Much of the media last year was quick to dismiss the possibility that the virus stemmed from a leak from the Wuhan Virology Lab in China, a theory that was promoted by top Republicans including Cotton and then-President Trump and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Over the weekend, however, the Post revised the February 2020 report which had the headline, “Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked.”
“Earlier versions of this story and its headline inaccurately characterized comments by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) regarding the origins of the coronavirus,” the correction read at the top of the report. “The term ‘debunked’ and The Post’s use of ‘conspiracy theory’ have been removed because, then as now, there was no determination about the origins of the virus.”
The headline was changed to “Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus fringe theory that scientists have disputed.”
Despite being a year late, the media is finally taking the lab-leak theory seriously after the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. intelligence believes that at least three Wuhan scientists were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms back in November 2019.
Many members of the media have since attempted to spin the recent developments and come up with excuses for dismissing the theory in the first place.
Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire accused former President Trump and his allies of “practicing revisionist history,” while New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman blamed him and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for casting doubt within the media for withholding evidence to back their claims.
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler similarly raised eyebrows for declaring that the theory is “suddenly credible.”
Trump issued a statement last week touting that he was “right” about the virus’s origins even though he was “badly criticized” at the time.