Liberal journalist Matthew Iglesias slammed mainstream media in relation to the dismissal of the lab leak COVID-19 theory. He wrote on Wednesday saying that it was a catastrophic “f*ck up” that unfairly insulted Republican Senator Tom Cotton.
What Yglesias had to say
On his website, SlowBoring, Yglesias argued that the media error in this case largely comes from Cotton’s immediate theory.
This theory stated last year that COVID-19 comes from a lab in Wuhan. Moreover, Cotton also accused China of intentionally leaking the bio-weapon. These theories together with Cotton’s reputation as a China hawk led the media to mischaracterize his statements.
You may remember that much of the really bad coverage was focused on @SenTomCotton’s suggestion that we better understand the potential for a lab leak from Wuhan.
The difference in framing here from @nytimes between May 2020 and May 2021 is…stark. pic.twitter.com/dr5kPPbq3a
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) May 25, 2021
From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cotton had already questioned the Chinese government’s records of the coronavirus animal origins. There are also other theories that emerged, such as the Chinese might have intentionally engineered the virus.
Meanwhile, in February 2020, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation. In this segment, he was asked about Cotton’s accusations that the virus may have originated from a biological warfare program. Tiankai called the allegations “crazy”.
China's ambassador to the United States just went on CBS' "Face the Nation" and DID NOT deny that coronavirus stemmed from the Chinese military's biological warfare program.
Amb. Cui Tiankai then suggested that the virus could come from a US military lab. pic.twitter.com/z2g254iccz
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 9, 2020
On the other hand, managing editor Blake Hounshell connected the writeup of the interview and stated that it is wild to see the Republican senator “spreading rumors” related to a biological weapon from China, which was debunked easily.
Yglesias then wrote that at this point, Cotton had already achieved what he called the “greatest achievement possible”, being unfairly censored by the mainstream media.
Mainstream media released a “scientific consensus” that doesn’t exist
Last year, the Washington Post, New York Times, and other media outlets wrote that Cotton adopted the conspiracy theory.
Yglesias wrote that the story published by the New York Times is a reminder that COVID politics is a different era. He added that one of the reasons that the author doubted that the virus was an intentionally engineered biological weapon is because the virus didn’t affect younger and healthier people.
Yglesias then wrote that the main problem comes from a small group of fact-checkers and reporters. This group published a “scientific consensus” supporting the animal origins of coronavirus, despite the fact that there is no such consensus that existed.
“Where does Sen. Tom Cotton go for his apology?” Some platforms covered @SenTomCotton extensively as they did the threat of the virus from December, 2019 and January, 2020, including mine. MSM dismissed threat, mocked origin, now buries record. https://t.co/Ks4glsPRQU
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) May 25, 2021
Yglesias added that, essentially, the statements that Cotton made in relation to the Chinese bio-attack turned into a “fake claim.”
Then, fact-checker Glenn Kessler mocked Sen. Ted Cruz in public. Kessler said that the lab leak theory that Republicans espouse is “virtually impossible.” On Tuesday, a new timeline published by Kessler documented how the lab leak theory “suddenly” become credible.
Among the prominent people who believe that the COVID-19 originated from a lab in China are as follows: former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former President Trump.