A New York Times opinion columnist was allowed to directly address the origins of COVID. The author questioned Dr. Fauci’s overt dismissal of the lab leak theory. That is radical for the New York Times.
The near-certainty with which Dr. Fauci spoke publicly of zoonotic crossover is somewhat incongruous with his private communications from that time. He knew there was real debate — he was in the thick of it. In public, he leaned hard into animal crossover; behind the scenes, he wrote that “I do not know how this evolved” but warned that he was concerned about “distortions on social media” of Covid’s origins.
Finally, some truth in the NY Times about the lab leak theory, but only in the op-ed section. The title of the piece is, “Dr. Fauci could have said a lot more.” That’s an understatement.
The author notes what the omitted:
They could have said that laboratories in Wuhan had indeed been studying bat viruses, including coronaviruses. Live bats were kept in the laboratories, and scientists occasionally carried out controversial forms of research in which viral strains are manipulated in ways that can make them more dangerous to humans. Both men worked for organizations that had a hand in moving U.S. taxpayer funds to the scientists in Wuhan — Dr. Daszak had been involved with Wuhan bat research for years; Dr. Fauci’s emails show his staff had recently reminded him of N.I.H. funding for the coronavirus work Dr. Daszak’s organization supported.
They could have acknowledged that while they believed the virus had reached humans as a zoonotic spillover from animals, accidental leaks are a known lab hazard and couldn’t yet be ruled out (even if the notion of using coronaviruses as a biological weapon was laughably improbable).
For many readers, this sort of approach keeps the Times from losing all credibility. It’s still light on assigning blame. That’s especially true given Dr. Fauci’s blatant dishonesty and consistent labeling people conspiracy theorists.
The author ends by saying 66% of Democrats and Republicans believe the lab leak theory. She attributes it to people believing that which was suppressed.