The New York Time’s Maggie Haberman is blaming former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the corporate media’s reckless inability to seriously cover the Wuhan lab leak theory early in 2020.
“Look, I do think it’s important to remember that part of the issue back when this was first being reported on and discussed back … when the pandemic had begun, then-President Trump and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, both suggested they had seen evidence this was formed in a lab, and they also suggested it was not released on purpose, but they refused to release the evidence showing what it was,” Haberman said on CNN on Tuesday.
“And so because of that, that made this instantly political. It was example 1000 when the Trump administration learned, when you burn your own credibility over and over again, people are not going to believe you, especially in an election year,” she said.
While Haberman agreed that the Wuhan lab theory is “worth discussing,” she turned her call for further investigation into a way to criticize Trump and his supporters.
“There has been a persistent, albeit relatively quiet, focus on whether that was the origin of the virus, and it is compounded by the fact there have not been clear answers from Chinese officials about it, and investigators trying to find out the origin have been stymied,” Haberman said. “So I do think we’re in a different period of this, John, but it’s important to remember it’s been framed in a way that’s not true … by Trump supporters about what happened when this was originally raised.”
Newly released intelligence suggests that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology when researchers at the lab fell ill and required hospitalization in November 2019, shortly before the global outbreak that killed more than 3 million people.
Early in 2020, politicians such as Republican Sen. Tom Cotton and others raised questions about the lab’s role in the pandemic but their concerns were brushed off by Democrats and corporate media companies who chose to and smear Trump and conservatives instead of investigating it further.
Tom Cotton-style misinformation or related guessing leads to 29% of Americans saying COVID-19 came from a lab, including 39% of conservative Rs (versus 15% of liberal Ds) https://t.co/p3TUjdxwsL pic.twitter.com/pM1H93LqBM
— Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) March 18, 2020
Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler said in May 2020 that “it is virtually impossible for this virus [to] jump from the lab.”
I fear @tedcruz missed the scientific animation in the video that shows how it is virtually impossible for this virus jump from the lab. Or the many interviews with actual scientists. We deal in facts, and viewers can judge for themselves. https://t.co/TprMnaHSZL
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) May 1, 2020
In another piece in 2020, @nytimes concluded that “most agencies remain skeptical” and “scientists are dismissive” of the lab leak theory. Unfortunately, appears that was certainly true, but not to their credit.
Yet another story continues to describe the idea as a conspiracy. pic.twitter.com/XbSi4pmXzQ
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) May 18, 2021
Now, these same media outlets are quietly walking back their claims that there was no evidence that the virology institute was involved in the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.
The answer seems clear. Earlier today, @paulg documented that major changes made *without comment* to the Vox article to soften the language about this theory being a scam. Absent that, Vox would have hoped nobody noticed & just kept these edits stealth.https://t.co/YnmuitbjPh
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) May 25, 2021
Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.