"How the Liberal Media Dismissed the Lab-Leak Theory and Smeared Its Supporters"

An article by Jonathan Chait (formerly of The New Republic and The American Prospect) in New York magazine.


The opening:

When Nicholson Baker wrote a cover story for New York laying out the evidence that COVID-19 may have originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, the hypothesis was still highly controversial. In the months that have followed, and especially over the last week, it's gained more and more credibility. A week ago, 18 prominent scientists signed a letter published in Science calling for an open investigation into the virus's origins. This weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. intelligence believes three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 to require hospitalization, lending even more credence to the possibility of a lab leak.

The hypothesis is far from proven. But this account of the virus's origins is highly plausible, and at least as well-grounded as the original story of an infection that naturally leapt from a bat to a person.

This development would come as a shock to anybody who had been following this question in the news, especially its more left-leaning precincts. Many mainstream journalists, though not all, dismissed the lab-leak hypothesis out of hand as a conspiracy theory. In part, they were deceived by some especially voluble public-health experts. In part, they simply took Donald Trump's bait, answering the former president's dissembling with false certainty of their own….

And the closing:

It is true that most of these outlets were more faithful to the truth than Trump, whose gusher of lies vastly exceeded whatever false claims trickled out of the liberal media. But Trump is not the right standard for journalists. And those who chose to follow the ethos of moral clarity, at the expense of objectivity, misled their audiences.

Read the whole story for more details.

NEXT: Labeling Video Filed in Court "Confidential" Doesn't Make It So

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  1. News media distorts reporting for political purposes. Film at 11.

    1. Wrong! Science is divine truth. Like Moses descending from Mount Sinai, science comes from our betters fixed in stone and is only intelligible with the aid of the free, mainstream press.

      1. Payback would be to end the abomination of NY Times v Sullivan. Make any violation of the journalism Code of Ethics negligence per se and open the floodgates of litigation to shut down these Commie agents and traitors. We are sick of their lawyer dealt immunity, of their billionaire funded treason.

    2. The media are all hate speech propaganda outlets for their billionaire owners. They all have the credibility of th ed David Duke website. Duke is fiiled with hate, but honest. He is not violating a journalism Code of Ethics.

      They hyped a cold virus to induce a lockdown. That weakened us. They promoted the interests of the Chinese Commie Party to kowtow and gain access to its market. It got rid of Trump achievements. It enriched them by $1.7 trillion.

      Their cleverness and success infuriates me. But I have the law. Seize their assets in civil forfeiture for the billions of federal crimes committed on their platforms, a nd for the millions committed by them. Auction them like the Ferrari of a drug dealer.

      Trump was weak and played by these agents of the Chinese Commie Party. Once he is re-elected, I mandamus the DOJ.

      1. "They hyped a cold virus to induce a lockdown. That weakened us. They promoted the interests of the Chinese Commie Party to kowtow and gain access to its market."

        Please Behar, take your meds. A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

        1. Donnie. Not a lawyer. Have a blessed day.

          1. Donnie. The majority of the excess deaths of 2020 were from untreated heart disease and cancer, as they shut down outpatient health services. Not just a mass murder of poor people by starvation, but also mass murder of our own by untreated diseases.

            Those Democrat partisans need to be rounded up, tried, and executed for their crime against humanity.

        2. Don, it's even worse than he thinks it is -- they were doing "gain of function" research -- and Fauci was funding it -- and the CIA knew this....

          Rand Paul is pursuing this and has the paper trail of the funding.

          1. And what the ChiComs don't realize is how much of a backlash there will be to all of this. If Fauci goes down, a lot of people are going to go with him.

            1. Including, it appears, B. Hussein Obama....

  2. Kevin Drum has a somewhat more innocent take:

    Are you wondering why the "accidental lab release" theory of the coronavirus has been getting more attention lately? It's not because there's more evidence in its favor. Just the opposite: It's because the evidence of a zoonotic origin has been getting harder and harder to sustain.

    As you may recall, the initial theory for the origin of the coronavirus had to do with transmission via wet markets in Wuhan. That theory was abandoned pretty quickly when it turned out that several of the very first victims had no connection to the wet markets.

    The work after that centered on bats, which are huge reservoirs of coronaviruses. However, since there are no bat viruses that are good candidates to be a SARS-CoV-2 precursor, scientists began searching for intermediate hosts. You probably remember this. Palm civits were candidates at first. Raccoon dogs were on the list. Or pangolins. Or minks. Or ferrets.

    For various reasons, all of these intermediate hosts had problems that made them unlikely candidates. At first this wasn't a big issue: it was early days and the search continued.

    But eventually days turned into months and then into more than a year. And still no likely intermediate hosts had been identified. We're now at a point where it's been nearly a year and a half and we still have no good theory of zoonotic origin.

    That doesn't mean the lab release theory is correct. It just means that it's a natural theory to get more attention as the zoonotic origin theory becomes more and more difficult to find evidence for.

    I will point out that scientific consensus remains very much against any kind of human-designed aspect to the virus. That protein spike is too badass to not be nature.

    1. >"I will point out that scientific consensus remains very much against any kind of human-designed aspect to the virus. That protein spike is too badass to not be nature"
      Not even remotely true. The "consensus" is based on laughable research directly funded by the CCP and propped up by American bureaucrats who were funding gain of function research in Wuhan. Most of the experts agree that there is no compelling evidence the virus isn't man-made or was at least altered. Circumstantially, you don't find it odd that the virus happened to come from a "wet market" only 900 feet from a virology lab doing gain of function research? Lol.

      Another coincidence you're missing is that these "innocent" mistakes or overreactions by corporate media always seem to go in the same direction. Are you naive enough to believe that's a coincidence too?

      1. Where are you getting your sources for any of this?

        The Chinese funded research being the bases for the current consensus,
        Most experts agree there's no evidence it wasn't man-made seems an unfalsifiable thesis.

        Circumstantially, you don’t find it odd that the virus happened to come from a “wet market” only 900 feet from a virology lab doing gain of function research? Lol.
        Read what I posted - it didn't come from a wet market. And coincidences don't make for proof.

        these “innocent” mistakes or overreactions by corporate media always seem to go in the same direction.
        Read what I posted - none of it is about the media, which accurately reported the science as it progressed.

        1. What is "gain of function" research in viruses?
          Did the laboratory at Wuhan do "gain of function" research with Corona Viruses?
          Will you continue to defend the Chinese?

          1. Gain of function research in viruses is changing something in a virus, and seeing how it's behavior changes.

            It has nothing to do with engineering viruses to be more effective against humans.

            I'm not defending the Chinese, I'm standing for requiring evidence before jumping to conclusions, and for the fact that the media reported the science without bias.

            You once again don't seem to care much about requiring proof for the nonsense you believe.

            1. "Gain of function research in viruses is changing something in a virus, and seeing how it’s behavior changes.

              It has nothing to do with engineering viruses to be more effective against humans."


              "gain-of-function (GOF) research involves experimentation that aims or is expected to (and/or, perhaps, actually does) increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens. Such research, when conducted by responsible scientists, usually aims to improve understanding of disease causing agents, their interaction with human hosts, and/or their potential to cause pandemics."

              I'm not sure how you are parsing this. GoF research, as far a human pathogens goes, is taking a pathogen that weakly infects humans and passing it through generations of human analogue lab animals with the intent of getting to study what a worst case pandemic might look like. It's not 'engineering' in the sense of inserting gene sequences, it's using natural selection to breed more virulent pathogens. More virulent against humans, in this case.

              With the obvious risk that if the highly virulent human pathogen you have developed leaks from the lab ... you have a problem.

