While many Western media outlets (e.g., NBC, 5/4/20; BBC, 4/26/20) reported on the evidence-free speculations surrounding a potential lab leak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China’s Hubei province last year (FAIR.org, 4/17/20), it has never enjoyed as much mainstream credibility as it has in recent months. Although several reports in 2020 uncritically parroted US officials like Sen. Tom Cotton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and discredited defectors like Yan Li-Meng, there were also many reports at the time disputing and dismissing their claims of a lab leak as a “conspiracy theory” (e.g., Vox, 3/12/20; AP, 12/17/20; Business Insider, 6/2/21). Nowadays, an abundance of Western media reports purport to explain how the once-dismissed theory that SARS-CoV-2 came out of a Chinese lab in Wuhan has gained more credibility among journalists and the US public.
At the current moment, China seems to offer one alternative model: a better, people-centered approach to public health, governance, and development. As the jubilant schadenfreude against China suddenly turned suddenly to jealous rage for its successes in containment, the desire to re-direct confusion and outrage outward against the Chinese became evident: it ties to the current global moment where the US is losing its global “leadership” status, during an election season that needs to distract and redirect blame, and in a historical moment where the US has declared China an enemy, waged hybrid warfare, and is rooting around for reasons to further escalate hostilities against it. This is the reason for the ceaseless propaganda war--the absurdities pronounced daily and relentlessly, the absurdities, as Voltaire put it, that prepare you for atrocities: the atrocity of kinetic war.
On Saturday, I took a deep dive into the origin of SARS CoV-2, the virus that is the cause of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. That post was the result of several long days of deep reading and thinking. Somehow, I missed that Scientific American had put out an update on Friday of their profile of Dr. Shi Zhengli, the scientist responsible for much of what the world knows about bat coronaviruses, including isolating the bat coronavirus from Yunnan Province that is the closest relative to SARS CoV-2 that has been seen in a laboratory. Even worse, commenter Zinsky linked to the Scientific American article in one of the earliest comments on my post. I finally got around to reading the article today. As you might imagine, this editor’s note at the top really got my attention...