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Wuhan lab theory and the media's changing tune

Bill Connor
Courtesy of Bill Connor

When I was growing up, I remember being frustrated with seeing what appeared to be people getting away with lying. In his wisdom, my grandfather helped provide a nugget of wisdom I have never forgotten: "Truth is the daughter of time".  In having lived a long life, he learned that time allows falsehood to fall and the truth to emerge. Jesus Christ similarly said, “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known” Luke 8:17 (KJV). 

Starting with the beginning of the COVID crisis last year until now, we are seeing time giving birth to truths that were previously attacked by the media as falsehood. As this has involved issues of utmost importance to the nation, we cannot allow the lessons to be lost. It’s time for the mainstream media to “stand down”, soul search, and reform for the sake of the nation.  

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mainstream media and progressive left dug in defending what they reported as certain “truth” about the origin of the virus: that it originated in a Wuhan “wet-market” and that was the “only” credible possibility.  Dr. Anthony Fauci and associated “experts”, despite potential conflicts of interest in sending grants through an intermediary for gain-of-function research in Wuhan, pushed the wet-market theory.  But the wet-market theory was beyond problematic: The characteristics of the virus appeared to come from “gain-of-function” and not nature and the bats alleged as the source of COVID-19 were from habitats around 1,000 miles away.  Conversely, the theory that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab was always much more likely:  Doctors from the lab exhibited signs of the virus in 2019 and it was the only level 4 virology facility in China. Regardless, the media lampooned and criticized anyone suggesting COVID-19 came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab.

A number of conservatives proposed that COVID-19 likely originated in the Wuhan lab. President Trump stated he believed the Wuhan lab was the source of COVID-19, and when the World Health Organization (WHO) appeared to back the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wet-market theory, Trump decided to withdraw American support from WHO. When asked about seeing evidence of the Wuhan lab theory in May 2020, Trump said: “Yes I have.  Yes I have.  And I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves" for following the CCP narrative.

The media was unrelenting in attacking the Wuhan lab theory. The New York Times ran this headline: "Sen. Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins".  The Washington Post wrote this headline about Tom Cotton’s lab theory: “Tom Cotton Keeps Repeating a Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory That Was Already Debunked”. The Washington Post went so far as to write this article headline: "New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic".  

However, now more scientists are saying that COVID-19 likely did come out of the Wuhan lab. Dr. Fauci has finally acknowledged the real possibility of the Wuhan lab origin theory. The Washington Post ran a fact-checking article titled: “How the Wuhan lab-leak theory suddenly became credible”. Fox described the turnaround this way: “but the environment changed over the weekend when the Wall Street Journal, citing U.S. intelligence sources, reported that three Wuhan researchers were hospitalized with Covid-like symptoms in November 2019 — shortly before the first virus case was reported.” 

What the conservative half of the nation sees is the constant media cycle of demeaning and lampooning those opposing the media's progressive party line. Anyone disagreeing is engaging in “conspiracy theories” or “the big lie”.  Just as infuriating, when shown wrong, most in the mainstream media just move on to the next story without apology.

To many, the media has become a propaganda arm of the progressive left.  It’s time for a mainstream media to “stand down” and start soul-searching to reform to become a trusted institution once again. Truth is the daughter of time, and so is trust. It will take time to birth trust.

Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.

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