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WaPo fact-checker late to the party, notes ‘serious new reporting’ on previously pooh-poohed Wuhan lab leak

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The Washington Post and its so-called “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, are being slammed on social media for drawing attention to their “serious” reporting on the Wuhan lab leak theory.

“The media called the ‘lab leak’ story a ‘conspiracy theory.’ Now it’s prompted corrections — and serious new reporting,” Kessler wrote in a tweet Thursday that linked to a Post piece with that same sentence as its headline.

While the piece is legitimate, it’s the fact that the Post — and Kessler, specifically — got it so wrong in the first place that appears to be making people so angry.

Look at his tweet below:

Serious reporting” and debate about the lab leak theory has been occurring throughout the entire coronavirus pandemic, but from non-left-wing establishment sources. To the Post’s credit, it admits this in its piece.

“The Daily Mail appears to have been the first major Western publication to suggest the virus had a human origin … [i]n an online story published Jan. 23 of last year. … The story was followed three days later by one in the Washington Times,” the piece reads.

“[T]he lab theory soon found an influential and mediagenic champion: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who suggested at a Senate hearing that the virus may have originated in a Wuhan ‘superlaboratory’ and then appeared on Fox News programs hosted by Laura Ingraham and Maria Bartiromo to repeat his suspicions,” it continues.

And for this, he was clowned by the establishment media. So was anyone, including fellow Sen. Ted Cruz, who dared to suggest there may be some truth to the theory:

Liberal establishment media “fact-checkers” labeled discussions about the lab leak theory “lunatic conspiracy theories.” These “fact-checks” were then used by big tech giants like Facebook and Twitter to censor anyone who discussed or reported on the theory, including legitimate conservative news outlets like BizPac Review.

Yet all of a sudden, after a year of mocking anybody with the guts to consider the theory, the media are now interested in offering their own dose of “serious reporting” on the matter. To critics, it seems like an arrogant slap in the face to the journalists who’d been willing to cover the theory from day one:

To critics, it’s also telling how the Post chose to refer to itself in the third person by citing “the media” instead of just using the word “we.”

So what went wrong? Classically liberal journalist Matt Taibi believes fact-checkers used to be reliable but lost their way the moment they lost their humility.

Writing for SubStack, he recently noted that all “fact-checkers” do these days is serenade the public with “sanctimonious speeches about how reporters are intrepid seekers of truth who sit next to God and gobble amphetamines so they can stay awake all night defending democracy from ‘misinformation.'”

The problem, he added, is that too often, they themselves are the peddlers of misinformation.

“[O]nce you get past names, dates, and whether the sky that day was blue or cloudy, the worst kind of misinformation in journalism is to be too sure about anything. That’s especially when dealing with complex technical issues, and even more especially when official sources seem invested in eliminating discussion of alternative scenarios of those issues,” he explained.

In their certainty that Republicans were dead wrong about the lab leak theory, “fact-checkers” like Kessler became everything they purport to hate. And now that they’ve finally realized that they were wrong, they seem to want to just act like nothing ever happened. Except it did, and as noted below, an apology would be nice.

Vivek Saxena

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