Liberal media reporters and pundits admitted over the weekend they were wrong to dismiss the Wuhan lab leak theory just because it was espoused by former President Donald Trump.
Mainstream reporters had pushed back at the idea that COVID-19 may have originated in a virology lab in Wuhan, China, and openly ridiculed the idea as Trump spoke openly about it in the early days of the pandemic.
But now, those same reporters have admitted that it is possible that the virus came from a lab leak — as more scientists and political officials openly question the virus’ origins.
‘I think a lot of people have egg on their face,’ ABC News’ Jon Karl told Martha Raddatz Sunday morning.
‘This was an idea that was first put out by Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, [and] President Donald Trump,’ he continued on ABC’s This Week, ‘and some things may be true even if Donald Trump has said them.’
Jon Karl told ABC This Week host Martha Raddatz on Sunday that he thinks reporters ‘have egg on their face’ for originally refusing to consider the lab leak theory
He noted that the idea was widely dismissed at the time, but now ‘serious people are saying it needs a serious inquiry.’
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt also said on CNN that he thinks people ‘leapt to dismiss’ the theory too quickly because it was being espoused by then-President Trump and Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who has also said that the 2020 election was stolen.
‘I think a lot of people on the political left and people in the media made this mistake and said ‘Wow, if Tom Cotton is saying something it can’t be true,’ Leonhardt said. ‘Or they assumed that. And that’s not right.
‘Tom Cotton does deal in misinformation about things like election fraud, he’s said some things that are just wrong,’ Leonhardt continued.
‘But that doesn’t mean that everything he says is wrong, and it seems like a lot of people, including a lot in the media, leaped to dismiss the lab leak theory because of where it was coming from, and the reality is we don’t yet know how COVID started.’
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt said journalists were quick to dismiss the theory because it was being espoused by former President Donald Trump and Senator Tom Cotton
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin slammed journalists for making a sudden U-Turn on their coverage of the lab leak theory.
‘Most MSM reporters didn’t ‘ignore’ the lab leak theory, they actively c****** all over it for over a year while pretending to be objective out of a toxic mix of confirmation bias, source bias (their scientist sources lied to them), group think, TDS [Trump Derangement Syndrome] and general incompetence,’ Rogin wrote in his first tweet Saturday morning.
He added that the lab leak theory has not changed and ‘suddenly become credible.’
‘The theory has always been the same,’ Rogin wrote. ‘The people who got it wrong changed their minds. They are writing about themselves, with zero self awareness.
‘All these reporters scrambling to defend their own records on the lab leak theory are exposing their own hypocrisy and ignoring their basic error,’ he continued. ‘Just report the facts. Don’t act like its your job to tell us what’s OK to think or talk about.
‘Own up to it when you fail your readers,’ he wrote.
The Twitter thread was re-tweeted more than 1,000 times, garnering several thousand likes.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin slammed the mainstream media for trying to defend their initial reporting which refuted the lab leak theory
The lab leak theory has gained traction over the past few weeks, as more and more politicians and scientists start to question the origins of the virus and how it mutated to infect humans.
The Huanan wet market, where scientists say the first cluster of infections were officially reported, is just a few hundred yards from the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and only a few miles from the the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab, where scientists were reportedly conducting experiments on bats before the pandemic began.
The lab is one of only a handful in the world that is cleared to handle Class 4 pathogens — dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission.
Three researchers from the institute sought medical care in November 2019, before the virus began to spread, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.
Three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology reported COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, before the virus began to spread around the world
The Institute is one of only a handful in the world that is cleared to handle Class 4 pathogens — dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission
The newspaper said the report – which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits – may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.
It reported that current and former officials familiar with the intelligence about the lab researchers expressed a range of views about the strength of the report’s supporting evidence, with one unnamed person saying it needed ‘further investigation and additional corroboration.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has since said he was ‘not convinced’ that COVID-19 developed naturally and called for an open investigation.
‘I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,’ he said at a PolitiFact event on May 11 entitled: United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking.
President Joe Biden has also called for an investigation into the origins of the virus.
The former head of the Food and Drug Administration said on Sunday that the likelihood COVID-19 originated in a lab is growing while the odds that the coronavirus was transmitted from animals to humans grow longer.
‘The challenge is that the side of the ledger that suggests that this could have come out of a lab has continued to expand,’ Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served as then-President Trump’s FDA commission from 2017 until 2019, told CBS News.
‘And a side of the ledger that suggests that this could have come from a zoonotic source, come out of nature, really hasn’t budged.’
Gottlieb said that there is enough evidence to rule out the earlier theory that coronavirus originated from a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan.
Gottlieb added: ‘And if anything, you can argue that that side of the ledger has contracted because we’ve done an exhaustive search for the so-called intermediate host, the animal that could have been exposed to this virus before it spread to humans.
Daily Mail has been asking if the virus stemmed from a Wuhan lab since April 2020
The Daily Mail has consistently questioned the early consensus that COVID-19 was transmitted to humans from animals.
Our reporters have dug into the details and challenged the assumptions about how the pandemic originated.
APRIL 4, 2020:
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is ‘no longer being discounted’.
One member of Cobra, the emergency committee led by Boris Johnson, said last night that while the latest intelligence did not dispute the virus was ‘zoonotic’ – originating in animals – it did not rule out that the virus first spread to humans after leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.