              Source for the quote

              1. Changes in behavior include, among many other things, transmissibility.

                It's a basic research technique to isolate individual genetic variables and see what each does in the absence of the usual biological chaos.

            2. What happens if you take a virus, and run it through repeated gain of function research in mice you've genetically altered to express the human ACE2 receptors....and perhaps further humanized their lung tissue.?

              Gosh, that looks like artificially forced evolution....targeting the human ACE2 receptors.

              1. A lot of COVID's harm is caused by the immune response, which is something you don't get in cell culture or GMO mice. Discovering the lethality requires human trials on a range of subjects, to learn that this novel virus happens to hit old people hard even though some novel flu strains cause immune overreaction in young people.

                1. The immune overresponse (The cytokine storm) tends to be native to coronaviruses...specificially the SARS-type viruses. A lot of the earlier research pointed this out. (i.e. doi: 10.1002/jmv.20255.)

                  The gain of function research here presumably increased the relative infectiousness of COVID compared to the earlier SARS-type viruses.

              2. It's fundamental virology research.

                It is very far from creating a bioweapon.

                1. And the Goalposts move again...

                  Originally "I will point out that scientific consensus remains very much against any kind of human-designed aspect to the virus. "

                  Me "What happens if you take a virus, and run it through repeated gain of function research in mice you’ve genetically altered to express the human ACE2 receptor"

                  Now Sacastro moves to ... "It is very far from creating a bioweapon."

    2. There's a difference between positing a lab leak, of a virus which appeared near a lab specializing in said virus, and insisting it was deliberate release. Whether it was man-made or not is a secondary concern.

      I would hope that China wouldn't intentionally release a virus on their population, but I wouldn't put it past them. But, allowing sick people to leave the country while locking down internally reeks of bad actor.

      1. A lab studying bat coronaviruses gets built in an area full of bats that have coronaviruses.

        This is why I never thought that coincidence alone was insufficient to make the zoonotic hypothesis less likely.

        But the science is swinging the other way.

        Proving intentional release will likely require something beyond science; but maybe not - sometimes researchers find a smoking gun. I'm not holding be breath though.

        1. I doubt release was intentional. Cover up and not shutting down borders was...

        2. I wish I could be more certain the Chinese wouldn't release the virus in their own population. What is China's biggest internal challenge? A rapidly aging population and not enough births. Now you have a virus that kills mainly the old and already sick and leaves children mostly unscathed.

          I personally think the most likely answer is an unintentional lab leak.

          But any dismissal of The possibility on an intentional atrocity with "Oh no, they would never do that”. Relying of the moral scruples of a regime that puts millions of its citizens in camps because they are the wrong ethnicity or religion is absurd.

          1. GIven their long history of indifference to human life - atheist commies should never get benefit of the doubt.

          2. In WWII, China destroyed a dam, killing hundreds of thousand of their own citizens and making just as many homeless, all to stop the Japanese from getting across some strategic river...they are currently genociding the Tibetans and the Uigers.

            I think they would have very little problems with releasing a virus on purpose.

            As the Overton Window shifts on this issue from "bat" to "lab with bats accidental release" to "lab with bats doing change of function research with possible purposeful release" it's amusing to see the gaslighting that the media is engaged in, when they called anyone who said it came from a lab a nutcase. Anyone saying it was purposeful in its release is just one step ahead of the curve at this point.

          3. I'm not certain of anything; I don't see any evidence China did that, and so I'm not going to push that story.

        3. "A lab studying bat coronaviruses gets built in an area full of bats that have coronaviruses"

          Counterpoint: "The two closest known relatives of the SARS2 virus were collected from bats living in caves in Yunnan, a province of southern China. If the SARS2 virus had first infected people living around the Yunnan caves, that would strongly support the idea that the virus had spilled over to people naturally. But this isn’t what happened. The pandemic broke out 1,500 kilometers away, in Wuhan."

          (The whole article is worth reading)

          1. My impression is that the mutations in the batcoronavirus found in Yunnan required at least two significant mutations. One of these could easily have happened in Yunnan. The other seems highly likely to have required a jump to a dense population of pangolins.

            Moreover we do not know the stage of the first zoonotic transmission to humans and how much of the optimization of the receptor binding mechanisms actually occurred in human hots before the disease was recognized in humans.
            We do know that a new virulent respiratory disease was found in Wuhan, and that the information was suppressed by Chinese officials even to the point of changing hospital reports.

            1. Really, nobody has considered the possibility that the pangolins did it deliberately. Sure, they look cute, but they're treacherous.

        4. So Sarcastr0, how do you explain "allowing sick people to leave the country while locking down internally"?

          That actually happened, correct?

          1. The fact that China sucks generally and specifically with how they dealt with COVID is true. (Though I have a hard time believing something with this virulence could have been contained; their stubborn lack of communicativeness is pretty bad for world health regardless)

            And also not anything to do with the topic at hand.

            1. " I have a hard time believing something with this virulence could have been contained"

              Soooo...so infectious it would have been hard to keep it from leaking if you were doing GOF research in a BSL-2 lab? Hmmmm.....

              1. Are you honestly equating laboratory containment protocol with an attempt at a national quarantine of a virus with a long asymptomatic contagious period?

                Absaroka, you're smarter than that.

                1. I always find your cryptic insults highly persuasive.

              2. "so infectious it would have been hard to keep it from leaking if you were doing GOF research in a BSL-2 lab? "
                That really depends on the safety culture among the workers in that lab. I have certainly seen reports that that safety culture was lax in Wuhan. So it may have been very possible.

          2. That did happen and the evidence from health authorities Italy and France indicate that the virus was present in both countries by late November 2019.
            The Chinese were at best grossly negligent.

            1. See...that is what I was getting at with Sarcastr0. The CCP made some decisions (i.e. allowing sick people out all over the world) that do have an element of intentionality. The worldwide propaganda effort in 2020 also speaks to the same intentionality.

        5. I don't really think there's any evidence of intentionality. However, China is known for ludicrously lax safety procedures and a devastating save-face culture upon catching anything. This is how factories can go for decades without a reportable safety incident but have multiple fatalities in the same time span. Time

          1. I think -- considering how half-assed (cha bu duo 差不多) CCP Chinese can be in doing things -- that it is possible that some of the lab specimens, rather then being destroyed, were sold to the wet market.

          2. Isn't it a US accredited lab subject to US standards and inspections?

        6. Sarcastro : A lab studying bat coronaviruses gets built in an area full of bats that have coronaviruses.

          Hmm. IIRC the coronoravirus-batty zone in China is in the area of Wuhan, in the same sense that Denver is in the area of Los Angeles. It's an area Jim, but not as we know it.

          Which makes it a good time to get our terms clear. "Lab leak" and "zoonotic origin" are not mutually exclusive. A batty virus collected from the wild in Yunnan and stored unaltered in a Wuhan lab can escape from that Wuhan lab just as well as a human-altered virus, manipulated by Wuhan bat virus nerds.

          And just as a natural virus can escape from a lab just as well as an engineered one, that which emerges from a lab can be deliberately released, just as well as escape accidentally.

          FWIW I think a deliberate release in this case is extremely unlikely, but immediately leaping to the conclusion that if it turns out to have been man made it must have leapt from a lab, inherent in the chosen expression "lab leak", is assuming facts not in evidence just as much as all the other assuming facts not in evidence that has been going on.

