Imagine if a virus suddenly emerged — sweeping across the entire world, killing nearly 3.5 million people and causing billions to hunker down in their homes for more than a year — and the U.S. mainstream media went: “meh.”
Sure, the MSM has endlessly hyped the dangers of COVID-19, immediately repeating every dire prediction by every so-called expert (although the CDC and top immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci have flip-flopped numerous times — another meh from the media).
Yet the legacy (read: liberal) media haven’t bothered to pursue an answer to the main question: Where he @%&*$# did COVID-19 come from? In fact, the MSM long ago ruled out the theory that COVID-19 emerged from a lab, instead declaring it came from a “wet market,” likely from a bat — a story Communist China pressed early and often, to great success.
What’s more, social media literally banned anyone who said otherwise. Just this past September, Twitter suspended the account of a Chinese scientist who suggested that COVID-19 was created in a lab and released, whether accidentally or deliberately.
The media couldn’t be bothered. They had their story and chucked out anything that didn’t fit the narrative — again, that narrative came from China and was supported by the World Health Organization, often seen as an arm of the communist country. And that occurred for one reason: former President Trump.
Finally this week, the origin story burst out — and one reporter even admitted why it had been buried for so long.
“It has become evident that some corners of the mainstream media overcorrected when it came to one particular theory from Trump and his allies: that the coronavirus emanated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than naturally,” Washington Post senior reporter Aaron Blake wrote in an analysis piece published Monday.
Mr. Blake said reporters steered clear out of an abundance of caution, but “that (very much warranted) caution and skepticism spilled over into some oversimplification, particularly when it came to summarizing the often more circumspect reporting” among scientists themselves.
All of a sudden, top scientists and senior members of the Biden administration — along with the often wrong Dr. Fauci — are all musing about whether the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.
Almost exactly a year ago, Dr. Fauci said: “If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated. Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.”
But he changed his tune last week.
In an interview published on Saturday, PolitiFact’s Katie Sanders asked Dr. Fauci: “There’s a lot of cloudiness around the origins of COVID-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?”
“No, actually,” Dr. Fauci said, “I am not convinced about that, 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.”
But wasn’t he the one who said … oh, never mind.
Then the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was a “possibility” that the virus was “lab-based.”
At a Senate hearing last Wednesday, Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican, asked CDC Director Rachel Walensky about the “possibilities” on where the virus originated.
“Certainly the possibilities of, that most coronaviruses that we know of are of origin from, that have infected the population — SARS CoV-1, MERS — generally come from an animal origin,” she said, reading from the same old hymnal.
“Are there any other possibilities?” Mr. Kennedy asked.
“Certainly a lab-based origin is one possibility,” Ms. Walensky acknowledged.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are claiming that “significant circumstantial evidence” exists showing COVID-19 first emerged from a leak at China’s lab.
“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” they wrote in the report. “Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
All that was happening even before The Wall Street Journal broke a major story: Three researchers at the WIV were hospitalized with an unknown infection in November 2019 — a month before China first officially announced the emergence of COVID-19.
Suddenly, the one-time conspiracy theory shut down by the MSM and social media has gone mainstream.
Mr. Trump, of course, loves the new narrative.
“Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus. To me it was obvious from the beginning but I was badly criticized, as usual. Now they are all saying ‘He was right.’ Thank you!” he said in statement on Tuesday.
But now that Mr. Trump’s happy again, look for the media to shut down the lab theory swiftly. They just can’t stand when he’s happy.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.
Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter