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Erickson: Discredited and clueless

By Erick Erickson - | Jun 11, 2024

Courtesy photo

Erick Erickson

This week, an important revelation happened in Hunter Biden’s criminal trial. After 51 supposed intelligence experts declared his laptop and the information thereon to be a Russian disinformation campaign, it turns out the laptop and its contents are real.

In 2020, media outlets ganged up on the New York Post, encouraging the former leadership of Twitter to block the account and circulation of the laptop story the Post broke. But the Post was right. The laptop and its contents were and are real. The United States Department of Justice has the laptop at the trial and presented it as evidence.

In 2020, Sen. Tom Cotton suggested the coronavirus that first appeared in Wuhan, China, had come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It made sense. The lab studied the very sorts of viruses that were circulating. But progressives declared it racist. Progressives, hysterically, decided the virus came from a Chinese wet market — a damning indictment on Chinese food preferences as opposed to a bioweapons lab.

Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times health reporter, tweeted, “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.” This past week, Mandavilli’s own news organization published a pretty definitive account of how the lab leak is most likely the source of COVID-19. Alina Chan is a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard. Just four years ago, her view was considered racist. Now her view is in accord with the assessment of both the United States Department of Energy, which has expertise in biologics, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“The pandemic could have been caused by any of hundreds of virus species, at any of tens of thousands of wildlife markets, in any of thousands of cities, and in any year. But it was a SARS-like coronavirus with a unique furin cleavage site that emerged in Wuhan, less than two years after scientists, sometimes working under inadequate biosafety conditions, proposed collecting and creating viruses of that same design,” Chan wrote.

On May 1, 2020, Sen. Ted Cruz ridiculed The Washington Post for an animation that purported to disprove the lab leak. Replying to him on Twitter, the Washington Post’s “fact checker” Glenn Kessler tweeted, “I fear Ted Cruz missed the scientific animation in the video that shows how it is virtually impossible for this virus jump from the lab. Or the many interviews with actual scientists. We deal in facts, and viewers can judge for themselves.”

The “scientific animation” got it wrong. But Kessler has not corrected himself. The American press corps never likes to admit they are wrong, and when they do, they bury the corrections in newspapers. Perhaps the press corps could be less arrogant and less willing to silence anyone who disrupts the left’s preferred narratives. The Hunter Biden laptop was not Russian disinformation. It is notable that many of those who wrongly insisted it was are still used by the press as credible experts and talking heads on television. There simply is no accountability.

For the past few weeks, the American press corps has made mountains out of Justice Samuel Alito’s wife’s upside-down American flag molehill. The same press corps has sought to downplay Judge Juan Merchan giving money to Joe Biden in 2020 and to a fund earmarked for stopping Republicans. If Alito’s wife’s flag is an appearance of impropriety imputed to Samuel Alito, Merchan’s partisan donation is a clear impropriety. But the press vilifying Alito is giving Merchan a pass. The press is more likely to question Judge Aileen Cannon, the Florida judge overseeing the classified documents case, than Merchan.

Time and time again, the press gets the story wrong, ignores the story or seeks to discredit the truth, and the only thing each of these events has in common is favoring the left’s talking point, narrative or lie. The bias always defaults to the left-wing party line. Now the press is upset at the rise of disinformation and misinformation. They should, instead, perhaps examine their own role in that rise. But they will not. The press corps, collectively, lacks the basic humility it demands in others.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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