APRIL 15, 2020:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has demanded that China ‘come clean’ following reports that coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.
It comes after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. is trying to determine whether the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ where wild animals — though not bats — are sold for consumption, leading one source to tell Fox News the debacle is the ‘costliest government coverup of all time.’
MAY 2, 2020:
Wuhan virus lab ‘cover-up’: Startling photos of scientists wearing little protection as they handle deadly bat samples vanish from website of Chinese institute at the centre of global suspicion over pandemic
Pictures which appear to show slack safety standards at the Chinese laboratory at the centre of international suspicion over Covid-19 have been systematically deleted from its website – as Donald Trump continues to ramp up the pressure on Beijing over its potential role in the outbreak.
During the past month, Wuhan’s Institute of Virology has removed photographs of scientists working in its laboratories and edited out references to visits by US diplomats who subsequently raised the alarm about the laboratory’s work on bats.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had seen intelligence that gave him a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the global crisis had its origins in the institute – a month after The Mail on Sunday first revealed that British Cabinet Ministers had received classified briefings raising the possibility of a leak from the institute.
MAY 30, 2020:
China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation’s top officials and had seismic global implications.
‘At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,’ said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gao’s initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government’s failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.
JANUARY 2, 2021:
Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump‘s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.
Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.’
JANUARY 9, 2021:
The Chinese government is facing fresh accusations of a cover-up after officials deleted crucial online data about the laboratory suspected of being the source of Covid-19.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
APRIL 24, 2021:
Scientists studying bat diseases at China‘s maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials – despite their denials of any such links.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the ‘dark matter’ of biology involved in spreading diseases.
Biden orders ‘unexamined evidence’ that could show coronavirus leaked from China lab to be crunched by supercomputers at 17 elite research facilities
President Joe Biden has ordered the government’s leading research laboratories to join the search for the true origins of the COVID-19 pandemic by sifting through a massive trove of previously unexamined data, according to new reports.
Biden on Wednesday ordered the 17 National Labs run by the Department of Energy to assist the intelligence community in a 90-day sprint to examine whether the virus leaked from a lab in China.
The government is not revealing exactly what kind of data is being submitted for analysis, but experts say it is likely previously gathered intelligence such as signal intercepts or biological evidence.
Intelligence agencies regularly collect more raw data than their analysts are able to effectively pore through, and the application of advanced algorithms to seek patterns in the massive data set could offer new breakthroughs.
President Joe Biden has ordered the government’s premiere research laboratories to join the search for the true origins of the COVID-19 pandemic
Equipment is seen at Livermore National Laboratory in California, one of the 17 National Laboratories to been called in to assist intelligence agencies in crunching data
‘We want the science to be a big part of this,’ the White House official told CNN. ‘We are going to use the full resources of our intelligence and scientific community to try to get to the bottom of this.’
Biden is also urging U.S. intelligence agencies and those of allies to hunt for new information that could shed light on whether China covered up a lab leak.
Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, said the Biden administration’s response was ‘better late than never, but far from adequate.’
‘Our intelligence community has been looking at this now for 15 months. They’ve done good work on it, but in the end the answer lies in the hands of Chinese communists, not people working for American intelligence agencies,’ he told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Cotton said that officials in Beijing have not been forthcoming about how the pandemic began. ‘We should be insisting that they come clean, that they provide us a clear and unvarnished look at what was happening in the Wuhan labs,’ he said.
Circumstantial evidence has long raised questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers were known to be conducting experiments on bat coronavirus strains similar to the one responsible for COVID-19.
China insisted early and often that the virus did not leak from the lab, claiming that crossover to humans must have occurred at a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan that sold live animals.
Perhaps driven by animosity for Donald Trump, who embraced the lab leak theory early on, the mainstream U.S. media and academics heaped scorn on the possibility, calling it an unhinged conspiracy theory.
But new evidence, including reports of three workers at the Wuhan lab who fell seriously ill with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, has forced a sober reassessment among doubters.
Frustration with China increased this week after Beijing said that it would not participate in any further investigations by the World Health Organization.
Researchers are seen at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Biden’s new 90-day probe will examine whether evidence supports the lab leak theory of the pandemic
Circumstantial evidence has long raised questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers were known to be conducting experiments on bat coronavirus strains
Biden rebuked China in his announcement of the new intelligence review, calling on allies to help ‘press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.’
UK intelligence agencies are assisting in Biden’s new 90-day intelligence review, a senior Whitehall security source told The Telegraph.
The source told the publication: ‘We are contributing what intelligence we have on Wuhan, as well as offering to help the American to corroborate and analyze any intelligence they have that we can assist with.’
British intelligence agencies have generally been skeptical of the lab leak theory, while Australia’s spies have been more open to it.
While Britain and Australia already share intelligence with the U.S. as part of the Five Eyes partnership, Biden’s new probe could prod them to redouble their focus on sharing evidence related to a possible lab leak.
Meanwhile, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and more than 200 of his GOP colleagues have also called for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to direct her Democrat-led committees to investigate China’s complicity in causing the COVID pandemic.
In a letter to the Democratic House Speaker, the Republicans said there is ‘mounting evidence the pandemic started in a Chinese lab’ and the Chinese Communist Party ‘covered it up’.
‘If that is the case, the CCP is responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 Americans and millions more worldwide. These questions about the CCP’s liability are not a diversion, as you falsely claimed,’ the letter reads.