How Significant is the Energy Dept's New COVID-19 Origin Stance?
The Energy Department (DOE) thinks COVID-19 "most likely" leaked from a Chinese lab. How does that change the COVID-19 origin debate?
The DOE's Role: The DOE has an Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and also oversees 17 labs, some of which conduct biological research. Its "low confidence" assessment (as opposed to "medium," like the FBI's) that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is based on new, classified intel.
It's Not a Big Deal: Left-rated media covered the news less than right-rated outlets. Many focused on the lack of consensus or other intel groups' support for the animal-to-human origin theory. That's the "prevailing theory," according to one MSNBC writer, who suggested that any new evidence "will be weaponized as virulent misinformation instead."
It's a Big Deal: Right-rated outlets prominently covered the story. One National Review (Right bias) writer highlighted mismanagement of U.S.-funded gain of function research at WIV, and the possibility that the U.S. helped spur the pandemic. A Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) writer called out some journalist's prior efforts "to suppress the story." The Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board said the world deserves transparency on what the "evidence says about [COVID-19's] origin."
It's an Unwinnable Fight: A Center-rated USA TODAY (Lean Left bias) writer criticized the infighting, arguing that we'll never truly know the origins and calling for media and government "to pay attention to the real threat in regards to future pandemics."
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the LeftThe Energy Department's lab leak assessment isn't a smoking gun
A classified intelligence report recently delivered to Congress included the Energy Department's assessment that it is “likely” that Covid-19 first spread after a laboratory leak in Wuhan, China, two sources with direct knowledge told NBC News.
That’s likely to be a major topic of conversation for the first hearing of the House Oversight Committee’s new Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. Tuesday’s roundtable ostensibly will focus on speaking to doctors about policy decisions made during the crisis, but the panel’s Republican members are sure to highlight the lab leak theory. Despite their likely enthusiasm,...
From the CenterWe'll never know the full truth about COVID-19 origins. Political infighting won't help.
With recent revelations about the Department of Energy now saying that COVID-19 most likely came from a lab leak, and Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and their own version of the COVID-19 select committee, the raging debate about COVID origins has come back to the forefront.
This is a debate that stirs emotions like few other aspects of the pandemic. The truth is, we will never know the full truth about the origins of a virus that has killed millions, decimated a global economy, and set children’s education and development back – and that’s exactly the problem.
From the RightThe ‘Not a Consensus’ Wuhan Covid Dodge
White House spokespersons played the press corps like a Stradivarius on Monday as they ducked questions about Sunday’s report that the Energy Department has concluded the Covid virus probably originated in a Chinese laboratory.
“There is not a consensus right now in the U.S. government about exactly how Covid started,” said John Kirby, the White House national-security spokesman. “There is just not an intelligence community consensus.”
So what? When was the last time there was an intelligence community consensus on anything? No reporter asked Mr. Kirby that question, but we don’t...
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