Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
It is not a controversial idea that the major media are unashamedly dishonest when reporting facts with partisan implications. For many, this reality is benign, because it favors a left-leaning agenda and reviles conservative figures such as the hated Donald Trump. But recent revelations regarding the Coronavirus, Hunter Biden’s laptop and the Cuomo brothers show that media deceit can harm all our citizens, including those who strongly approve of partisan journalism.
An especially disheartening example of such dishonesty is the current widespread recognition that the Coronavirus could well have escaped from a Chinese lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology. From the outset of the threatened pandemic, certainly by February, 2020, it seemed to be nothing but common sense that the virus could have been cultivated by humans and released accidentally by the lab, an equally, if not more, logical scenario than the theory that the virus originated from a pangolin or bat sold at a wet market, pushed by China and the U.S. media.
The nearest pangolin habitat was hundreds of miles away from Wuhan. Moreover, there was some evidence that early victims of the illness were lab workers, while there was no report of a wet market habitue becoming ill. The symmetrical shape of the virus certainly was consistent with human engineering. And, coincidentally, the Wuhan lab is China’s only biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) super laboratory which works with the world’s most deadly pathogens.
Admittedly, the evidence favoring the lab leak hypothesis was circumstantial, but it was also neither flimsy nor artificially contrived. The evidence deserved serious exploration, because if there was a lab leak, the practices which led to it need be reformed. If, as was the case, the U.S. was contributing to this lab, a strong push toward increased transparency would have been deemed necessary. More ominously, the issue of this virus strain being a potential bioweapon would have been confronted, especially given intelligence suggesting China was developing a bioweapons program.
So how did our mainstream media react to the “lab leak theory” as presented by Senator Tom Cotton?
When the Harvard-educated lawyer Cotton made his comments in an April 21, 2020 Wall Street Journal op-ed, clearly labeling the lab leak theory to be nothing more than one possibility, he was met with widespread vitriol. A New York Times blared, “Senator Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins.” The Washington Post article claims Cotton “keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked.”
Today, of course, it is embarrassingly clear that the major media and social media had suppressed the lab leak story that could have led to increased public safety, and perhaps freedom from a future Chinese bioweapon.
If the Coronavirus origins story were the only potentially catastrophic media failing, and if there were apologies all around, all might be well. But neither predicate has emerged, as major media continued to maintain, stubbornly, that they were really, well, correctly reading the lack of evidence of a lab leak.
Buy this was just one example of widespread harm caused by media deceit. Here’s another:
Immediately before the 2020 election, Hunter Biden’s laptop was produced by a credible intermediary, a computer repairman with no agenda. The laptop was demonstrably Hunter’s, not only because he had brought it in for repair, but also because it was filled with hundreds of photos and emails that could have only been created by Hunter. The laptop revealed a chilling probability – Hunter was sharing his corrupt fees with his father, in charge of decisions affecting Hunter’s clients in Ukraine and his Bank of China patrons. The laptop also contained an email from Vadym Pozharskiy, an official of Hunter’s corrupt client, Burisma, thanking him for arranging a meeting with his father, Joe Biden. A now public picture shows some of the entourage of foreign Hunter clients with Joe Biden at D.C. restaurant, Café Milano. So, yes, Biden was lying when he adamantly denied any involvement in Hunter’s business.
If Joe Biden was in fact sharing fees with his son, this would be game, set, match in proof of a corrupt father-son influence-peddling scheme, violative of both the “Honest Services” mail fraud prohibition and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (these payments could have been for Joe Biden’s influence over foreign officials).
There is plenty of reason to worry about the implications of these revelations. If China decides to invade Taiwan, has our President been incurably compromised by his corruption toward inaction? Likewise, if Russia seeks to overtake Ukraine, would our President dare intervene when Hunter’s client Igor Kolomoisky is a major supporter of both President Zelensky and Russian influence? But, curiously, the mainstream media, again in an effort to slay Orange Man Bad, suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story as the election neared, cancelling any transmission of the excellent New York Post reporting while affirmatively misrepresenting that the laptop story was Russian disinformation.
In light of this media treatment, it should come as no surprise that CNN’s Chris Cuomo, while employed as an on-air anchor, was advising his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, regarding media responses to combat the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Andrew. Chris, therefore, had a triple conflict, because he was advising, while an on-air anchor, 1) a public official, 2) about response to the media, and 3) about downplaying sexual harassment.
The CNN cure? Chris Cuomo promised not to talk to his brother with staff present and CNN promised to “wall off” Chris from its treatment of his brother. This alleged solution solved none of the three raging conflicts. In essence, CNN has done much to make the world safe for powerful men to harass powerless female employees.
None of the harm about which we speak would have occurred without the deceit of the media that believes its first duty is to partisanship, the safety and security of citizens be damned. We can only once more ask media executives to take a good look in the mirror and change accordingly. Our safety and security depend upon it.