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'Scientists and journalists failed in their duty': National security experts blast New York Times and mainstream journalists for dismissing COVID-19 lab origins

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Photo credit should read Feature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images

A group of national security experts published a letter this week denouncing those in the mainstream media who downplayed, ignored, or outright denied the possibility that the COVID-19 virus originated in a Chinese communist lab in Wuhan.

The letter implicates news outlets like the New York Times and scientific journals such as the Lancet in an apparent campaign to censor or displace dissenting voices around the pandemic's origins.

Not only was journalists' and editors' failure to entertain the possibility that the Wuhan Institute of Virology — controlled by the genocidal Chinese regime and notorious for performing gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses — a dereliction of duty, it "served to hamper national and international policy discussions about how to mitigate against future pandemics of any origin — natural, accidental, or deliberate."

Crystallizing public opinion

Forty-three national security experts, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas), former Defense Intelligence Agency acting Director David Shedd, former national security adviser Robert O'Brien, and a host of former State Department and National Security Council officials, signed a Jan. 11 letter addressed to the editors of the Lancet, Nature Medicine, the New York Times, and Time magazine.

"From the beginning of the crisis, when the information environment was undoubtedly contentious, divisive, and confusing, some editors and reporters of news organizations and scientific publications stifled debate on the origins of the virus," said the letter.

The national security experts noted, "Some even leveled accusations of racism against those who sought in good faith to investigate whether the virus may have originated from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

New York Times global health and infectious diseases reporter Apoorva Mandavilli claimed in May 2021 that the lab-leak theory had "racist roots" and was not "plausible."

"Someday we will stop talking about the lab leak theory and maybe even admit its racist roots," she wrote. "But alas, that day is not yet here."

The letter notes that ideologically compromised journalists at the New York Times were not the only ones unwilling or unable to consider the possibility of a lab leak.

"Leading scientific journals censored dissenting voices; many science writers at major news outlets promoted narratives or asserted conclusions unsubstantiated by evidence; reporters failed to make even cursory attempts at surfacing potential conflicts of interest of their sources," said the letter.

These censorious and myopic efforts "served to hamper national and international policy discussions about how to mitigate against future pandemics of any origin — natural, accidental, or deliberate."

Failing America

The national security experts' letter noted that American security and prosperity depend upon "rigorous scientific debate, research, and scholarship, as well as an intrepid and independent news media."

Having failed in these regards, scientists and journalists who prematurely dismissed or stigmatized certain questions also "failed in their duty."

The letter's authors noted that the lab-leak theory has nevertheless survived these denunciations and dismissals to become widely recognized as a "legitimate possible explanation for the emergence of the pandemic."

The authors cite in their letter the June 9 World Health Organization Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens report and various governmental inquiries as examples of the growing mainstream realization that human meddling or human error may ultimately have been responsible for the deaths over over 15 million human beings worldwide.

Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence concluded in their December interim report that it was "plausible" that Chinese military researchers possessed the COVID-19 virus "as part of bioweapons research" prior to its release into the world as a consequence of a safety incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The report also lent far greater credibility to the lab-leak theory, which some House Republicans indicated many government officials, Big Tech platforms, and media outlets were quick to label a 'conspiracy theory.'"

A Republican Senate report published in October reaffirmed that China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronavirus gain-of-function experiments had been conducted for years, is the likely "high-risk" source of the virus.

While the lab-leak theory has aged well, the New York Times' February amplification of a study that did not survive peer review hasn't. The Times platformed the suggestion that the virus originated in the wet market and failed to provide an update when other data showed that claim wanting.

In light of new reports about the plausibility of the lab-leak theory, the Lancet's featured March 7 open letter claiming that all but the natural origins theory constituted "misinformation" has also aged poorly.

The authors of the Lancet letter wrote, "We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin."

The national security experts' Jan. 11 letter calls for those who inadvertently worked to absolve the Chinese communist regime of possible guilt to be held accountable. Additionally it called on major news organizations "to carry out deeper investigations into the pandemic's origins, particularly by examining all credible origins hypotheses."

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