How exactly did the coronavirus pandemic begin? More than a year after the outbreak spread across — and upended — the world, we still do not have a firm answer. But new reporting has sparked renewed interest in the virus’ origins. And with cases and deaths on the decline in the US, the topic is back in the spotlight.
“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” Biden said in his statement announcing his directive to the intel community. “Here is their current position: ‘while two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter — each with low or moderate confidence — the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.'”
Right-wing media personalities and outlets have used the new — though limited — information that has come to light to take a victory lap and skewer mainstream journalists for their previous coverage. Some of the criticism about journalists rejecting the lab leak theory out of hand is fair. But some of the criticism conflates the journalists who poured cold water on the idea that the virus was an engineered bioweapon — a theory once floated by some prominent Fox personalities — with the possibility that it accidentally leaked from a lab. Those two things are not the same. Bottom line: It’s way more complicated than partisans are making it to be.
“That made this instantly political”
New York Times reporter frustrates colleagues with tweet
Some staffers in the New York Times newsroom were quite displeased by Mandavilli’s tweet, a source told me. The source said that the staffers they spoke with were frustrated that a reporter would make such an assertion online as her colleagues actively work to report on the origins of the coronavirus — including the possibility of a lab leak. The source added that those staffers were also frustrated by the fact that Mandavilli’s tweet gave the right free ammunition to attack the paper…