          1. True, but how would be be able to tell the difference between the two scenarios?

            1. I am not quite sure which "two scenarios" you wish to compare.

              (a) a purely zoonotic origin arising in the wild and never been near a lab and
              (b) a purely zoonotic origin arising in the wild, collected and carried to a lab, and accidentally released from there

              might perhaps be dstinguished by the initial trail of infection. In the case of (a) you might expect to find early human cases in batty areas or in areas in which intermediate animal hosts identified as having the virus live. In the case of (b) you might expect to find initial cases near a lab. And you would expect to find records at the lab showing that the virus had been collected and taken to the lab. If you were allowed to look at the lab records.

              If you are distinguishing

              (c) accidental lab leak of an entirely natural unengineered virus, and
              (d) accidental lab leak of an engineered virus

              then - lab engineering records aside - you might seek to analyse the genetic components of the virus and to seek animal hosts. As I understand it, it is the failure to find the latter that has shifted the Bayesian priors in this case. Though if Nicholas Ward is to be believed, initial priors may have been mis-set by a couple of people with conflicts of interest

              If you are distinguishing

              (e) lab leak of an engineered virus and
              (f) a deliberate leak of an engineered virus

              then obviously you'd like a peek at PLA files. Absent that your intelligence services might have intercepted some useful communications. And absent that you might analyse the pros and cons of deliberate release by China. IMHO the cons appear to be stronger than the pros, but I will concede that I do not find it easy to imagine myself atop the CCP, so my perspective here is fallible.

              1. I should add that in juggling possibilities it is perfectly reasonable to make inferences from the absence of evidence. Perhaps not conclusive inferences but at least prior adjusting ones.

                If there were records at the Wuhan lab convincingly showing that the Wuhan lab had never manipulated batty coronoviruses, then the evidence would have been made public, notwithstanding the fact that all governments hate even revealing what day of the week it is. And China in spades.

                In a case such as this, absence of evidence is evidence of the absence of exculpatory evidence, for the defendant controls whatever evidence there is.

            2. You would be able to tell by the first few patients, or if you identified the covid-19 virus in the labs inventory.

              Neither of which would be voluntarily disclosed by the CCP.

        7. "A lab studying bat coronaviruses gets built in an area full of bats that have coronaviruses."

          That is totally untrue. Hubei has no particular concentration of bats with Corona viruses. The big bat caves that they take samples from are mostly in Guangzhou and Guangxi about 1000km away.

          1. My understanding is that the reason there was some US collaboration with that lab versus keeping to US labs is their location near wild reservoirs.

            Maybe there are other better places to go, but Wuhan definitely has access to wild bat coronavirus sufferers.

            1. My undertanding was that the Wuhan researchers were in the habit of travelling to Yunnan to collect their bat specimens.

              I imagine that it is easier to assemble a collection of scientists and technically trained support staff in a large city than in the batty boonies. Though perhaps it might be wiser, from a safety point of view, to locate such facilities in remote locations. And in China, it may be easier to persuade folk to work where you want them to work than it is in the USA.

              1. The Yunnan mountain area is well known to be completely infested with bats and the best place to look for various species.

    3. It may be an old paper. But I strongly recommend that people read and try to digest: "The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2"
      NATURE MEDICINE | VOL 26 | APRIL 2020 | 450–455 | http://www.nature.com/naturemedicine.

      By April 20, the genetic structure of the virus was very well known, with every distinguishing feature also occurring in naturally evolving viruses.

      One might also look at the Insights Letter in Science, 14 MAY 2021 • VOL 372 ISSUE 6543

      1. Working link

        What do you think of the criticism of that from the Nicholas Wade post linked above?

        (snippet) "Unfortunately this was another case of poor science, in the sense defined above. True, some older methods of cutting and pasting viral genomes retain tell-tale signs of manipulation. But newer methods, called “no-see-um” or “seamless” approaches, leave no defining marks. Nor do other methods for manipulating viruses such as serial passage, the repeated transfer of viruses from one culture of cells to another. If a virus has been manipulated, whether with a seamless method or by serial passage, there is no way of knowing that this is the case. Dr. Andersen and his colleagues were assuring their readers of something they could not know." (and following paragraphs)

        1. Thank you for the link to the Wade opinion piece.

          I am highly skeptical of Wade's piece due to it reliance on both ad hominem innuendo about others with whom he has a difference of opinion and a grossly misleading characterization–misleading to the point of dishonesty– of the piece by Anderson et al. Those practices are shoddy journalism

          In fact Wade never actually presents a strong argument from cellular biology against the Anderson article. I would also note Wade's calling the Anderson paper an opinion piece is dishonest. The short article by Anderson was peer reviewed by multiple experts, unlike Wade's own paper and the paper has been highly cited.

          My bottom line is that Anderson et al. present plausible reasons to think that SARS=CoV-2 had natural origins, but that a full forensic investigation is urgent is as urged by Bloom et al. Insights Letter in Science, 14 MAY 2021 • VOL 372 ISSUE 6543

          Full disclosure:
          I cannot vouch for the degree of accuracy of the claims of the Anderson paper. Doing so is beyond my competence as a research scientist; my COVID related work is only epidemiological. What I can say is that the arguments are highly plausible and were at least generally convincing to the referees. The peer review process does not produce truth, but it does provide one some assurance that the topic has received seriously professional study and analysis. I see that every day in my work as editor-in-chief of two major scientific journals.

          1. "The short article by Anderson was peer reviewed by multiple experts,..."

            Is that typical for things published in the 'Correspondence' section, as that article was?

            1. In most journals it would be. In both of my journals, letters to the Editor are short submissions for less than a few pages. They are always peer reviewed. Even Book reports by editors are peer reviewed.

              Nature Medicine may peer review Correspondence. So I must retract my statement that Anderson et al was definitely peer -reviewed. We would have to inquire from the editor.

              But o go to substance, my chief skepticism about Ward response is that he does not identify any single aspect of the spike protein that is not found in naturally occurring viruses.

              Which takes us back to the need for thorough internationally conducted forensics. If the Chinese will not allow that then people would be justified in suspecting the worst.

              1. But o go to substance, my chief skepticism about Ward response is that he does not identify any single aspect of the spike protein that is not found in naturally occurring viruses.

                My, not even gifted, amateur reading of the Wade piece was that you would not necessarily expect to find non natural elements in an engineered virus. He mentions "newer methods" including "serial passage", which sounds a bit like accererated dog breeding. The elements are natural , but you end up with a pekingese rather than a wolf.

                One of the chaps Wade criticises seems to suggest that there is a very rich natural menu of items to play around with :


                So, as an expert, can you reassure us that mucking around with viruses in a lab can't be done without leaving a trace of non naturally occuring components - ie pigs with wooden legs ?

                Since Wade seems to be claiming that you can so do, then the place to knock him down is on this claim, rather than on a claim he doesn't make - that this virus has non natural components.

              2. "my chief skepticism about Ward response is that he does not identify any single aspect of the spike protein that is not found in naturally occurring viruses."

                In that context, isn't GoF a 'natural' process?

                There are a couple of theories floating around - one is that the virus was 'engineered' in the classic gene editing way by inserting genes (FWIW, that seems pretty unlikely to me). The other theory is that the Wuhan lab was doing GoF/serial passage/whatever you want to call it research on coronavirii in a BSL-2 lab (which it was) and were 'successful' at developing a more virulent/contagious strain, and that leaked out of the lab.

                Under the second theory, GoF is just fast natural selection, so I'm not sure there would be any telltale genetic evidence.

                1. August article from BioEssays that goes into a lot more detail.

            2. Interestingly, I could find very few comments on Anderson et al. despite more than 1300 citations.
              I have found only one that is very detailed. Despite being an editorial (an article written by the editors) in Environmental Chemistry Letters, it is a lengthy scientific paper, hardly an opinion piece. Those authors emphasis how little is definitely KNOWN.

