The COVID-19 pandemic, while claiming millions of lives across the world, has also exposed just how compromised the world media is. Not that the state of the media was not apparent earlier, but the pandemic reporting across the world has probably put the media at its lowest ebb ever. Providing an example of just how tone-deaf the media can be, yesterday, the New York Times ‘COVID-19 reporter’ took to Twitter to say that the world should not talk about the ‘lab leak theory’ as far as COVID is concerned because it has racist roots.
Apoorva Mandavilli, who is a ‘COVID-19 reporter’ with the New York Times took to Twitter and said, “Someday, we will stop talking about the lab leak theory and maybe even admit its racist roots. But alas, that day is not yet here”.
Interestingly, on Sunday (May 23), a former New York Times (NYT) science editor named Nicholas Wade slammed mainstream media publications for falling for Chinese propaganda and ignoring that Covid-19 might have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan. His remarks came at a time when more scientists are increasingly supporting the theory that the Wuhan Coronavirus was developed in a laboratory.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, he lamented that journalists from mainstream media outlets had failed to take off ‘political glasses’ in investigating the origins of the virus. He said, “I think we see a sustained Chinese propaganda effort at work. But, you know, more than that, it was just the blindness, if I could put it that way, of our media — we’re too polarized to see scientific issues for their own sake without putting a political gloss on them.”
“We don’t know for sure: The origin of the virus is just we’ve got these two possible scenarios. But if you look at all the evidence and ask yourself, well, which scenario explains all these facts better on present evidence, it seems, to me at least, that the lab-escape hypothesis explains it a lot better. But it’s a sort of complicated conclusion to arrive at, and I can only assume that the media was blindsided, they didn’t do the work that was necessary,” Wade held the mainstream media journalists accountable.
While the former science editor at New York Times wondered why mainstream media journalists, much like Mandavilli, continue to shield China, even Dr Fauci, USA’s expert on infectious diseases, conceded that he was not convinced that the virus developed naturally and that a thorough investigation must be carried out till the origins of the virus are known. Therefore, even Fauci alluded to the fact that it is possible, maybe even likely, that the COVID-19 virus was developed in a lab.
After the New York Times journalist tweeted, wondering why the world was talking about the ‘racist theory’ that the virus may have leaked from a lab, a theory that now even Fauci is talking about, several individuals reacted to the tweet, prompting the journalist to retract.
She wrote, ‘I deleted my earlier tweets about the origins of the pandemic because they were badly phrased. The origin of the pandemic is an important line of reporting that my colleagues are covering aggressively”.
I deleted my earlier tweets about the origins of the pandemic because they were badly phrased. The origin of the pandemic is an important line of reporting that my colleagues are covering aggressively.— Apoorva Mandavilli (@apoorva_nyc) May 26, 2021
While the world grapples with a massive pandemic that has been unleashed upon the world by China, the New York Times and several other international papers have been trying their best to shield China from the world demanding accountability. And the reason for it could be rather apparent.
In June 2020, China Daily, a propaganda outlet of the Chinese government, had paid $19 million to American newspapers in advertisement and printing charges in the past 4 years. The story came to light, amidst growing concerns about US dailies giving intellectual cover fire to Beijing.
As per the documents filed by China Daily with the Justice Department, the Communist party mouthpiece had paid over $6 million to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), $4.6 million to the Washington Post, $2,40,000 to Foreign Policy, $50,000 to the New York Times, $34,600 to The Des Moines Register and $76,000 to CQ-Roll Call.
Besides, spending $11 million in advertising on prominent US papers, China Daily shelled out an additional $7.6 million to The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Seattle Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Boston Globe for printing copies of its own paper. For instance, the Los Angeles Times reportedly received $657,523 for printing services. The Communist party mouthpiece had also spent $2,65,822 on advertising on Twitter.
While Apoorva Mandavilli used ‘political correctness as an excuse to shield China, it is baffling that a COVID reporter, who has presumably seen the havoc that this pandemic has wreaked and the lives it has claimed, wants the world to stop asking questions about the origins of the virus. For any disease to be understood, it has to be understood where that virus originated, and to shield a country from the responsibility of a virus that has claimed millions of lives, can only mean that the journalist or the paper she works for is aiming to spread the propaganda floated by the Chinese Communist Party.
Possible reasons for spread of coronavirus
Several scientists have speculated that the Covid-19 virus jumped from animals, such as bats, to humans. It is also a possibility that there was an intermediate stop to another animal. Similar zoonotic spillover has happened before, for example, in the case of the Ebola outbreak of 2014 in West Africa.
There is another possible pathway that needs to be investigated and that the potential leak from the laboratory. There can be many ways that can lead to such leaks, including improper disposal and a laboratory worker getting infected who may have passed it to others. There are around 11 million people in Wuhan. It is considered to be a significant hub and center for virus studies in China. There are six known facilities with BSL-3 laboratories that handle infectious agents. Several published papers have made it clear that some of the institutes in Wuhan are actively researching coronavirus.