After years of downplaying the likelihood of a lab leak and amplifying scientists with conflicts of interest, The New York Times published a piece Sunday claiming to have “found” evidence of a Chinese censorship campaign about COVID-19.
Reporters for the Times “investigated” the silencing of information about COVID-19 in China in the early days of the pandemic, as well as later attempts to flex control over international institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO) and prestigious scientific journals. But many of the narratives pushed by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) actors were parroted in mainstream papers like the Times itself for the first three years of the pandemic.
Unbelievable: New York Times “investigation” condemns the Chinese regime’s “censorship” over covid – when the New York Times, along with most of the media and Big Tech – was doing the exact same thing here!https://t.co/dyFqjoTfro
— steve hilton (@SteveHiltonx) April 25, 2023
Articles appearing in the Times have suggested the lab leak is a “conspiracy theory” on numerous occasions. A May 2020 article by national security reporter David Sanger compared then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s consideration of the lab leak theory with former President George W. Bush’s false assertion that there were weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq.
The Times has also relied on analysis and promoted the work of scientists who have clear conflicts of interest regarding the origins of COVID-19. In one case, the paper promoted a study co-authored by researchers Kristian Andersen, Robert Garry and Jeremy Farrar, who each either have financial interests in gain-of-function (GoF) research or collaborated with Dr. Anthony Fauci to suppress the lab leak theory early on in the pandemic. (RELATED: ‘New Evidence Suggests’ Dr. Fauci Was Primary Source Of Covid Disinformation Campaign, House Subcommittee Says)
Another researcher, Edward Holmes, helped author the highly influential “proximal origin” paper early in the pandemic which downplayed the lab leak theory. He was quoted by the Times for Sunday’s piece, which U.S. Right To Know co-founder Gary Ruskin called a head-scratching move.
“The Times article also relied heavily on quotes from Edward Holmes, who may well have participated in a coverup of the origins of Covid-19 through his ‘proximal origin’ article. In other words, an awful choice for a person to hang this story around,” Ruskin told the Daily Caller. “In some ways, it was a worthy article…But the article didn’t mention how much the U.S. government is doing somewhat similar things — burying data and information about the origins of Covid-19.”
Ruskin’s organization, USRTK has been involved in various legal battles with American institutions in an attempt to unearth research and communications that could shed a light on the origins of COVID-19 and gain-of-function research.
Another tactic deployed by adversaries like the CCP and Russia is to play into cultural and political divides domestically in the United States to further their interests. The Times aided in these efforts as well by baselessly linking the lab leak theory and concern about the pandemic to racism.
A 2021 piece highlighted Asian-American lawmakers who were combatting racist language that they alleged was a direct result of anti-China messaging during the pandemic. In 2021, healthcare reporter Apoorva Mandavilli said the lab leak theory has “racist roots” and that someday people will stop talking about it. (RELATED: ‘The State Department Has Done Almost Nothing’: Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman Rips Biden Admin On COVID Origins)
The Times didn’t seriously cover the possibility of a lab leak until more than a year into the pandemic, which was noted by Jamie Metzl, a Clinton Administration national security official and author who has promoted the lab leak theory. “The New York Times coverage of the COVID-19 origins issue was extremely weak and insufficient in the earlier days of the pandemic, especially before April 2021, when the Times first mentioned the possibility of a research related origin,” Metzl told the Daily Caller. “It is encouraging the Times is starting to increase its attention to this extremely credible hypothesis.”
It remains an open question just how the COVID-19 pandemic originated. Proponents of the lab leak theory point to mounting evidence that the virus was being studied at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), potentially after being genetically modified, and was accidentally released with evidence subsequently covered up by the CCP.
Those who back a natural origin theory still argue that the virus most likely spilled over from an animal to humans, potentially breaking out at a Wuhan wet market filled with animals. Still, an intermediary animal species has yet to be identified, and new evidence in support of a natural spillover (and promoted by the Times) is based on problematic evidence released from China after three years in the dark, which hasn’t been replicated or made widely available to Western scientists.