              You may wish to look at the paper:
              Editorial: Published: 25 March 2021
              "Should we discount the laboratory origin of COVID-19?"
              Rossana Segreto, et al., Environmental Chemistry Letters (2021)

              Thank you for the civil nature of our discussion

    4. "That protein spike is too badass to not be nature."

      You do know about genetics and selective breeding, don't you?

  3. In the early stages of any event, it is entirely normal to speculate on the possible causes and / or sources. Whether covid came from bats 1,000 away for wuhan, or from the wuhan lab or actually came from a single individual in europe was not known at the time.

    The conspiracy was the speed in which it possibility that it was a leak from the wuhan lab was dismissed as a conspiracy because someone in the trump administration mentioned that they were exploring all possible sources is the actual conspiracy.

    Note that I am not making any suggestion as to where the source was.

    1. Trump was a lot more definitive than that, wasn't he? Seizing on the possibility in a way so cynically opportunistic it'd sicken a rat, and him with a core of supporters suckling on conspiracy theories.

      1. Really? Do you have a cite?

        I am aware he said just this week that he had very little doubt that covid came from a Chinese lab, but he was never that definite when he was President.

        His CDC director said in March “I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, escaped,”

        But I don't remember Trump going further than calling for a thorough investigation of the possibility when he was in office.

      2. What we do know is that batcoronaviruses have been studied in a number of BSL-2 labs and that there have been leakages from such labs.

        There is no compelling forensic evidence that is hat happened in Wuhan. There is even less evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was the product of human manipulation.

        There is also no evidence that the Central Committee of the CCP deliberately let the virus spread world wide because it thought that the virus could be confined in damage to China. However, were there such evidence it would never see light of day as the very disclosure would likely expose and shut off a highly sensitive source of intelligence.

        1. "There is no compelling forensic evidence"

          Question. If there WAS such evidence, would the Chinese government choose to let it out?

          ":However, were there such evidence it would never see light of day "

          I see....

          1. How is your question relevant to what's true?
            China's secrecy sucks. It's even arguably suspicious (though it seems more reflexive to me).

            But it doesn't prove anything.

          2. AL,
            I am speaking of any evidence in the hands of the US and its Allies.
            As for your "I see..."
            That betrays your ignorance of the world of intelligence gathering and the evaluation of what is actionable intelligence. I actually explained that but the explanation flew over your closed mind.

            1. It's the Catch-22, don't you see?

              If there was compelling forensic evidence, the Chinese would suppress it. So there can't be compelling forensic evidence.

              Now, our intelligence agencies can discover lots. But they can't do a full forensic investigation in China because...they don't have access to China. And China won't give them access. And there can be lots of surrounding evidence, but that won't be "sufficient" for many China supporters.

              1. Yeah, it sucks.

                But it doesn't mean you get to start writing fiction.

                1. Why do you continue to shill for China?

  4. "In part, they simply took Donald Trump's bait, answering the former president's dissembling with false certainty of their own…."

    I really don't think, "We assume DT is lying any time he opens his mouth, so we're excused for asserting the contrary to whatever he says, without evidence." actually works as a defense.

    1. Maybe not, but it does emphasise what a vector of corrosive moral rot he was and is.

      1. >Teacher, the orange man made me hit that kid!

        1. Nobody got hit, he just generates a conceptual gag reflex in anyone with half a shred of decency.

          1. As Democrats have no decency, complaint about the GOP version of Bill Clinton ring hollow.

            "The bad man made me lie!"

            1. Apart from Trump and Co, who lied? The worse that happened is that Trump's version of the theory got dismissed because it's Trump, and if you believe anything he says your're a fool or a cynic, and more sensible versions of the theory got lost in the shuffle.

              1. If you disbelieve things just because he says them, you're a bigger fool. He's not the Cretan of Epimenides paradox, he's a human, who speaks the truth at least as often as he lies.

                1. If you think I'm saying that if he says something then it cannot be true then you are a fool. Obviously he will the truth to suit himself as easily as he tells lies. It's just that he doesn't place any particular value on one over the other. In fact, when you have a following like he does, lies are better.

                  1. You may want to coordinate with your fellow leftists:


                    Ya'll BLINDLY took the opposite of whatever Trump said and mindlessly took opposition to the man as holy writ.

                    Yeah ... NO revisionist history. Your be-clowned yourselves, but hey -- you cheated and won. Enjoy!

                    1. Yeah, not everyone who disagrees with you is a hive mind. I know you wish Nige were as dumb as this dumb thing you dug up on the daily wire, but he's not.

                    2. You are kidding me, right Retardo?

                      A pro-gay marriage, supporter of transexuals using any bathroom they want became the MOST EVIL MAN EVER because he liked America and beat Hillary?

                      Y'all NUTS.

                    3. MOST EVIL MAN EVER

                      Still George W Bush, actually, in the context of 21st century US presidents.

                    4. I do wish the media had not let Trump, or their reaction to him, influence or distort coverage so much, but it's a bit rich now to hear you guys complaining about it, given that 'arch media manipulator' was one of his selling points.

                2. he’s a human, who speaks the truth at least as often as he lies.

                  He's a sociopath, who lies purely for fun, even when there's nothing material to gain from doing so.

            2. Um. No evidence Trump was using 20 year old interns as humidors.

              1. Would you care if there was?

      2. "It's Trump's fault! We were forced to stoop down to the level of the caricature that we made of him!"

        1. Buck stops with him.

          1. Definitely no blame for the people who spent every waking moment vilifying him, misquoting him, presenting misleading context... Yeah, go Team Blue.

            1. Lots of blame for the moral voids who defend him.

              1. Lots of blame for the moral voids who defend him.

                Nobody on Team Blue was defending him. But, if you ask Artie, maybe he will come fill your voids for you.

                1. No? You're gonna scrape him off your shoes like dog shit, the way you did W Bush?

                  1. Why, are you hungry?

                    1. You go ahead, I ate earlier.

      3. All it emphasizes is what a vector of corrosive moral rot hatred of him was and is. Nothing new about that, hatred universally rots morals regardless of its subject. But it's the hatred doing the work, not the subject.

        Hatred denies that, of course.

        1. 'Hatred denies that, of course,' Brett denied.

      4. Just another Angry Lefty utterly incapable of posting without somehow referencing Trump. Let me guess, you have a "Hate Has No Home Here" sign in the yard but you spent the last 5 years spewing hate in front of the children?

        "Lefty, angry when they don't get their way, even angrier when they do."

        1. Let me guess, you're five foot six, have a small mole on your left cheek, walk with a pronounced limp and left the Légion étrangère under a cloud.

      5. So what.
        T-- was an asshole; the CCP was likely criminal.
        The question at hand was China's failure to inform the world immediately of a strangely virulent new respiratory disease

    2. Sure, that's not a defense. (Sarcast0's discussion above about the science actually moving is more of a defense.) But the fact that Trump lied continuously throughout his administration about definitely created an environment where the media was likely to consider his statements as self-serving and likely false as opposed to something that out to be taken seriously.

    3. A number of source have referred to a recent article by science writer Nicholas Wade. He attributes to two early sources much of “scientific certainty” referred to in the media that Covid-19 could not have come from the Wuhan lab. One was an article in the Lancet which said that scientists “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife,” and that “We sign this statement in solidarity with all scientists and health professionals in China who continue to save lives and protect global health during the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak. …We invite others to join us in supporting the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of Wuhan and across China. Stand with our colleagues on the frontline! … Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration.” However it turned out later that the letter had been had been organized and drafted by Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance of New York, which funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and would be potential culpable if the virus escaped from there, not to mention the restrictions that would result in Daszak’s field of research if these allegations were shown to be true. The article said “We declare no competing interests.”

