Chuck Todd took a pretty big hit for deceptively editing comments from Attorney General Bill Barr. However, this was not the only media hackery this weekend. 60 Minutes also went full propaganda Sunday night.
As the U.S. took the lead for illness and death from coronavirus, the White House moved the focus to the Chinese government. Last Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attempted to resurrect a debunked theory that the virus was man-made in China. https://t.co/MZbfe4LeXi pic.twitter.com/bIjTRfboTg
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) May 10, 2020
In the montage, they did a neat selective cut of President Trump talking about disinfectant as support for saying the administration has been continually challenging science. President Trump has repeatedly deferred to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx during the last several months. Both experts have also said the president has listened to their input.
Then they flashback to the president’s comments during the State of the Union address. At the time, China had allowed a team of scientists, including some from the U.S., very limited ability to investigate the origins of COVID-19. That was the last time international experts were allowed to investigate at all. They contrast this with the president’s more recent comments and leave the impression his change in attitude was because of the increasing number of cases and deaths in the United States. Quite a leap there.
First of all as on a per million basis, the United States has one of the lowest rates of death. Dr. Deborah Birx has recently voiced skepticism that it is possible our counts may be inflated, making it even lower. The United States has also conducted more tests than any other nation on a larger population, so the number of confirmed cases is going to be higher. Attributing a change in the attitude of the president or his foreign policy team to this is ludicrous on its face.
Rather, the timeline of events in China has become clearer. Using documents and publications coming out of the country, the initial case of COVID-19 was at least as early as November 17, 2019. As of late January, scientists were already exploring other theories about how the virus originated. Several early patients had no contact at all with the wet market blamed by the CCP for the outbreak. This was based on a Chinese study of the first 41patients.
As information that a high-security lab was located a mere few hundred feet from the market became public, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) began questioning the origins of the virus. He was immediately branded a conspiracy theorist for suggesting it was a lab created bioweapon. He clarified several times it could have been a natural virus being studied that was accidentally released, but the media ignored the clarification.
Then State Department memos were leaked that indicated that embassy personnel had visited the labs in Wuhan in 2018 and expressed concerns about safety procedures. This in combination with intelligence reports from our own agencies have led to more questions about the wet market origin. Secretary Mike Pompeo has been front and center in articulating the change in the U.S. position. This has been echoed by calls from allies like Australia for a full investigation into the origins of the virus.
However, 60 Minutes decided to paint Secretary Pompeo with the conspiracy theory brush. Following a short clip of the secretary, they asserted he is claiming the virus is a lab-created bioweapon. Secretary Pompeo has never made that assertion. He has said there is intelligence indicating it was released from one of the Wuhan labs. He has always been clear that this information pointed to a natural virus that was being studied, not one that was man-made.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese state media have reacted strongly to Secretary Pompeo’s public comments. At one point they called him insane for stating it may have been an accidental release. You might expect a U.S. media outlet to do a better job characterizing the evolution of the situation and our national leaders. You would be wrong. But the CCP is likely smiling.
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