The mainstream media did some major backpedaling this week on the potential origin of the coronavirus. After months of brushing off the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from a laboratory, left-wing journalists now admit that they are taking the Wuhan lab leak theory seriously, even after they said the theory was "debunked" months ago. Backtracking journalists are blaming former President Donald Trump and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for the media previously dismissing the now-feasible lab leak theory.
"I think a lot of people have egg on their face," ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl told Martha Raddatz on Sunday. "This was an idea that was first put forward by Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, [and President] Donald Trump, and look, some things may be true even if Donald Trump said them."
"Because Trump was saying so much else that was just out of control, and because he was, you know, making a frankly racist appeal talking about 'kung-flu,' and the 'China virus,' his notion ... he said flatly this came from that lab, was widely dismissed ... but now serious people are saying it needs a serious inquiry," Karl said on ABC's "This Week."
ABC's Jon Karl on Wuhan lab leak theory: "I think a lot of people have egg on their face....Some things may be true… https://t.co/BHuaHzRGn4— Breaking911 (@Breaking911)1622403928.0
New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman also tried to blame Trump and Pompeo for the media's failure to take the lab leak theory seriously.
"I think it is important to remember that part of the issue is when this was first being reported on and discussed back a few months after the pandemic had begun, was that then President Trump and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, suggested they've seen evidence that this was formed in a lab and they also suggested that it was not released on purpose," Haberman said on CNN last week. "But they refused to release the evidence showing what it was and so because of that made this instantly political."
Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake wrote an article titled, "The vexing 'lab leak' theory on China and the coronavirus," which blamed Trump for the media's immediate dismissal of the lab leak theory.
"Given everything we know about how Trump handled such things, caution and skepticism were invited," Blake wrote. "That (very much warranted) caution and skepticism spilled over into some oversimplification, particularly when it came to summarizing the often more circumspect reporting."
Last week, Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler posted an article titled, "How the Wuhan lab-leak theory suddenly became credible." The article stated, "The Trump administration's messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to ignore its claims."
However, a year earlier, Kessler told Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Twitter, "It is virtually impossible for this virus jump from the lab."
@GlennKesslerWP You should probably revisit this one. https://t.co/QpZu5eNAQT— Stephen L. Miller (@Stephen L. Miller)1621948199.0
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt openly admitted that a "lot of people, including a lot of in the media, leaped to dismiss the lab leak theory because of where it was coming from, and the reality is we don't yet know how Covid started."
"I think people made this mistake. I think a lot of people on the political left and people in the media made this mistake and said 'Wow, if Tom Cotton is saying something, it can't be true.' Or they assumed that," Leonhardt told CNN's Brian Stelter. "And that's not right. Tom Cotton does deal in misinformation about things like election fraud, he's said some things that are just wrong. But that doesn't mean that everything he says is wrong."
"Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd conceded a "growing number of scientists are increasingly open to the lab leak possibility."
"And for many, the lab leak idea got tangled up in politics and conflated with the idea that the Chinese deliberately released the coronavirus into the world," the NBC host said.
Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin blasted the mainstream media for not practicing journalism and letting their "Trump Derangement Syndrome" get the best of them.
"Most MSM reporters didn't 'ignore' the lab leak theory, they actively crapped all over it for over a year while pretending to be objective out of a toxic mix of confirmation bias, source bias (their scientist sources lied to them), group think, TDS and general incompetence," Rogin wrote in a series of tweets on Saturday.
"Also, the lab leak theory didn't change. It didn't suddenly become credible. It didn't jump from crazy to reasonable," he continued. "The theory has always been the same. The people who got it wrong changed their minds. They are writing about themselves, with zero self awareness."
"All these reporters scrambling to defend their own records on the lab leak theory are exposing their own hypocrisy & ignoring their basic error. Just report the facts," he wrote on Twitter. "Don't act like its your job to tell us whats ok to think or talk about. Own up to it when you fail your readers."
The theory that the coronavirus originated from a lab has gained traction in recent weeks.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee say there is "significant circumstantial evidence" that COVID-19 originated from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the Chinese military may have been involved.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who last year "strongly" said coronavirus "evolved in nature and then jumped species," now says he is "not convinced" that COVID-19 emerged naturally, and he recommends an investigation into its origin.
Last week, President Joe Biden directed the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble" efforts to investigate the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.