      The other scientific source was a letter published in the journal Nature Medicine, in which five virologists declared: “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” However, that was apparently bad science since there are methods of manipulating viruses that leave no defining marks.

      It seems clear that Trump’s support of it was responsible for the knee-jerk opposition to the lab-leak hypothesis, but it also seems clear that positions said to be a scientific certainty need some examination by people who are not looking for evidence to support their preconceptions.

  5. There is a lot more than it merely escaping from the lab, starting with what the lab was doing and possibly even why.

    1. "starting with what the lab was doing"
      The lab was doing what several labs world wide were doing with bat and pangolin viruses.

      1. "lab was doing what several labs world wide were doing"

        starting a world wide pandemic?

        1. No, buster. Studying batcoronaviruses in BSL-2 research facilities.
          Try finding facts and thinking them through before you write a meaningless snark that implies a lie.

  6. When it seemed unlikely, people treated it as unlikely, unless they were racist disinfo-mongering liars. When it became more likely, people began to treat it as more likely. You'll want to distinguish people treating it as possible from the people who talk about a deliberately released bioweapon and not conflate responses to the two if you're going to be honest about whether the 'liberal' media smeared anyone. It's a bit disingenuous to act as if a gusher of lies with as much support and prominence as Trump did not warp even the most honest of coverage of an opaque, ever-shifting and confusing situation.

    1. "When it seemed unlikely, people treated it as unlikely, unless they were racist disinfo-mongering liars."

      When did it seem unlikely? There was a lab there we knew was working in coronaviruses nearby in Wuhan. The fact that work there was dismissed as a possibility because the lab heads denied it seemed off from the start. And we know China engaged in a massive coverup.

      And sure, some of this is motivated by anti-Asian animus. But on the flip side, just stop it with this any criticism of China or any Asian country is racist. It has basically been Chinese upfront propaganda to tie every single critique of the country into a racial question ... and I don't know why everyone seems to have fallen for it!

      I'm Indian American, I don't go around castigating people for admittedly ignorant critiques of the Modi government! People are allowed to have views of foreign countries that have nothing to do with people or descendants of people from there! And to the extent there is a connection, it is because countries like China deliberately instigate it to obscure criticism.

      1. Lots of people were sure it was caught in the wild at the time as the obvious explanation. Most of them probably still do. There's only ructions about it because Trump and his supporters fixated on the possibility and turned it into the usual zero-sum culture war idiocy.

        1. Sure. Or, maybe not.

        2. How could anyone be sure it was wild? Based on what?

          1. The only way to determine its wild if you can identify an intermediate host.

            The suspected intermediate host at the time was bats, so that is an argument in favor of the wild theory a year ago. But that is far from certainty ... and you tried to claim the intermediate host might be a bat from say a wet market you would get, hey your accusing Chinese people of eating bats that's racist!

            Its rather frustrating how ridiculous all this is.

            1. The 'Chinese are disease-ridden gross people who eat filthy food from wet markets' was the racist bit, not that they eat bats.

              1. "disease-ridden gross people"

                Nice strawman. No mainstream person said anything like that.

                1. Did I say a mainstream person said that? I said that the pushback about wet markets had to do with the more racist narrative I laid out than just the existence of bat eating.

                  1. Oh, so you just imagined all the racism. Good work.

                  2. "Did I..."

                    Wow. That's a really nice strawman.

          2. Why wouldn't they? They had no particular reason to think otherwise.

            1. Thats hardly evidence. No intermediate host was identified. The wet market theory was possible ... but China ruled it out!

              Again, just because you thought it was that doesn't mean everyone who disagreed was ill informed and racist.

              Some people looked into the evidence and came out differently. Why is that so hard to believe?

              It's the same nonsense as, oh, sure, the Ptolmy model of the solar system is incorrect, but no one had any reason not to believe it so everyone who didn't is obviously a heretic. Same reasoning. Its dumb.

              1. I really don't think you have the narrative right in your head. China is not the one that ruled out a wet market as the origin.

                China isn't releasing data; they're not in the position to rule anything out.

                1. Ok, well, in that case no one knows anything, so the automatic assumption of bad faith among dissenting viewpoints seems ... kind dumb? Expecially a year ago?

                  Which is sort of what this is about right? Naturally saying "liberal media" inflames things but they did kinda dismiss possible explanations we now are more confident is correct t.

                  1. I don't think that's true - they dismissed the scientifically less likely origin while it was less likely.

                    They reported the science.

        3. "only ructions about it because Trump and his supporters fixated on the possibility "
          Nonsense. The present European animus toward the CCP and its criminal behavior or criminal negligence had nothing to do with the Orange Clawn

          1. Criticism of how the CCP handled the outbreak is well-founded and justified, ranting about biowarfare absent any evidence whatsoever is not.

      2. "some of this is motivated by anti-Asian animus."
        That happens when one nation sets itself up as your own country's chief antagonist.

    2. "When it seemed unlikely, people treated it as unlikely, unless they were racist disinfo-mongering liars. When it became more likely, people began to treat it as more likely. "

      Sure, if you define what "seems likely" or not as "whatever the liberal propaganda media headlines told me to think."

      Meanwhile back in reality, absolutely nothing has changed with respect to the facts and the evidence. Zilch. The director of the CDC said long, long ago that a lab leak was most likely. Oooo, science. But you know, there's science and then there's "science."

      1. "absolutely nothing has changed with respect to the facts and the evidence"

        In fairness, the longer you go without discovering a close wild cousin, the more likely it becomes that there was some not-in-the-wild evolution going on.

        1. Fair. Virtually nothing has changed, no new revelations, etc.

  7. Sorry, but anyone who talks about the "liberal media" has immediately lost credibility. The idea that the media, which spent most of 2016 trashing Hillary Clinton, is liberal, is hysterically funny.

    1. Imagine being this delusional... or not. 50 cents has been deposited into your Actblue account

    2. Same media regularly trashes the left and never engages with them in good faith. Straight out of the neoliberal playbook.

    3. Its hysterically funny that someone can actually say that the media "spent most of 2016 trashing Hillary Clinton"

      1. Who do you think broke and reported incessantly on the Hillary email stories? Hint: it rhymes with New York Dimes.

    4. You lost all credibility by exposing us to your echo chamber world.

    5. Congrats - dumbest post on Reason today!

    6. "which spent most of 2016 trashing Hillary Clinton"

      Because they knew she was a loser.

      That's the simplest explanation. Occam's razor. Works every time.

      1. Well, I've got Bored Lawyer acknowledging that they trashed Hillary Clinton, and Bob from Ohio telling me that it's funny that someone would claim the media trashed Hillary Clinton. I see you guys can't even get your story straight among yourselves.

        The tired trope of a liberal media is nonsense. Spend five minutes on google under the search "negative Hillary Clinton coverage 2016". You'll find plenty.

        The idea of painting the media as liberal actually goes back to the 1968 Nixon campaign. He got the bright idea that if he could convince the public that the media is liberal, then whenever he got negative publicity he could just say "there goes the liberal media again." This is well documented; you can find that on google with no difficulty too.

        So, you guys want to believe the media is liberal, knock yourselves out. It's a step above believing in pink unicorns -- or that the 2020 election was stolen -- but not by much.

        1. " I see you guys can’t even get your story straight among yourselves."

          Wow, independent thought. What a concept!

