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As reporting on coronavirus lab leak theory grows, critics accuse media of suffering ‘amnesia’ on topic

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This time last year, the mainstream media largely dismissed the Wuhan coronavirus lab leak theory as a “fringe” or “conspiracy” theory but with Dr. Anthony Fauci becoming the latest leading figure to question the origins of COVID-19, outlets are increasingly treating it as a serious possibility.

A few examples of how the media were reporting on the lab leak theory a year ago, when Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., suggested it had emerged from a lab known for bat coronavirus experiments:

“Sen. Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins,” the New York Times wrote.

“Trump says US investigating whether coronavirus spread after China lab mishap but cites no evidence,” a USA Today article read.

“New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic,” the Washington Post wrote.

EXPERTS GIVING COVID ‘LAB LEAK’ THEORY SECOND LOOK AFTER MAINSTREAM MEDIA CRIED IT WAS DEBUNKED

There were more where those came from, noted conservative writer Drew Holden in a lengthy thread about the media’s fluctuating tone.

WUHAN ‘LAB LEAK’ CORONAVIRUS THEORY IN FOCUS AS HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEMAND ANSWERS

Politico referred to the lab leak as a “conspiracy theory” before wondering why more research hadn’t been done on lab experiments, an editorial phenomenon that Holden described as “amnesia.”

CNN’s headline from May 5, 2020 was perhaps most bold, declaring Fauci “crushed” then-President Trump’s theory on the lab leak.

“Enter Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and perhaps the single most prominent doctor in the world at the moment,” Chris Cillizza wrote at the time. “In an interview with National Geographic posted on Monday night, Fauci was definitive about the origins of the virus which has sickened more than a million Americans and killed more than 68,000:

NBC’S CHUCK TODD FAILS TO ASK FAUCI ABOUT COVID ORIGINS AMID QUESTIONS ABOUT WUHAN LAB

“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.”

Having quoted both men, Cillizza added, “Only one of these two people is a world-renowned infectious disease expert. And it’s not Donald Trump.”

But Fauci said over the weekend that he’s “not convinced” the coronavirus developed naturally.

“No actually,” 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.”

RAND PAUL, FAUCI AGAIN SPAR OVER COVID ORIGINS, CONTROVERSIAL WUHAN LAB

Granting credence to the previously “fringe” idea that COVID-19 originated and escaped from a Wuhan lab is a new Wall Street Journal report that revealed researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019, a month before COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, as the researchers were stricken with symptoms that were similar to those experienced by COVID patients. Holden wondered whether these same outlets would “revisit” their earlier reporting, based on current knowledge.

Former New York Times reporter Donald McNeil, who previously viewed the lab leak theory skeptically, wrote last week on the increased plausibility of the leak theory. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, who reported last year on State Department cables in 2018 warning of security risks at the Wuhan lab, said it was good to see major newsrooms pursuing the story in the wake of the Wall Street Journal report.

“Major media outlets spent a year demonizing the lab-leak theory as an insane conspiracy theory,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted. “Fact-checkers pronounced it false … Mainstream outlets are now forced to admit its viability. Any accountability?”

Some leaders, like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, were not so surprised by the news.

The Chinese Communist Party alone “knows who patient zero is,” Pompeo noted on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Monday.

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Pompeo said he is “convinced” that the evidence will prove the virus escaped from a Wuhan lab.

“I am confident that we will find that the evidence that we have seen to date is consistent with a lab leak,” Pompeo said. “And I’m convinced that’s what we’ll see.”

Pompeo observed on Twitter that the media who formerly wanted to hand him a “tin hat” are now “scrambling to get on the side of the truth.” 

Congressional Republicans have launched an effort to get to the bottom of the origin of COVID-19, as well as whether U.S. taxpayer dollars funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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Arup

The author Arup

Arup Mandal is a reporter, contributor, reviewer & image editor of Azad Hind News. Arup have well experience in reporting .

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