It’s been fascinating not to mention nauseating over the last couple of weeks to watch the mainstream media suddenly flip flop on the Wuhan virus lab leak theory by suggesting in so many words they had viewed it as potentially credible all along but that the evidence supposedly just wasn’t there to connect the dots on the original claims that were being made last year by then-President Trump, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and others.
Except evidence on the possible origins of COVID-19 had indeed existed long before the MSM’s rather abrupt about-face, as RedState previously reported and was confirmed via circumstantial evidence detailed in a GOP House Intelligence Committee members report that was released last week.
Conservatives have long suspected that the main “problem” with what the media and Democrats painted as a baseless “conspiracy theory” for well over a year was that the people making the allegations were Republicans, with Trump, of course, being the most prominent one.
Because of that any speculation as to the coronavirus’ origins had to be immediately shot down and treated as straight out of Wackoville because Orange Man Bad and because it didn’t line up perfectly with what the China apologists at the WHO and China were saying (and not saying) about it at the time.
Fast forward to this week and reporters from the Washington Post and the New York Times appear to now be conceding the point about how media skepticism on the Wuhan virus lab leak revolved around the fact that Trump was putting the allegation out there. Because of that, and because of the Trump administration’s supposed reluctance to share any intel on the theory, the WaPo’s Glenn Kessler and the NYT’s Maggie Haberman said it was no surprise that the media was going to be suspicious of and ridicule the claim.
Here’s Kessler explaining how the theory “suddenly became credible”:
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) May 25, 2021
And here’s his admission that Trump’s so-called “anti-Chinese rhetoric” gave critics (the media and fact checkers) an easy out to not view the claim as credible:
"The Trump administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims." –Fact Checker Who Checks Factshttps://t.co/4LTJ32APHJ
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) May 25, 2021
In addition to Kessler’s piece, here’s Haberman on CNN this morning suggesting that because the Trump administration wouldn’t share intel that they were to blame for making the whole issue “political”:
NYT's @maggieNYT on the Wuhan lab leak theory: "Important to remember … then-Pres Trump and Pompeo both suggested they'd seen evidence this was formed in a lab … but they refused to release the evidence … because of that, that made this instantly political." pic.twitter.com/r9zi1lJT74
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 25, 2021
So if I’m reading all of that correctly, it looks like the mainstream media approached the entire issue with deep skepticism from the start, not necessarily because they didn’t believe it was possible, but because they didn’t like the guy making the claims. And every bit of their reporting and fact-checking on the claim from that point forward was framed around that belief and was clouded by their hostile, mistrustful feelings towards Trump.
While a healthy dose of media skepticism towards claims made by politicians is always warranted, it’s not an excuse to slack off of doing exhaustive due diligence when it comes to investigative reporting and fact-checking, especially on a topic as important as this one. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened here. Also unfortunate is that this visceral anti-Trump mindset was pervasive in other reporting on the administration as well on issues that had nothing to do with the coronavirus.
Let’s look at this another way. Had a Democrat been president last year and made the exact same claim about the possible origins of the virus, would the media have treated the allegation with such hostility? My opinion is no, they wouldn’t have. In fact, they very likely would have approached it with the “we must prove the president right” mindset, as they have done so many times before in the past with other statements made by Democrats in the White House like Obama, Clinton, etc.
But because we had a Republican president and one that made clear before well before he was elected that he was not interested in playing games with the media, the approach from reporters was quite different. And because of that it took over a year of the same Republicans not backing down from their claims that got us to the point where the media is all of a sudden admitting for the record that the lab leak theory should be taken seriously.
It shouldn’t have taken this long. But it did. And Kessler, Haberman, and their media colleagues and Democratic allies in Congress are who we can look to in order to assign a lion’s share of the blame.