A White House reporter is calling out the mainstream media for downplaying — and often flatly rejecting the possibility that the novel coronavirus originated from a leak in a Chinese lab.
“I think a lot of people have egg on their face. This was an idea that was first put forward by Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, Donald Trump,” ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl said in an appearance Sunday on “This Week.”
Karl, who was responding to a question on why it was important that the lab leak theory was dismissed so aggressively, noted that Trump polarized some with his delivery, but “said flatly” that the virus came from a lab.
“Now serious people are saying it needs a serious inquiry,” Karl added.
Last Tuesday, President Biden ordered US spy agencies to conduct a 90-day investigation into whether COVID-19 was released by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In a statement, he revealed that two theories predominate current US official thinking: that the virus emerged naturally from animals or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
The White House said the next afternoon that it wasn’t ruling out any possibilities, including the deliberate release of the virus.
By that evening, the Senate had unanimously approved a measure requiring the federal government to declassify intelligence on the origins of COVID-19.
That bill, offered by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), was passed by unanimous consent, a method which expedites proceedings if no present member of the Senate objects.
It is not clear what the bill’s fate will be in the House, though it is likely to have bipartisan support.
Biden’s abrupt pivot came after weeks of the administration being on defense about deferring to the World Health Organization for answers on how the pandemic started.
The lab leak theory gained traction more recently, hitting the mainstream media this week after the Wall Street Journal reported that three employees at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell so ill that they were hospitalized in November 2019.
Prior to that, Facebook and Twitter would censor posts questioning if COVID was man-made, calling it disinformation.
Facebook confirmed that it would no longer censor content related to COVID origins in the wake of the reporting, though Twitter has opted to maintain their policy, refusing to allow such material on their site.