Washington Post Admits Wuhan Lab Leak Theory Was Dismissed Because it was Supported by Trump

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Photo Credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

At a Jan. 30, 2020 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican told colleagues: “This coronavirus is a catastrophe on the scale of Chernobyl for China. But actually, it’s probably worse than Chernobyl, which was localized in its effect. The coronavirus could result in a global pandemic. I would note that Wuhan has China’s only biosafety level-four super laboratory that works with the world’s most deadly pathogens to include, yes, coronavirus.”

Cotton was widely mocked by the liberal media over those remarks and similar ones to follow.

Looking back to the early days of the coronavirus, anyone who mentioned that the virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan was labeled a conspiracy theorist. Saying the virus may have been created in that lab was even worse.

In recent weeks, however, journalists who once scoffed at such a notion are opening to the possibility.

The Washington Post’s “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, who was himself the subject of a fact-check involving remarks about Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, actually admits that the legacy media’s anti-Trump bias may have been behind their rejection of the lab leak theory.

Kessler excuses both himself and his colleagues from performing their due diligence by saying that the lab leak theory “often got mixed up with speculation that the virus was deliberately created as a bioweapon,” which he finds preposterous. (When the truth finally comes out, he may be proven wrong about that as well. But I digress.) Surely any journalist worth his or her salt would be able to separate the two, and investigate both theories. Did the virus escape accidentally from the lab that was tied to the CCP’s military or was it intentionally released?

It was China’s “lack of transparency” and “renewed attention to the activities of the Wuhan lab” that finally opened their eyes to the possibility that the virus may have leaked from the lab, the only lab in China that is known to work with this specific pathogen.

He finally gets around to the real reason: former President Donald Trump. Here too, Kessler tries hard to absolve himself and the rest of the media. He writes: “The Trump administration also sought to highlight the lab scenario but generally could only point to vague intelligence. The Trump administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims.”

I’m sure by now, nearly a year and a half after the coronavirus reached our shores, U.S. intelligence agencies have more solid information about its origins. But in those early days, all Trump had to go on was vague intelligence.

As for his anti-Chinese rhetoric making it easier to ignore his claims, wouldn’t a serious investigative journalist be able to put the President’s comments aside and look at the facts? Isn’t that a journalist’s job?

Isn’t Kessler essentially saying that the theory was dismissed mostly because of its connection to Trump?

Kessler takes readers through a COVID-19 timeline. Most of the early reactions were based on the lab leak theory and left the door open to the possibility that it could have been intentional.

Later in January, The Daily Mail and The Washington Times published articles making the connection between the virus and the Wuhan lab.

On Feb. 6, “Botao Xiao, a molecular biomechanics researcher at South China University of Technology, posts a paper stating that ‘the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.’ He pointed to the previous safety mishaps and the kind of research undertaken at the lab. He withdrew the paper a few weeks later after Chinese authorities insisted no accident had taken place,” according to The Post.

Did any journalists wonder why Xiao withdrew the paper? That researchers who didn’t acquiesce to the CCP’s version of events had a way of disappearing?

On Feb. 9, Cotton struck back via Twitter against China’s ambassador who had said his remarks were “absolutely crazy.”

Following more criticism from The Washington Post, Cotton responded with the following Twitter thread:

The hypotheses include: “1. Natural (still the most likely, but almost certainly not from the Wuhan food market); 2. Good science, bad safety (eg, they were researching things like diagnostic testing and vaccines, but an accidental breach occurred); 3. Bad science, bad safety (this is the engineered-bioweapon hypothesis, with an accidental breach); 4. Deliberate release (very unlikely, but shouldn’t rule out till the evidence is in); Again, none of these are ‘theories’ and certainly not ‘conspiracy theories.’ They are hypotheses that ought to be studied in light of the evidence.”

The turning point in the debate over COVID’s origins came on Feb. 19 when a group of public health scientists published a joint statement, which was scolding in its nature, in the elite medical journal Lancet.

It read: “The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),1 and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.”

According to The Post, “the statement was drafted and organized by Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance,which funded research at WIV with U.S. government grants. (Three of the signers have since said a laboratory accident is plausible enough to merit consideration.)”

These so-called “experts” did the world a great disservice by signing on to this statement. They provided China with an excuse to escape blame for the virus. It was this letter that did more than anything else to turn the tide away from the lab leak theory.

The media would point to this letter from the “experts” and ridicule anyone who mentioned the lab leak theory.

So, why now are they changing their tune? Why did PolitiFact retract their earlier fact check (which debunked the lab leak theory) last week? Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing. Perhaps they’re privy to something that hasn’t been made public yet. Or maybe it’s because there is growing circumstantial evidence that points to the lab leak theory.

Whatever the reason, Kessler’s article was a feeble attempt to explain why the vast majority of journalists, once again, failed to do their jobs.

A version of this article was posted in The Western Journal.

Trump: WaPo Was Courageous to Admit Their ‘Mistake’ in Story about Call to Georgia Election Investigator

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Former President Donald Trump was incredibly generous, uncharacteristically so, to The Washington Post in a Tuesday night interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. When asked about their correction of a very pivotal story about his December 23 telephone call with Frances Watson, the chief investigator for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, he replied:

It probably affected the Senate race. But it was a terrible thing.

I will say this. I was very happy that the Washington Post had the courage or whatever you want to call it to at least admit their mistake. I hope it was a mistake. But I think probably it came from the people in Georgia that run an election process that frankly is just absolutely terrible. … They were told something that didn’t exist and it made me sound bad and when I heard it, I said, ‘That’s ridiculous. I never said that.’

