News & Politics

Cruz: WaPo's Defense of China on Coronavirus Is 'Abandoning All Pretenses of Journalism'

Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks as Federal Aviation Administration Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt, and Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel appear before a Senate Transportation subcommittee hearing on commercial airline safety, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Washington. Two recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes, in Ethiopia and Indonesia, which killed nearly 350 people, have lead to the temporary grounding of models of the aircraft and to increased scrutiny of the FAA's delegation of a number of aspects of the certification process to the aircraft manufacturers themselves. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned a Washington Post fact-check video as “CCP propaganda,” covering for the Chinese Communist Party by taking its claims at face value. The video claimed that the best evidence suggests the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic came from nature, even though the facts in the video itself arguably presented a compelling case that the virus could have leaked from one of the two virus labs in Wuhan.

Glenn Kessler, editor of the Post‘s fact-checker, shared the video on Twitter, calling it “amazing.”

Cruz said, “‘Amazing is definitely right word for this video. WaPo ‘abandoning all pretenses of journalism to produce CCP propaganda’ would be another way to put it.”

“If this reporter submitted this video in a freshman logic class, it wouldn’t receive a passing grade,” Cruz argued. “Let’s review facts.”

The senator laid out four facts in a tweet thread, each drawn from the video.

FACT 1: WaPo admits two separate labs in Wuhan were studying coronaviruses derived from bats. One lab was just 300 yards from Wuhan wet market.

FACT 2: WaPo admits bats with similar coronaviruses “live in caves 1000 miles away.”

FACT 3: WaPo admits both labs had SERIOUS safety concerns, resulting in multiple US Dept wires—before this crisis—warning that shoddy safety protocols could lead to a global coronavirus pandemic.

FACT 4: WaPo admits China DESTROYED the lab samples after the pandemic started (raising the natural inference that they were afraid what the samples, if examined, would show.

“ALL OF THESE FACTS strongly suggest the virus escaped from one of these CCP labs. At this point, the evidence is circumstantial (because the CCP is hiding/blocking any direct evidence),” Cruz added. Indeed, this trail of circumstantial evidence does present the disturbing likelihood that the coronavirus pandemic might be the result of a lab accident gone wrong.

Shi Zhengli, a scientist and researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, admitted in an article for Scientific American that she has had sleepless nights worrying whether her lab was responsible for the outbreak. Shi argued that ultimately her lab was not responsible, but how can she be sure?

Cruz went on to note that The Washington Post‘s conclusion does not fit the data presented in the video.

“BUT what is WaPo’s conclusion? ‘The balance of scientific evidence strongly suggest the conclusion that the new coronavirus emerged from nature, be it in the Wuhan market or somewhere else.’ This is a non sequitur. None of the aforementioned evidence leads to that conclusion,” the senator argued. How does the Post reach that conclusion?

WaPo COUNTER-FACT ONE: The CCP and the lab director (who initially wrote “could [the pandemic virus] have come from our lab?”) now deny it. “Shi, her team & the Chinese govt have adamantly denied that it could have come from this lab.” WaPa takes that denial as true.

WaPo COUNTER-FACT TWO: They quote Dr. Peter Daszak, the head of “EcoHealth Alliance” as saying “China’s been incredibly open. I believe it’s because it’s a scientific collaboration & in China they’re really proud of their science; they do good work, especially in virology.”

That’s it. Those two counter-facts form 100% of the basis for WaPo’s “fact check.” And #2, the claim that “China’s been incredibly open,” is laughably absurd. They DESTROYED THE LAB SAMPLES. They PUNISHED & SILENCED the pandemic whistleblowers.

Indeed, a study from the British nonprofit the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) suggested that China violated the International Health Regulations (IHR) and should get sued in international court for trillions of dollars. The State of Missouri recently filed a lawsuit against China, and pressure is mounting on Attorney General Bill Barr as Republicans claim he should do the same.

Cruz also pointed out a serious red flag with the “objective source” who led the Post to reach its pro-China conclusion, Dr. Daszak. “Well, his organization, ‘EcoHealth Alliance’ was receiving (now cancelled) US taxpayer $$ to support bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology! Why does WaPo NOT disclose his enormous bias, litigation exposure & conflict of interest??”

A critic countered that “scientists who have examined this virus down to it’s [sic] component DNA parts have all concluded that it is impossible that it could have come from a lab.” Cruz admitted that this is a strong “argument that the virus wasn’t bio-engineered—ie, created in a lab.” The senator insisted, however, that the circumstantial evidence suggests “that the labs were studying this (natural) virus & it accidentally escaped” — one of the three conclusions WaPo rejected in the video.

Cruz speculated that Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns the Post, “stands to make billions in China if he pleases the communist overlords.”

“Whatever WaPo is doing, this is NOT journalism. It is apologizing for the CCP, trying to cover up their culpability,” the senator insisted.

This is a very serious charge, but Cruz made a strong case. It remains unclear if there is a financial motive behind pro-CCP reporting like this, however. It seems far more plausible that left-leaning reporters, driven by bias against President Donald Trump, often tend to skew in China’s direction because the president has repeatedly called out China’s lies and malfeasance on the coronavirus crisis.

Lefty reporters have echoed the CCP in condemning Trump for calling the virus the “Wuhan Virus” or the “Chinese Virus,” claiming such terms are racist. Beijing says the terms are racist in order to push its agenda of claiming the U.S. military is the real source of the virus, while lefty reporters claim the terms are racist because it fits their political narrative.

Whatever the lefty media’s true motivation, it is outrageous that so many “journalists” rush to defend China, given China’s horrific record on the coronavirus.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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