          1. They either did, or did not, give Hillary a free pass. It's a question of fact.

            1. Well you said trashing Hillary, I know a lot of Democrats were apoplectic they dared to actually do any reporting on Hillary, like say her email server scandal, but that was all factual.

              I wouldn't call factual reporting trashing.

              They did trash Trump during the campaign and his first 2 years in office hyperventilating over false allegations. I think that is a more accurate definition of trashing: ginning up a fake scandal using false accusations submitted by agents paid by political operatives with no independently verified facts.

        2. “negative Hillary Clinton coverage 2016”

          11,500,000 results

          "negative Donald Trump coverage 2016"

          32,800,000 results

          1. That they also beat up on Trump doesn't mean they gave Hillary a free pass. Especially if you're finding 11 million hits on negative Hillary coverage.

            1. A lot of bias is about the COMPARATIVE coverage.

              If the media issues 95 times the negative stories for Trump in June and July, compared to Biden, that doesn't mean there weren't ANY negative stories about Biden. But it does mean there was bias.

              If there are 3 times as many negative stories about Trump compared to Hillary, then there's still bias.

              During the key leadup to the election 2016, Trump had up to 94% negative coverage in the media. Hillary was typically only at ~65% negative, and even had overall positive coverage at one point late in the election cycle.

              The best evidence though, is that Trump had fairy neutral...even positive coverage...until he won the GOP nomination. Then the media swung very negative on him, quite quickly. They stayed at about the same level of positive-negative coverage on Hillary the entire election.

              1. "Trump had fairy neutral…even positive coverage…until he won the GOP nomination. "

                Revisionism. Media called him racist after his announcement, it never got better.

                1. Well, when he announced, there were, naturally, descriptions of him which included his racism. Dowplayed it, if anything.

              2. Not necessarily. There can be one big story that skews the curve.

                That aside, ask yourself this: If you were the media, and you wanted Hillary Clinton to win, what would you have done? And the answer is: Pretty much the exact opposite of what the media did in 2016. You might run an occasional negative story so you appeared to be fair and unbiased. But that's not what happened.

                For the entire month of September, the media refused to talk about anything except her emails. She'd try to talk about policy; they would make it all about emails. Then, when the Comey letter came out, the media turned into a mob. I remember one particularly vile interview in which Jake Tapper, in a prosecutorial tone, asked John Podesta, "Don't you agree that this is all Hillary's fault?" Which, in addition to being a stupid question, pretty much summed up how it was being reported.

                Hillary Clinton had her faults, but not like the press made out. The charitable explanation is that they expected her to win so they gave her a hard time. The idea that the Democratic Party had the MSM in its pocket is just ludicrous.

                1. To their credit they weren't completely in the tank for Hillary.

                  But most of the coverage was her own fault, deny deny deny is not a good strategy when you are abusing your power to try to get away with violating the law while putting national security at risk.

                2. " You might run an occasional negative story so you appeared to be fair and unbiased."

                  That's what they did in 2016. They "Mostly" tried to appear fair, by reporting the news they saw on Clinton. But they were overwhelmingly more negative on Trump. Let's take your point about September for a second.

                  In September 2016, Hillary had 59%, 79%, 79%, and 63% of the stories be negative about her (by week). It was a bad month, her worst.

                  In the same month (September 2016), Trump had 68%, 79%, 76% and 77% of stories be negative about him. So in Hillary's WORST month, Trump was actually worse overall, and Hillary only had one week worse than Trump's.

                  In the next 4 weeks (October 2016), Hillary was 47%, 60%, 67%, and 52% negative. By contrast Trump was 83%, 87%, 94% and 91% negative. THAT'S a bad month. And a sign of the media bias.

                  Now, the media learned of course. They didn't help enough in 2016. They were "only" maybe ~2 times more negative against Trump. So they completely went in the tank in 2020. In the summer of 2020, the evening news had 150 times more negative news items about Trump, when compared to Biden. ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY times more.


                  1. All these percentages make assumptions about whether the accurate or justified. I mean, there's massive negative coverage about e-mail, and massive negative coverage of boasting about moving on women like a bitch.

              3. If the media issues 95 times the negative stories for Trump in June and July, compared to Biden, that doesn’t mean there weren’t ANY negative stories about Biden. But it does mean there was bias.

                If there are 3 times as many negative stories about Trump compared to Hillary, then there’s still bias.

                If there are 95 (or 3) times as many negative stories about Osama Bin Laden as there are about George Bush, does that mean that there's bias against OBL? Or that OBL was 95 (or 3) times worse?

          2. In fariness, he deserved even more negative coverage than that.

            1. I think it actually helped him, it was so incessant and over the top it made it easier to tune out.

              1. Or what most people perceived as negative was perceived by Republicans as positive. Which makes going back and complaining about it being negative fairly duplicitous.

          3. Give the Hilary crap a rest.
            It is water over the damn, long gone into the ocean

    7. Are we still doing this I disagree with the word choice type of argument?

      Guess you have nothing to say about substance.

    8. The media would never have trashed Hillary Clinton if they had thought that Trump had any chance of being elected.

      1. When you need telepathy and a counterfactual to provide evidence you're right, you're not really operating in a realm of reality.

        1. The counterfactual is Biden.

    9. But, who cares about Hilary expect for wingnuts?

      1. You could say the same about Trump...

  8. Idk, one one hand I recognize that this sort of plays out again and again throughout history ... see Galileo or quantum theory or whatever ... the consensus goes around a particular subject and then people who dissent are persecuted ... until they end up being right. (Yes, this is basically what Kuhn said, and I pretty much agree with him word for word. If course he is the first people I read on this.)

    In fact, I can think of a few technical areas in my expertise where the "expert consensus" is so obviously wrong but no one bothers to say anything because people can get defensive. Won't necessarily mention them in case someone here shares my expertise.

    The issue I suppose now is that social media makes it so much easier to form these hivemind consensuses without proof and makes this whole dynamic much faster and more visceral, because everyone is an information addict. Which is problematic but ... see this is why I usually stay off social media focus on actually doing productive work.

    Unfortunately it also seems that policy is now being made on social media instead of the actually scientific process. So ... idk. Society is all messed up today.

  9. People have been mixing up two scenarios. The evil China scenario says an engineered biowarfare weapon escaped its creators. This one is very unlikely. The stupid China scenario says they were doing experiments with a wild-caught virus and it escaped the lab. This is plausible. Not far from me some university workers caught tularemia while doing research on it. Luckily it does not jump human to human as easily as the SARS family.

    But the zoonotic route is also plausible, given that it is known to happen regularly, and I still consider it the hypothesis to disprove.

    1. Sorry, but I don't believe that the Chinese *aren't* working on bioweapons...

      1. Okay, don't believe it. Maybe you're right; maybe you're wrong. We don't know.

        But that's utterly irrelevant to John Carr's observation that there's a difference between evil human-engineered virus let loose on the world and natural virus brought to lab, but accidentally escapes due to poor handling procedures.

      2. So what Ed.
        The question is not whether they are working on bio-weapons BUT whether SARS-CoV-2 was a bio-weapon. They is not sound evidence for that hypthesis

    2. If the zoonotic route is possible, then we'll have to vaccinate all animals too before we can reach herd immunity against COVID. (Can I get a commission, Pfizer?)

      1. "If the zoonotic route is possible, then we’ll have to vaccinate all animals too before we can reach herd immunity"
        You don't understand zoonotic transmission or herd resistance

        1. The virus can migrate in both directions ... from animals to humans but also from humans to animals.

          1. So, herd immunity means this: suppose we have a disease where each infected person, on the average, infects 2 other people.

            In a population where no one has immunity, the first infected person infects two more, who then infect four, who then infect eight, and so on. The epidemic runs wild.

