Remember how, until just this week, anyone who suggested that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab was called a Trump-style conspiracy nut? Well, the mainstream media is treating election fraud the exact same way.
Soon after Sen. Tom Cotton said that COVID-19 might have originated in a Wuhan lab, the media pounced. The Washington Post accused Sen. Cotton of repeating an already “debunked” coronavirus “conspiracy theory.” Anyone who brought it up got similar treatment.
USA Today called the lab-leak story a “myth.” The New York Times called it a “fringe theory.” Others called it “baseless.” Fact-checking site Politifact said the claim that COVID originated in a lab “is inaccurate and ridiculous. We rate it Pants on Fire!”
Just two months ago, ABC News ran a story headlined: “Sorry, conspiracy theorists. Study concludes COVID-19 ‘is not a laboratory construct'”.
And just days ago, Forbes ran a story declaring that “Science Clearly Shows That COVID-19 Wasn’t Leaked From A Wuhan Lab.” Up until this week, Facebook was taking down posts that suggested COVID was man-made.
But now reporters are all furiously backpedaling as the idea that the virus originated in a lab has suddenly gained credibility in the wake of new revelations. Politifact even retracted its bogus “fact check.”
Leftist reporter Matthew Yglesias took the time to trace how the media came to decide in lockstep that any claim of a lab leak was a lie, and concluded that the press coverage over the past year was “a huge f—up.”
This revelation of media malpractice, by the way, comes shortly after the press got caught peddling a bogus story that Russia was paying bounties to Taliban who killed U.S. soldiers, and widespread reporting that Capitol Building “rioters” killed Officer Brian Sicknick during the melee.
Yet even as the press grudgingly admits that it horribly mishandled the Wuhan lab leak story and in the process needlessly besmirched those who brought it up, these same outlets are playing the same game with the election fraud story.
As with the lab leak theory, we have been told repeatedly that there is no evidence to back it up. We’re told that court cases alleging election fraud were dismissed. We’re told, as with the Wuhan lab story, that the experts all agree that there’s no truth to election fraud claims. And we’re told that anyone who suggests fraud took place in the November 2020 elections is a Trump-loving conspiracy nut.
Here’s a typical headline, this one from CNN: “Arizona, Georgia audits move forward as Republicans continue to push election fraud lies.”
And as with the lab leak story, the narrative being peddled by the press just happens to fit into their political bias. The press was happy to dismiss the Wuhan lab story because President Trump was among those suggesting it. They’re happy to dismiss any claims of election fraud for the same reason.
Never mind that, as with the lab leak story, there is reason to doubt the media’s chosen narrative. There’s no question that strange things were happening on election night. There is no doubt that the Democrats’ push for universal mail-in balloting made fraud easier to commit. There are reasons to doubt several of the official election counts.
A credible press would investigate such claims on their own, and even call for their own audits – as they did after the disputed Florida election in 2000 when they sent armies of reporters down to the state to conduct their own ballot recounts.
But no. The press will allow no one to make such claims without labeling them “conspiracy mongers,” or “ridiculous,” or calling any such claims “fringe theory,” “baseless,” a “myth” or any of the other pejoratives they so assuredly hurled at those mentioning the Wuhan lab. States that are prudently enacting election integrity laws are routinely demonized as trying to “restrict” or “suppress” voting to appease Trump’s warped fantasies.
Of course, the lab origin theory for COVID may in the end not pan out, just as election audits might not turn up evidence of massive fraud. But what we are seeing more and more is what happens when the press decides that its job isn’t to report the news but to push a biased and partisan narrative. They get things terribly wrong.
So, the question for today isn’t so much “Is the election fraud story bogus?” as it is “When will the press be forced to admit that it had f—d up that story, too?”
Correction: The editorial had misspelled Sen. Tom Cotton’s first name. It has been corrected.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board