With President Joe Biden calling for a “renewed” look at the origins of COVID-19, the Fourth Estate has performed a volte face in terms of rewarding this former “conspiracy theory” with fresh credibility. What prompted this reversal of fortune for the idea that the coronavirus could have come from the Bio-Safety Lab in Wuhan?
According to both CNN and The Wall Street Journal, the impetus for this fresh look comes in the form of “a new detail” regarding what China knew and when. A U.S. intelligence report finds that several researchers from the Wuhan lab became seriously ill in November 2019. But wait. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Is the American public suffering from a serious case of déjà vu?
In January of 2020, President Donald Trump was lambasted by the very same media outlets for spinning dangerous conspiracies and promoting “anti-Asian” hate by saying the very same thing. Yet there was one crucial difference that seems to allow the partisan press the right to continue the diatribe that the former president was in the wrong: He didn’t say the word “hospitalized.”
It seems that the Fourth Estate has grasped on to this one single word in an effort to convey that without it, reporting on such a topic would have been irresponsible. Is it perhaps more likely that singling out this word as a reason for not covering what could be described as the most significant story of the century, is little more than a face-saving exercise?
“A State Department fact sheet released by the Trump administration in January (2020) said that the researchers had gotten sick in autumn 2019 but did not go as far as to say they had been hospitalized.”
And there you have it. The smoking gun that permits the legacy media to completely change their position whilst still not giving credence to the fact that authors across the left-leaning spectrum had denounced Trump’s words regarding the potential lab origins of the virus as a dangerous fantasy. Is the word “hospitalized” so essential?
This is not the only case of linguistic acrobatics in which CNN engages. In what appears to be a classic case of journalistic shucking and jiving, the author writes:
“The current intelligence reinforces the belief that the virus most likely originated naturally, from animal-human contact, the sources said. But that does not preclude the possibility that the virus was the result of an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute, where coronavirus research was being conducted on bats.”
Likelihoods and preclusions are the grease with which spurious news stories are made. It seems apparent from the legacy media’s change in narrative that messaging on COVID origins will soon slide further along the scale.
President Trump raised this issue almost a year and a half ago. He was pilloried and mocked by the media and by numerous politicians who sought to denigrate his administration and his leadership. Since Joe Biden became president, social media and legacy media have both sought to shut down and silence any voices that sought debate on COVID’s origin. The Biden administration itself was also not averse to deriding any who dared utter a word of the alleged conspiracy.
Now that the word “hospitalized” has been discovered, it is all systems go in the three-ringed circus. But, naturally, the blame for inaction must still be attributed to the former president. State Department spokesman Ned Price said of the original report released under Trump that “A fact sheet issued by the previous administration on January 15 did not draw any conclusions regarding the origins of the coronavirus. Rather, it focused on the lack of transparency surrounding the origins.”
Well, that is much clearer. The document did not explicitly state that something was amiss in the Middle Kingdom’s reportage, so therefore, no action was necessary. Ignoring the fact that President Trump repeatedly hinted, suggested, and outright claimed that he had seen evidence pointing to the illness of the Chinese lab scientists, unless the word “hospitalized” appears, nothing should be assumed?
Here’s what the fact sheet actually said:
“U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and seasonal illnesses.”
Spin It, No Matter the Cost
Words have consequences, as the media so regularly tells the public. The American people were reminded of this in January 2020 when the president first made clear that he had seen reports suggesting the Chinese story on COVID origins may have been spurious. It is perhaps time to also look into the consequences of the Fourth Estate and Democrats’ words in response to Trump.
Would a single scientist or researcher into the vaccines that are now available to the public claim that more information on the origin of this virus would have been a bad thing? Would any suggest that knowing where it came from and when could have hindered the development of a treatment? Likely not.
In fact, if the political left had not been so keen to support the Chinese government over President Trump, more information about the virus could have been available sooner and saved countless lives. With a pandemic, every day counts. Every roadblock to understanding the causes, origins, and treatments ends with more deaths.
If the media had not been determined to damage Trump’s 2020 election chances, perhaps this corona-crisis would already be in the rear-view mirror. All for the sake of a single word.
Read more from Mark Angelides.