            Now imagine a population where half the people are immune. That first person exposes two people to the germ, but on the average one is immune, so only one new person gets it, who in turn, on the average only infects one new person, and so on. You don't get a runaway epidemic.

            Now consider a population where 90% of the population is immune. Most of the time, both of the people the first case exposes to the germ will be immune, and the epidemic will be stillborn. Occasionally, he might expose one of the 10% who aren't immune and they will get sick, but their passing it on faces the same math where they will most likely only expose other immune people. The epidemic will inexorably flicker out before it gets going.

            So, once the human population reaches herd immunity, the virus can be occasionally - even frequently - introduced from, say, an animal source, and you still won't have an epidemic. Depending on the disease, it might be bad for the exposed person, as is getting bit by a snake, but as with snake bites, you can't have a runaway epidemic.

    3. "evil China"

      The CCP is evil. It is not impossible that it has a bio weapons program. In fact its likely.

      So why is it unlikely that a weapon in process was accidentally released?

      Its just as likely as any unproven theory.

      1. It's possible, even plausible. There just doesn't happen to be any evidence to support the bias-confirming certainty that blasted out from Trumpworld that it was a foregone conclusion.

        1. Nor was there any evidence to rule out the bias-confirming certainty that lab-leak hypotheses were crazy conspiracy theories that blasted through the MSM.

          1. There was plenty of evidence in the craziness of the conspiracy theories of the craziness of the conspiracy theories.

          2. We have conspiracists on this very comment thread saying all countervailing info is a CCP op and it was a lab-manufactured virus.

            Negative nationalism is a helluva drug.

            A lab leak was not the most likely possibility initially, nor was it the one amenable to scientific investigation.

            1. Right....

              Here's a major national lab that works in virology with coronaviruses...

              Whoops. A new novel coronavirus popped out in the same city.

        2. " bias-confirming certainty that blasted out from Trumpworld "

          Plenty of bias-confirming certainty that blasted out from mass media too that it was natural.

          1. Any media who reported it's a certainty the virus didn't escape a Wuhan lab -- I don't recall reading or hearing that, but I don't doubt it happened -- were wrong. At best sloppy, at worst biased.

            Any media who reported that Trump sycophants asserting categorically that the virus escaped a lab and/or was manufactured and deliberately released and/or was a China hoax created to make Trump look bad, were conspiratorial cultists and trolls -- I saw plenty of that -- were correct.

      2. Designing and testing a weaponized SARS variant is very hard. At some point you have to do a lot of testing on a lot of humans. When the sequence was released last year experts concluded it didn't look like a human-edited virus. I took their statements to mean, "If I wanted to make weaponized SARS it wouldn't come out looking like that." Not conclusive, but evidence.

        There are many other bacteria and contagious viruses that were much better understood when work on this weapon would have had to start. Why would they pick an obscure virus when there are so many better candidates?

        1. "At some point you have to do a lot of testing on a lot of humans."


          1. Cute, but you do know how clinical testing works, so don't play dumb.

      3. "Its just as likely as any unproven theory."
        If you looked at and understood the relevant cellular biology, you'd know that your claim is bogus.

        1. "looked at and understood the relevant cellular biology"

          Sniff, peasant doesn't understand the relevant cellular biology, sniff.

          1. Baseline reason you're wrong:

            Not all unproven theories are equally probable.

    4. There are more than one evil China scenarios. My favorite is that it got loose by accident, and once the Chinese government realized they were ground zero for a bad pandemic, they went out of their way to preserve relative status by making damned sure the world shared their misery.

      1. I think *if* given the choice of....
        1. We contain the virus to China and it primary just wrecks our ecomony and makes us look bad
        2. It escapes and wrecks all economies equally and makes all govts look bad.

        No doubt evil commies would choose 2.

      2. The assumption in this is that they could stop it once it was loose. If we've learned anything from a little over a year ago now, it's incredibly hard to stop this virus because of asymptomatic carriers and viral shedding before the onset of symptoms.

        So it's possible they realized they were ground zero for a bad pandemic, did what they could to stop it, but couldn't actually do it.

      3. We can play scenarios all day. But you need an evidentiary foundation to pick between them.

        1. The fact is that the CCP was very well prepared to put the clamps on all of Hubei province. They were very ready to build large field hospitals in record time, and they succeeded in limiting the damage to the chinese economy which still grew by 2%

          1. "which still grew by 2%"

            Sure it did. I bet you also believe its covid death numbers.

            1. I don't believe their death numbers. (Though the rest of Asia is doing remarkably well).

              We can validate how the Chinese economy is doing externally.

            2. Bob,
              On what basis do you doubt that number? Probably on the same basis that yo believe that the Orange Clown won the election.

              As for the covid infection numbers that is clearly a lie as there are 500,000 seropositive persons in Wuhan alone.

              1. "On what basis do you doubt that number?"

                Commies lie. They lie about their covid numbers by a 100 fold but are completely accurate about economics.

                1. Nationalists lie too. They lie about their covid numbers, describe it as a hoak, and also claim that smearing human feces on a wall and chanting about hanging the Vice President of the United States is totally a normal tourist thing to do in the Capital building.

              2. China was the only major economy to report growth in 2020.

                Every other major economy reported a decline. JUST China reported growth. When something bucks the trend lines like that, you look twice.

  10. Smearing others and posturing is more important to the news media (and Facebook and Twitter and Google and the other gate-keepers) than finding facts or learning or reporting. It’s been that way for at least a half decade now.

    The real question is why does anyone take these people seriously and rely on them for news? Of course right-of-center people don’t. Why would anyone? (Unless you are also infected with whatever mental/emotional problems are handicapping the news media. Then the answer is compromised judgement.)

  11. And there's a legal connection where? "Funny" that Dr. Gene has no comment on the Jan. 6 riot, but does feel the need to weigh in on this one.

  12. Once again, liberals are being asked to be the adults in the room here. It can't be Trump -- or indeed, almost anyone in the Republican Party. It can't be Fox News . . . so it must be . . .

    1. Nobody thinks liberals are adults in the room, but they sure turned on a dime when it suited them. Orwellian. Or maybe Machiavellian.

  13. Why the heck are you guys focused on what China did? WE paid for the gain of function research. We don't to ask CHINA where this came from, we surely already know.

    Our problem is we're letting the same people who funded the research INVESTIGATE the outbreak.

    This is on us. We're either to dumb or too compromised.

  14. Refusing to consider that this is a gain of function escape from a lab is the problem. We all know China has been doing gain of function work. There is no evidence to eliminate that cause. Like the Democrat propaganda operation(the media) did.

    This is like a women being murdered in her home, and the Husband is never considered as a suspect. Police the world wide, all know the spouse is always the most likely.

    We all know Communist China is the most likely

  15. Since this is a legal blog, let me ask the professors and lawyers a legal question. Assume for a moment, a thorough investigation is performed, free of interference. And the investigation finds that Covid-19 did in fact originate in Wuhan, China and Covid-19 was the result of a laboratory accident.

    Is China liable? To whom? How do you legally 'collect' if they are liable? What court even hears that case?

    1. Is China liable?


      Is the lab in China liable?

      Maybe. Depends on the Chinese legal system.

      China isn't one entity, its a very complicated assortment of different agencies vying for power. China has 3 times the population of the US. Some random American shooting someone doesn't automatically bring in the US government.

      And even if it did, soverign immunity.

      If a passenger jet from United Airlines crashes in some country, the US government has nothing to do with it.

      China doesn't directly control all of its labs. The local authories do. China does have a way of holding the local authorities accountable ... it makes them dissappear. Which they have, so thats settled.

