I first mentioned that the COVID-19 outbreak had the hallmarks of a laboratory escape over 15 months ago in my February 4, 2020, article, “Novel Coronavirus — The Latest Pandemic Scare.”
I, and anyone else who discussed this possibility, were roundly dismissed as unreliable kooks by mainstream media, who for well over a year have insisted SARS-CoV-2 made the jump from bats to humans at one of Wuhan’s open-air “wet markets.”
To support their assertion, mainstream journalists relied on papers and “scientific consensus” statements concocted by individuals who are in fact deeply involved in the very research that created this pandemic.
Individuals such as National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins,1 Dr. Ralph Baric and EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak — four prominent natural origin promoters given plenty of airtime — have a lot to lose if it turns out the pandemic virus originated in a lab.
So, of course they would want everyone to think SARS-CoV-2 just arose naturally and jumped species. In fact, if the world embraced this notion, they’d be able to use this pandemic to justify the expansion of the dangerous gain-of-function research they were involved with, and which is now accused of causing the pandemic.
Mainstream Media Covered Up the Truth for Over a Year
Trusting biased or outright lying sources has its price, and now mainstream media are scrambling to save face as the public, political and scientific consensus is rapidly shifting to accept the lab leak theory as not only viable but probable. The new details are so compelling that President Biden has now ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.2
In a May 18, 2021, National Review article,3 Jim Geraghty reviews how the official narrative has shifted in recent weeks. As reported by Rising with Krystal & Saagar host, Saagar Enjeti, in a May 19, 2021, newscast (video at the top of article), China and the U.S. public health establishment both worked to cover up the pandemic origin, but they would never have succeeded for as long as they did had it not been for the mainstream media, which willingly assisted in this effort.
Everywhere you looked, legacy media insisted the lab-leak theory had been “debunked,” without ever really presenting any evidence, over or beyond parroting the opinions of conflicted “experts.” As noted by journalist and documentary filmmaker Leighton Woodhouse, “’Disinformation’ is the New Disinformation.”4 In other words, whenever mainstream media declares that something is disinformation, they’re most likely misinforming you.
Indeed, mainstream media have become so consistently wrong over the past year, you’ve basically needed to interpret the news by turning it around 180 degrees to have any chance of not being grossly misinformed.
Lame Excuses Don’t Cut It
Now, many legacy journalists find themselves in the uncomfortable position of being called out for their collusion with people who have worked to deceive us.
In a Twitter thread,5 freelance commentary writer Drew Holden reviews some of the many mainstream headlines deriding the lab leak theory as debunked disinformation. It’s a veritable Hall of Shame of the worst of the worst journalists out there.
If you want to get clued in on where the fake news is, take a look at that list. Some journalists are now trying to defend and justify their poor journalistic ethics by blaming others, but it’s not working so well.
What all these science journalists won’t admit is they got took by their best scientist sources, who misled them, on purpose, to the detriment of science, journalism and our public health. The scientists who got it right were the ones who had no conflicts of interest. ~ Josh Rogin
In a series of tweets — responding to an article6 by former New York Times science writer Donald McNeil,7 in which McNeil admits he failed at his job because he got sucked into the politics of it and chose to trust Fauci and Daszak, both of whom he knows personally — Josh Rogin, a foreign policy columnist for the The Washington Post, wrote:8
“If you are writing a piece defending yourself for being wrong for a year about the lab leak hypothesis by blaming everyone else except yourself for your own wrongness, you haven’t learned a thing and you are just engaged in bullshit navel-gazing that literally nobody cares about.
What all these science journalists won’t admit is they got took by their best scientist sources, who misled them, on purpose, to the detriment of science, journalism and our public health. The scientists who got it right were the ones who had no conflicts of interest.”
Conflicted Scientists Push for More Dangerous Research
Indeed, it’s high time to recognize that conflicts of interest matter, and relying on experts who have everything to gain by a particular narrative being projected as the correct one is a very bad idea.
If mainstream journalists want to end up on the right side of history — and not the side that ends up killing millions by spreading medical and scientific ignorance — they have to stop parading conflicted individuals before us as paragons of truth while dismissing experts that have no skin in the game and actually come from a position of neutrality.
Going forward, listening to independent experts may be more important than ever, because as noted by Enjeti, the same scientists who misled us about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 are now busy planning an even bigger research project focused on the same dangerous research that may have brought us COVID-19.
The $1.2 billion Global Virome Project9 will expand worldwide collaboration on risky virus research sixfold, and as noted by Enjeti, “Turning the spigot on for gain-of-function research while so many questions remain unresolved, is absolutely the last thing that we should do.”
Lab-Leak Theory Gains Traction
In the video above, Freddie Sayers interviews10 Nicholas Wade, a former New York Times science writer, about his widely-read article11 detailing the evidence supporting the two primary origin theories.
As reported by Wade in “Origin of COVID — Following the Clues: Did People or Nature Open Pandora’s Box at Wuhan?”12 if we are ever to solve the mystery of where this novel virus came from, we must be willing to actually follow the science, as “it offers the only sure thread through the maze.”
