation, founded by Hungarian American billionaire George Soros to fund civil-society organizations, as “puppet masters” who “when they are done, there will not be an America.” The organization said in a statement to The Post that her claims “borrow from long-standing antisemitic tropes and conspiracies.”

A native of South Africa, Logan joined CBS News in 2002, winning praise for her coverage in war zones including Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2011, she was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob while on assignment in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. She left CBS News in 2018 after her tenure at the network was marred by a faulty report about the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya — a story that was retracted, and for which she apologized.

She re-emerged to the surprise of some viewers as a conservative hero when, in a February 2019 podcast, she hurled fierce criticism at the mainstream media institutions that once employed her. Days later, conservative host Sean Hannity brought her on his show, saying, “I hope my bosses at Fox find a place for you.”

Logan initially demurred. “I’m not going to be something I’m not,” she said at the time. “I’m not going to pretend to be conservative so I can be the darling of the conservative media. I’m going to be who I am.”

Yet by the fall of that year she had signed on with Fox News Media, hosting the streaming show “No Agenda” and appearing regularly on televised programs such as Hannity’s.

In an interview with The Post last month, Logan said she is not paid extra for appearing on Fox News shows. “I’ve done it because I believe that the truth matters and I have realized that I have to get that out on whatever credible platform I can get it out on.”

As a Fox pundit, Logan often touts her background as an investigative reporter, peppering commentary on immigration or national security issues with references to expert sources that seem to lend her words more credibility. “I don’t know too many reporters who have seen more military action than you and interacted with more military officers,” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade told her during an Oct. 1 segment about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“It’s clear that Lara Logan very often uses her credentials as a longtime straight news reporter … to give credibility to her opinions,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University and a former NBC News executive. But her punditry, he added, “is a different business than journalism.”

Despite the criticism she has faced, Logan told The Post in October that internal restraints have never been put on her Fox News commentary and that “no one has ever said anything to me.”

“I do my job exactly the same way today that I’ve ever done it,” she said. “The way I did it at ’60 Minutes’ or the way I did it at the newspaper in South Africa when I was a young journalist. I’ve never done it any differently. It doesn’t make any difference to me who’s in power. I couldn’t care less. … I’ve never changed.”

This story has been updated with more information on Logan’s background.

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