      NAL, but your question is fairly underspecified. What exactly do you mean by China. The CCP? For doing ... what, exactly? They don't run the lab. Its under their jurisdiction but again, so what?

      1. "China doesn’t directly control all of its labs. The local authories do. "

        China is a one party centralized state. There are no independent local authorities, there are just CCP operatives who haven't got promoted yet.

        "They don’t run the lab."

        CCP runs everything in China.

        1. That simply is not true. It is a one party centralized state. That does not mean Xi Jinping runs the local supermarket. Local authorities do have wide latitude to make decisions ... pending approval from up top, but it usually gets it.

          There are many scholars who study this, I'm not one of them but they have written a great deal. It isn't like the old Soviet Union.

          It simply is not helpful to portray China as something it isn't. Authoritarianism and centralization are plenty bad without simply claiming China is one person. It isn't.

          1. "claiming China is one person"

            Who did that? Not me.

            "pending approval from up top"

            So what is it? Do the local authorities have "wide latitude" or do they need approval from higher authority?

            All these "local authorities" are CCP members with other CCP members running the local security forces, all subject to higher ranking CCP members all the way to Peking.

            1. You can have beaurcrats rubber stamp things.

              Part of what makes Xi Jinping so effective as a leader is that he delegates and basically rubber stamps the actions of his subordinates.

              This usually works until someone up top realizes, hey wait we accidently sent an armada to the Phillipines and then the higher authorizes interviene (that actually happened)

              1. Sorry, didn't realize you were related to Xi.

                "apologetics for the CCP" sums it up.

                1. Sigh.

                  Its not even agree to disagree because I agree that China is a threat ... but if you choose to remain ignorant as to the nature of the threat, thats on you. Have you actually spoken to anyone from there?

            2. If China was ran like the Soviet Union, it would have met the same fate. The CCP learned a lot of lessons from that. There are many different ways to be dictatorial.

              1. AC,
                "If China was ran like the Soviet Union, it would have met the same fate. "
                Absolutely not, China had a reservoir of hundreds of years of entrepreneurial experience on which to build a system of relative economic freedom under tight political control. That was a deep insight of Deng Shao Ping. Russia never that history in is slave/serf culture.

          2. That does not mean Xi Jinping runs the local supermarket. Local authorities do have wide latitude to make decisions

            "Run" is not the proper word. Power might fit better.

            Xi Jinping has the power to control the local supermarket. Yes locals can make decisions, but Xi has to power to overule it all.

      2. "Is China liable?
        Nonsense, China allowed international travel out of Hubei while it forbade travel from Hubei to the rest of china. It withheld knowledge of this virus for at least a month.

        I don't buy any of your apologetics for the CCP

        1. Since when did a basic acknowledgement that government structures are significantly more complicated than reported by Western media constitute "apologetics"? I'm under no illusions about the evil of these people ... but China is a country of 1.3 billion. Do you think such a country can be managed solely from the top down? It's impossible. Because that is not how they manage it. Centralized and top down aren't necessarily the same.

          1. "Do you think such a country can be managed solely from the top down?"
            Yes. China has centuries of practice.

            1. The Qin dynasty, which didn't last very long ... look man, I agree with you that China is our opponent and we should counter them, and that actions ought to be taken to do that.

              But if you choose to have your only source of information on how China actually works based on Western propaganda newspapers and not academics who study this for a living ... I don't know what to tell you.

              1. You had me until you said we should trust academics.

                1. Who do you trust?

        2. And this is part of my issue with this whole framework ... like you can't even sue the US as an entity. Soverign immunity applies. Even, expecially, if you are a US citizen! You have to choose the official responsible. Its not corporation. Maybe it should be, I dont know. But its not.

          The same applies to China. Its more centralized, sure, but that doesn't change the basic facts here. Who? Xi Jinping? Governor of Wuhan? Other local officials?

          1. Who said that you could sue? You or I cannot.
            That does not mean that the central administration is not criminal. Tell your story to your Uyghur friends

        3. Aladdin is right on this one. National negligence isn't a thing.

          However, if proven, it'd sure put a dent in their increasing diplomatic overtures for a while.

          1. National negligence....Ok, now that was funny. 🙂

            1. That seems to be what you're asking for.

    2. In international relations when all else fails the offended country delivers an ultimatum.

      1. The problem of "or else" is always the "else." It's one thing for guys sitting around the bar to boast how they'd bomb China or stop importing their stuff or whatever boasts they have. It's a whole other to put that into actual practice.

  16. As usual, Donald Trump was right, and the leftist propaganda news media were wrong.

    1. So the Coronavirus really is a hoax concocted to diminish his re-election chances and would quickly disappear after the November election?

      Someone should tell the hundreds of thousands of dead Amerians.

      1. You fell for another one of the lies.

    2. Er, it hasn't actually been proved. Not by a long shot.

  17. Nipping at ankles
    and lathering the clingers:
    The Conspiracy

    1. Wow, RAK. Have you anything of content to say about this, a substantive question? Or is your mind that vacuous?

      1. Observing that a right-wing polemicist is nipping at the ankles of journalists -- part of his selectively curated partisanship on the losing side of the culture war -- seems substantive.

        Or, just enjoy the poetry, which might be possible even for a sycophantic clinger.

        1. Arthur, keep working on those haikus. You have a future there. 🙂

  18. No no no, this was "debunked." Some of the room temperature IQ commenters here verified just a few days ago that this idea was debunked.

    Please, try and use Google before posting debunked garbage. Tyia.

  19. No proof of lab leak included in this article. Shame.

  20. I read this thread and I conclude the following:

    Right wingers believe that if a charge is sensational, then it deserves widespread news coverage. They further believe that if a sensational charge does not get immediate mainstream media coverage, then making the charge more sensational ought to make it more likely to win coverage. If that fails to work, you have evidence of news media conspiracy to suppress the story.

    Problem is, respected media do not get that way by operating according to those expectations. More the opposite. A sensational charge requires greater-than-usual proof to justify publication. A yet-more-sensational charge requires extraordinary proof to justify publication.

    To understand what is going on with media regarding the Wuhan lab claims, apply insight into actual media practices.

    Do not make the mistake of supposing the nation's most established media would not revel in publishing a proved-to-adequate-standards scoop about bio-weapon research gone awry. Stories of that sort come along seldom, but they make careers. Publishing only a few of them can be good for years of professional prestige and institutional momentum. Mainstream media are avid for those stories.

    1. So the media have indisputable proof of transmission at a wet market? Or otherwise from a human-bat encounter or some series of intermediates? Because they ran with those theories for months, and disparaged the lab leak theory at the same time. If they didn't know, why was so much ink spilled about the wet market and similar transmission stories?

      1. They reported that scientists were running with those theories. Reporters are not actually equipped or qualified to determine the sources of viral outbreaks.

  21. Problem is, respected media do not get that way by operating according to those expectations. More the opposite. A sensational charge requires greater-than-usual proof to justify publication. A yet-more-sensational charge requires extraordinary proof to justify publication.
    So you are going to ignore 5 years of Russia Hoax? I was asking very early what event triggered the suspicion? That launched a counter intel investigation? There never existed anything to trigger suspicion. The media never asked the question.
    Hunter Biden? Silence? Jared Kushner has a backchannel to the Kremlin? 24/7 coverage.
    The Wuhan lab story was out there because The Secretary of State brought attention to it. That is not some conspiricy theory out of a corner of the Dark web

    The Democrat Party Propaganda machine not only runs with rumors, they will fabricate evidence to enhance the rumors.

    Respected media. What a fool.

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