Trump made me do it: Liberal media blames debunking of lab leak theory on former president’s ‘xenophobia’
Several members of the media are now grasping at straws to apologize for dismissing the lab leak theory in 2020, many of them pointing fingers at the former Head of Trump’s seat.
The idea that COVID escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was widely dismissed as a racist “conspiracy theory” and “fringe” nonsense when it was first pushed by Republicans in 2020. But it has been The lab leak theory has been viewed as the biggest, perhaps by the FBI and the US Department of Energy, encouraging the pundits and reporters who initially refused to blame him. Trump being a lightning rod at the time, they pretty much had no choice but to oppose him.
While many are focusing on the “low confidence” angle because the Department of Energy is not sure where COVID came from – some other groups still favor the natural origin hypothesis – others have suggested that Trump was and members of his administration as vicious and racist as their theory. to be put out of hand.
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“Everybody has an excuse for their bias and their activism and their lack of logic,” media analyst Joe Concha told Fox News Digital. “And when in doubt, break a glass and blame Trump for it everything.
“We had journalists and pundits and editorial boards who believed the Chinese Communist Party over Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and the president of the United States, all because of their party affiliation, and there was election after election. everything here at home,” said Concha.
On ABC’s “The View,” co-host Sunny Hostin called Trump “spreading xenophobia” during a discussion about the lab leak hypothesis. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg recently apologized for comedian Jon Stewart, who famously embraced the lab leak theory in 2021 when he appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
“[Trump] he made it about Asian people, and I’m sure Jon Stewart didn’t realize that was what was happening, because I’m sure he didn’t know what was going on all over the country with Asian people getting smoked and banging and people saying stuff to them about bringing the disease here,” Goldberg said.
“If you knew — who wouldn’t have started with that, if he hadn’t done that,” Goldberg continued, “if he was saying, ‘Listen, this might have come out of a lab,'” may have been listened to. very different.”
MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan claimed that the lab leak theory was dismissed because it was “linked” to an “anti-Fauci conspiracy” on the right.
“The simple reason that so many people didn’t like to talk about the ‘lab leak theory* is because it was originally aligned by the right with the Chinese ‘bioweapons’ conspiracy ‘ and is still being coerced by the right with a conspiracy against Fauci. Blame the conspiracy theorists,” Hasan tweeted.
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FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver mocked Hasan’s tweet, writing “This is very honest.
Left-wing CNN columnist Jill Filipovic was immediate, naming Trump specifically and blaming his rhetoric for the debunked lab leak theory.
“The best explanation I can come up with is that Trump’s racist ‘China virus’ bullshit, which has led to a lot of anti-Asian bigotry and attacks on Asian people, is sending liberals understandably defended against any theory that seemed to blame. China for Covid,” Filipovic tweeted.
MSNBC analyst John Heilemann told late-night host Bill Maher last week that Trump was “politicizing” the lab leak theory.
“The lab was always something where it could be, where it could come from,” Heilemann said, although in 2020 he was one of the many liberal voices who dismissed it as nonsense. “But I will say that if you go back to that time, why did people accept the idea that they would reject the theory of a laboratory leak? Because like everything else in COVID, Donald Trump politicized it from day one. “
“What he had in the first two weeks was ‘kung flu’ and it’s not that it started in a lab, that the Chinese released it into the world, that it’s a bioweapon it was…” he said.
The media’s move to blame Trump is not why some figures would not accept the possibility that the coronavirus could accidentally emerge from a Chinese laboratory. Former CNN chief Jeff Zucker wouldn’t even let his network follow the story about the lab leak in the early months of the pandemic because he thought it was “Trump’s talking point,” a source said. CNN recently defended Fox News Digital.
“It’s kind of crazy that we didn’t run harder,” the insider said.
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Last week, MSNBC host Chris Hayes blamed “the biggest culture war” for the left’s rejection of the lab leak theory, even though he admitted there was a “kernel of truth ” in that some voices were “too quick” to shut down the theory. as the pandemic began; he said that Twitter was wrong to mark such theories as false or controversial.
“It’s clear now that the leak in the lab is at least plausible … maybe not the most likely scenario, but I’m not crazy. But above all else, what the uproar over the lab leak theory shows is just how broken this kind of political communication is, in particular. when it comes to talking about COVID-19, right?” Hayes said. “There are certain sets of facts about the world that we both need and want to know. then constructs some ideological truth because of what role these truths play in culture war arguments.”
Although it’s back in the news this year, the lab leak theory had already started gaining credence in the mainstream media since Trump left office more than two years ago. In 2021, ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl said “some things could be true even if Donald Trump said them” when he tells viewers why the lab hypothesis went wrong was largely rejected at the time.
“Because Trump was saying so much else that was just out of control, and because he was, you know, making a racist claim talking about Kung Flu, and the Chinese virus, he flatly said that this came from that lab, and it was widely dismissed,” Karl said.
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NBC’s Chuck Todd also addressed the issue on “Meet The Press” in 2021, saying that “for many,” the lab leak theory “became politicized” and became associated with one theory without the Chinese released the virus on purpose.
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler also wrote, “The Trump administration’s messaging was often accompanied by anti-Chinese rhetoric that made it easier for skeptics to dismiss their claims.”
Kessler’s colleague Aaron Blake wrote a 2021 analysis titled, “The sad ‘lab leak’ theory on China and the coronavirus,” in which he defended reporters dismissing administration claims Trump said there was a high probability that the virus came from a laboratory.
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“Given everything we know about Trump’s handling of things like this, caution and skepticism were invited. That caution and disbelief (much deservedly) veered into a bit of oversimplification, especially when it came to summarizing the often more cautious statements, ” wrote Blake.