Questioning coronavirus origins is not a conspiracy

5 April 2020

6:13 AM

5 April 2020

6:13 AM

The exact origins of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, remain unknown. We know only that it began in the Wuhan province in China, but the Chinese Communist party has gone to great lengths to obfuscate the full picture of its initial spread.

Journalists should be clamoring for this information.

​But, for a large section of the American media, who have engaged in China apologia over the course of the past few months, challenging China or by proxy the World Health Organization is completely off limits.

​Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that ‘we need to get to the bottom’ of where the virus came from. After he suggested several possibilities as to its origins, members of the national press jumped in to accuse him of fear mongering and branded him a conspiracy theorist. Outlets from HuffPost to NBC News attacked Cotton because he dared to mention the theory that the virus could be a repurposed biological weapon unleashed on purpose by the Chinese government, never mind that his quotes were in fact quite more nuanced than how the media reported them.

​’I would note that Wuhan, the province where the ailment was first reported, has China’s only biosafety level 4 super-laboratory that works with the world’s most deadly pathogens to include, yes, coronavirus,’ Cotton said. ‘Now, we don’t have evidence that this disease originated there, but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says.’

​Nothing there suggests Cotton is a tinfoil hat-wearing Alex Jones wannabe, but that didn’t stop multiple news outlets from painting him that way.

Those same outlets should be eating crow because now some experts are buying into the theory that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have escaped one of Wuhan’s virology institute laboratories. On the heels of a Tucker Carlson segment highlighting the work Wuhan Institute of Virology does in examining viruses originating in horseshoe bats, one of the first experts cited by multiple media outlets to paint Cotton as a lunatic is now backing the possibility that the virus was leaked from the laboratory, either intentionally or not.

​Richard Ebright, a chemical biology professor for Rutgers University told the Washington Post that ‘there’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered.’ Take that, Cotton! Except Cotton never claimed that the virus was engineered, only that it may have escaped a lab. Which, funnily enough, is exactly what Ebright also suggested. Ebright ‘could not rule out the possibility that the unfolding pandemic could be the result of a lab incident,’ according to the Asia Times.

Ebright also said ‘yes’ when the Daily Caller asked him directly if the virus could have leaked from a lab.

​It’s not a good look for media outlets to again fall in line with the narrative coming out of China, a country whose officials have also accused the US Army of engineering the virus and releasing it into Wuhan. Twitter refused to ban those officials, and there was no mass snark tweeting or fact checking done by the same journalists who called Cotton a crackpot.

​Maybe that’s because it’s easier for members of the American media to attack a senator from a party that most of them ideologically oppose on a personal level. Or maybe it is something much more nefarious — that the media companies who sign the paychecks are much more invested in China and therefore willing to cede editorial standards in their coverage to the CCP. Maybe that’s also worth looking into.

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