Now that the “right people” are asking questions about the origin of the coronavirus, mainstream media is interested in it as a legitimate story. Last year, it was dismissed as a “fringe conspiracy theory” from Trump and his supporters.
Since Spangld’s last roundup on the hunt for the coronavirus’ origins, more scientists have raised alarm bells and called for a more robust investigation.
- A group of scientists wrote in a letter published in Science magazine last week “theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover (natural transmission from animal to human) both remain viable” but that “more investigation is still needed” on how the coronavirus emerged.
- Medical industry journal Infection Control Today’s coverage noted, as previously reported by many outlets, that the Chinese government walled off the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab conducting coronavirus research in question, from international investigators.
- The pleas from this group of scientists are evidence that a once-dismissed theory—that the COVID-19 virus was created in a lab and accidentally released—has gained mainstream credibility.
- Several researchers who signed the Science magazine letter talked to Politico, one of whom said the fact that there is still no evidence of an intermediary animal that may have transferred from bat to human suggests the lab-leak theory is still a valid theory. Another told Politico that there is no malice or accusations of wrongdoing implied, simply that it would have been an accidental leak.
- Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to get the State Department to declassify documents connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, including classified information about animal laboratory research conducted with the Chinese military, for their own investigation into the origins of the virus.
- CNBC’s report on a Senate hearing on the CDC’s budget noted Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s emphasis that while a lab-leak theory is “one possibility”, animal to human transmission remains the likely culprit.
- The New York Times’ coverage of the letter last week went to great lengths to give the signers considerable latitude and opportunity to say any possibility of a lab leak would likely have been purely accidental. This stands in stark contrast to the New York Times’ reporting last year which wagged its finger at Sen. Tom Cotton for saying the exact same thing yet characterizing his comments as accusations of nefariousness.
- Now that non-political and largely uncontroversial members of the scientific research community are raising the questions of an accidental laboratory leak, The Atlantic’s David Frum went on the attack, saying Republicans are weaponizing the theory against Democrats, even if they were right.
- Per the New York Post, Jen Psaki provided not an answer when questioned on the Biden administration’s efforts to push China on a more transparent look at the Wuhan viral lab and the origins of the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Federalist excoriated David Frum’s Atlantic article, explaining the mainstream media’s changing of tune has everything to do with politics: It’s not just Trump-supporting politicians and outlets positing the theory. Separate reporting from The Federalist noted Politifact’s “archiving” of one of their ratings last year on the origins of the virus, saying now that more credible people are posing the theory it must be investigated more.
- Townhall.com provided a glimpse of Drew Holden’s comprehensive look at the mainstream media’s dismissive coverageof the now-credible theory when it was promoted as a possibility during the Trump administration, highlighting Washington Post, New York Times, Forbes, and Politico.
Mistakes happen, circumstances change. News events, especially breaking news, is covered at a breakneck pace and will require updated reporting. Now that so-called credible sources are asking the exact same questions, the mainstream media nods along uncritically and, most infuriating to many, pretends their previous coverage was unbiased and provides not even a cursory apology or correction. This is an instance of partisan hackery masquerading as reporting. Holden’s exposure of mainstream media’s treatment of this theory based solely on who is residing at the White House is further proof of what many on the right calls Trump Derangement Syndrome. Nothing, especially not facts, will get in the way of the narrative of “Orange Man Bad.” The singular focus of tearing down anything to do with Trump demonstrates just how badly mainstream media has become corrupted as a partisan tool. One doesn’t have to be a supporter or fan of Trump to see this for what it is.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021