You bet they do — starting with the media, and for the reason Jon Karl gave on Sunday. “Look,” he told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week, “some things may be true even if Donald Trump said them.” Even with that, though, Karl sounds like he’s trying to help scrape some of that egg off a few faces (via Matt Vespa):
RADDATZ: And — and, Jon, I want to turn to COVID. We talked about COVID this week and travel is up again and — and the numbers of COVID cases are way down. But a lot of talk this week about the origin of COVID again. Tom Cotton especially and many people in the Trump administration said it originated in the lab in Wuhan, China, not with bats. They’re taking a second look at that. Do some people have egg on their face, and why does this matter?
KARL: Well, I mean, look, it matters for the same reason we were talking about the January 6th commission. We should find out what happened. This was one of the greatest crises our country’s ever faced. We should know the start — the world’s ever faced. We need to know how it started.
And, yes, I think a lot of people have egg on their face. This was an idea that was first put forward by Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, Donald Trump. And, look, some things may be true even if Donald Trump said them. And there was — because Trump was saying so much else, it 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 that — put forward that this may have — or he said flatly that this came from that lab was widely dismissed. But, actually, there’s some real reason — we don’t know. By the way, we still don’t know. We absolutely don’t know. But now serious people are saying it needs a serious inquiry.
Ahem. “We don’t like Donald Trump” is not an excuse for ignoring the very real possibility of a lab leak origin for this virus. Furthermore, there is nothing more racist in “China virus” than there is in “India variant” or “South Africa variant.” It’s absurd to keep flogging that dead horse after months of media hypocrisy on that point. Also, what this spin fails to recall is that Trump was criticized early in the pandemic for being too soft on China and Xi Jinping. (As for “kung flu,” YMMV, but that joke was pretty popular for a short while. It didn’t originate with Trump.)
Regardless, the excuse that “we didn’t bother to check out a critical part of the pandemic story because the president’s a meanie” doesn’t paint Karl’s colleagues in a complimentary light — at all. The media’s job is to report on the news, not act as a partisan weapon against people they don’t like. That was clearly the case with the coverage of the lab-leak hypothesis. Even while journalists specializing in this field warned that the possibility was indeed real, most mainstream media — and social media brahmins with their fingers on the suspension button — treated it as a conspiracy theory. Trump wasn’t the only one who got the tinfoil-hat treatment by American media outlets; Tom Cotton also got treated like a lunatic for over a year for demanding inquiries into the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its potential role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The media almost to a person decided on a narrative rather than reported on the facts. They chose that narrative not in a search for the truth but to serve their own political purposes. Accordingly, Paul Mirengoff blasts the media trying to spin their propagandizing as Trump’s fault. He specifically takes aim at the Washington Post’s attempt to deny the egg on their faces exists at all:
If scrutinized at all, what the Democrat/media excuse really amounts to is an admission against interest. They are confessing to the rankest kind of partisanship — the dismissal of important and legitimate questions based on the political orientation of their source.
Democrats hate Donald Trump and Tom Cotton so much that they refused to entertain the possibility that what the two were saying about an important subject that is (or should be) non-partisan — where did a virus originate — might be true.
Talk about Trump derangement syndrome. …
But that’s no excuse for falsely claiming that Cotton’s concerns had been “debunked.” It’s no excuse for accepting China’s claims about the origin of the virus and ripping Americans who didn’t buy them.
The explanation for this sorry behavior must be either a pro-China mindset or blatant partisanship. I’m going with the latter.
As am I, but I’m keeping the other explanation open as a possibility, too. No need for jumping to this particular conclusion until all of the evidence is in, either.