“It’s important to note that so far there is no direct evidence for either theory,” Wade writes.13 “Each depends on a set of reasonable conjectures but so far lacks proof. So I have only clues, not conclusions, to offer. But those clues point in a specific direction.”
As even mainstream media pundits will now admit, the preponderance of clues leans toward SARS-CoV-2 originating in a lab, most likely the WIV. Evidence further suggests the virus underwent some sort of manipulation to increase infectiousness and disease in humans.
There’s research dating as far back as 1992 detailing how inserting a furin cleavage site right where we find it in SARS-CoV-2 is a “sure way to make a virus deadlier.” Coincidentally, one of 11 such studies were written by Dr. Shi Zhengli, head of coronavirus research at the WIV.
The arguments laid out in support of the natural origin theory, meanwhile, are grounded in inconclusive speculations that require you to throw out scientifically possible scenarios. From a scientific standpoint, doing so is ill advised.
“It seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence,” Wade writes.14
Protecting Dangerous Research
In a May 19, 2021, publication,15 Peter Gøtzsche with the Institute for Scientific Freedom, summarized and provided additional commentary on Wade’s article. One obvious point that legacy media have completely ignored is that the idea that a virus can escape from a lab is not a conspiracy theory. It is a fact. Lab leaks have caused several outbreaks through the years, and lab accidents occur daily.
Like Wade, Gøtzsche also highlights how the very people arguing for the natural origin theory were the ones with the most to lose, were the virus to be a lab creation. For whatever reason, legacy media near-universally ran with the opinion of these conflicted experts while smearing many other highly-esteemed scientists who presented evidence to the contrary.
We know with great certainty that researchers at the WIV had access to and were doing gain-of-function research on coronaviruses. We also know that they collaborated with scientists in the United States, and received funding from the National Institutes of Health for such research. As noted by Gøtzsche:16
“Researchers at the Wuhan Institute were led by China’s leading expert on bat viruses, Dr. Shi Zheng-li. Shi teamed up with Ralph S. Baric from the University of North Carolina who pioneered techniques for genetically manipulating these viruses, which became a major aspect of research at the Wuhan Institute. Their work focused on enhancing the ability of bat viruses to attack humans so as to ‘examine the emergence potential.’
In 2015, they created a novel virus by taking the backbone of the SARS virus replacing its spike protein with one from another bat virus known as SHC014-CoV. This manufactured virus was able to infect a lab culture of cells from the human airways.
They wrote that scientific review panels might deem their research too risky to pursue but argued that it had the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks. However, the value of gain-of-function studies in preventing the COVID-19 pandemic was negative, as this research highly likely created the pandemic.
On 9 December 2019, just before the outbreak of the pandemic, Daszak gave an interview in which he talked in glowing terms of how his researchers at the Wuhan Institute had created over 100 new SARS- related coronaviruses, some of which could get into human cells and could cause untreatable SARS disease in humanized mice …
China is responsible for over 3 million deaths so far and the United States is complicit. Whatever one thinks of the origin of SARS-CoV-2, it is clear that if the Wuhan Institute of Virology had not conducted gain-of- function research, and therefore had not collected more than a thousand samples of coronaviruses from bat caves, there would have been no pandemic.
As suggested by others, it is clear that this type of research should never have been funded and should never have been performed. The WHO and the United Nations should issue a call to stop all gain-of-function research permanently. All governments should make gain-of-function research illegal, with stiff penalties for breaking the law. This research is a great threat to mankind. It must stop.”
First Step Taken, But Doesn’t Go Far Enough
Mainstream journalists aren’t the only ones searching for an acceptable cover story right now. In a remarkable — and wholly unbelievable — about-face, Fauci and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins now insist that none of the research they’ve ever funded qualifies as gain-of-function,17,18 and that evidence used to prove that funding did go to gain-of-function research has been misinterpreted.19
Regardless, May 25, 2021, Sen. Rand Paul announced the U.S. Senate passed an amendment20 that permanently bans all federal funding on gain-of-function research in China.21 While that’s great news, it doesn’t go nearly far enough, and will in no way prevent another manmade pandemic. The reason is obvious. This kind of research is being done all around the world, not just in China.
Unless the U.S. government bans gain-of-function research within its own borders, and encourages the rest of the world to ban it as well, there’s nothing to prevent researchers from cooking up another deadly pathogen that would never have arisen naturally.
As noted by Wade,22 the “lab escape scenario for the origin of the SARS2 virus … is not mere hand-waving in the direction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology … [it is] based on the specific project being funded there by the NIAID.”
Indeed, blaming the WIV and calling it a day is not acceptable. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and close down loopholes that can lead to a repeat. That, without a doubt, includes shutting down gain-of-function research everywhere, not just our collaboration with China.
While some journalists are trying to deflect heat by referring to the recent acceptance of the lab leak theory as a “pro-Trump culture war on American scientists,”23,24 this won’t work in the long run, because facts are facts.
Scientists who are conducting dangerous research capable of killing us all — regardless of their nationality — need to be held accountable, if culpable, and prevented from going too far. End of story.
This is not a partisan issue. It’s a matter of right and wrong. As long as gain-of-function research is being conducted, regardless of where, we face the possibility, if not probability, of another perhaps even more lethal outbreak.