The Washington Post did a correction. A lot of pressure was put on them but they did a correction because they realized what they did was wrong.

Actually, they printed a correction because The Wall Street Journal had published an audio recording of the call which revealed the actual words that had been said. A recording, I might add, that had been deleted by someone who knew what would happen if it were found and later discovered in a “junk folder” .

The Post published the following correction to the story:

Correction: Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump’s December phone call with the state’s top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find ‘dishonesty’ there. He also told her that she had ‘the most important job in the country right now.’ A story about the recording can be found here. The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.

On Tuesday, the Post published an article to explain how this ‘error’ may have occurred. It was written by their media critic, Erik Wemple, He wrote that the “individual familiar with the call … spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversation.”

The original story had been “based on an account from Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state, whom Watson had briefed on [Trump’s] comments.”

Wemple spoke to Fuchs before writing his piece. She told him, “I believe the story accurately reflected the investigator’s interpretation of the call. The only mistake here was in the direct quotes, and they should have been more of a summary.”

“I think it’s pretty absurd for anybody to suggest that the president wasn’t urging the investigator to ‘find the fraud. These are quotes that [Watson] told me at the time.”

Is it the job of Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state, to interpret the President’s intent? Especially when she had not directly spoken to him. Certainly not. As a public official, people expect the facts from her office, rather than her interpretation of the facts.

“Misreporting the words of the highest elected official in the land is a serious lapse — and one that, in this case, seems so unnecessary,” Wemple wrote.

“The existence of the call itself is a towering exclusive. When it comes to phone calls, the only good sources are the ones who are dialed in,” Wemple explained. “The former president’s partisans will attempt to memorialize The Post’s story as a fabrication or ‘fake news.’ But a central fact remains: As the Journal’s recording attests, Trump behaved with all the crooked intent and suggestion that he brought to every other crisis of his presidency.”

And with that comment, journalist extraordinaire Erik Wemple interprets the President’s intent as well. Suddenly, we understand why Fox News’ Tucker Carlson used to distribute “Erik Wemple” coffee mugs as a joke during a now-discontinued feature of his program called “Final Exam.”

After Wemple’s article had run, the Post stated, “We corrected the story and published a separate news story last week — at the top of our site and on the front page — after we learned that our source had not been precise in relaying then President Trump’s words. We are not retracting our January story because it conveyed the substance of Trump’s attempt to influence the work of Georgia’s elections investigators.”

And with that, we’ve hit the trifecta. The media outlet whose slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” became the third party to interpret the President’s intent.

First, Watson injects her bias against Trump into her recap of the call to Fuchs. Fuchs embellishes the call further in her conversation with Washington Post writer Amy Gardner, who adds her own highly partisan views to what she’s been told.

Next, the other major networks jump on the bandwagon. They all run the story claiming that they had independently confirmed it. Oh really? With whom? Did they speak to Fuchs as well? And she felt it was okay to do so because, after all, that’s what the President had intended?

And what about Watson herself? She knew the quotes attributed to the President were false. Yet she didn’t feel the need to correct the record?

This little story perfectly illustrates the anatomy of a smear. Really it’s no more complicated than a game of “Telephone” among like-minded adults.

And it happens every day.

Elon Musk to WaPo After Request for Comment on Tesla Hit Piece: ‘Give my regards to your puppet master’

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The Washington Post ran a hit piece on the world’s richest man Elon Musk and the company he runs.

The title read: “Elon Musk moved to Texas and embraced celebrity. Can Tesla run on Autopilot?” And the subtitle: “Investors fear a world where Musk no longer leads the company. But his attention is already going elsewhere.”

The piece argues that Musk is stretched too thin:

But critics say the rigors of Musk’s personal schedule, and the seeming cult of personality that has developed around him, are beginning to show in the car company he runs — the one that he took from an upstart pioneer in electric vehicles to the world’s most valuable automaker. Musk, they say, is drowning in outside commitments like his aerospace company and other endeavors while letting quality — and strategy — at Tesla fall victim. And there are familiar concerns.

The article hits Musk over his move to Texas and his focus on new aerospace manufacturing company, SpaceX.

And like so many Californians who have become fed up with the state’s politics and frequent natural disasters, Musk last year relocated to Texas, acknowledging in December he had moved.

As Musk moved and focused more energy on SpaceX, Tesla employees said he didn’t have the same presence he once did. Special requests from Musk dwindled.

It goes on to describe the problems with each of the vehicles in the Tesla lineup, suggesting that if Musk had kept his eye on the ball, these issues wouldn’t have arisen.

And they quote a nervous investor:

“There have been years past where some of his behavior was horrifying and had cost huge costs especially from his little tussle with the SEC,” said Ross Gerber, a Tesla investor and supporter of Musk who is close to the company. “And he’s come a long way. What I’m worried about is his success makes him a little bit loose again.”

It’s no secret that Amazon CEO and Founder, Jeff Bezos, who often trades places with Musk as the world’s richest man, owns The Washington Post.

The newspaper, whose motto is “Democracy dies in darkness,” contacted Musk asking for a comment on the article. 

Musk’s response? “Give my regards to your puppet master.”

Well done!

https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1364327038946070530

Elizabeth is the founder and editor of The American Crisis. She is also a contract writer at The Western Journal and a previous contributor to RedState, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have appeared on HotAir, Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, MSN and other sites. Elizabeth is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother!