Fox News and Republicans have a new piece of COVID propaganda for their war against Democrats – a Republican report suggesting there’s proof COVID-19 was developed as a weapon by the Chinese.
FoxNews.com’s own headline shows there’s no proof in the Republican report:
Wuhan lab report raises further questions about possible COVID-19 lab leak
The first three paragraphs of the article explicitly report there’s only circumstantial evidence (my emphases added)
Months ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab requested bids for major renovations to air safety and waste treatment systems in research facilities that had been operational for less than 2 years, according to a new congressional report on the pandemic’s origins, obtained by Fox News.
"Such a significant renovation so soon after the facility began operation appears unusual," said the report from the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Republican staff. The projects for air disinfection, hazardous waste and central air conditioning systems "all raise questions about how well these systems were functioning in the months prior to the outbreak of COVID-19."
The true reason for the procurement posting is unclear, as is when or if the work was even initiated. It adds another circumstantial element to the controversial argument that the pandemic began in a Wuhan lab, including suspicious behavior and obfuscation from China’s government and signs the pandemic began months before previously assumed.
Further indication that there’s no hard evidence is that the top news on FoxNews.com as I write this is the network’s default message (seen all day and night) that the country is riddled with crime. Or to put it another way, you should be more afraid of a dangerous person of color enabled by “woke” Democrats than by the coronavirus.
And now it looks like the GOP plans to throw China into the “dangerous persons of color” category.
As the Fox News article noted, the U.S. intelligence community will soon complete its own review of the origins of the pandemic. So, why is the GOP jumping the gun with unproven insinuations? I could guess that it’s because they know the intel won’t prove their case.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) spiked the political football on Fox's America's Newsroom show this morning. McCaul is in a good position to know what the intel has found. He’s the Republican leader on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the chairman emeritus of the Homeland Security Committee.
There to help with the messaging was co-anchor Bill Hemmer.
Reporter Rich Edson, who also wrote the FoxNews.com report, reiterated the inconclusive nature of the Republican “evidence” in his introduction to the discussion. But Hemmer’s opening question was, “Are you comfortable saying this was a lab leak or was it done with intent?” even though Fox’s own reporter had just acknowledged it’s not known if the virus originated in a lab at all.
McCaul, again seeming to read from notes, said the lab leak was “likely accidental.” He hyped a few more suspicious-sounding but inconclusive details that were much less than hard-core evidence: Concerns were expressed about the lab’s safety protocols, the lab took its genetic sequencing database offline “in the middle of the night,” a number of people got sick in September, 2019, and satellite technology shows “in September, there’s a lot of activity at the hospitals.”
“I think they were involved in a cover-up. It’s the greatest cover-up in human history,” McCaul asserted.
Hemmer followed up with a clip of former Trump Secretary of State, current Fox News contributor and presidential hopeful Mike Pompeo saying, “We know what happened in Wuhan … and we know what the Chinese Communist Party did to the rest of the world” and “real costs have to be imposed.”
As Fox’s own Chris Wallace pointed out to Pompeo, the Trump administration had almost a year to prove the lab leak theory but never did.
Not surprisingly, Hemmer didn’t mention that. He advanced the messaging by “asking,” “That Community Party’s never gonna allow the world to get an answer, will it?”
“No,” agreed McCaul. He claimed that the Chinese databases taken offline are “the smoking gun,” even though it's unknown what, exactly, is in them.
After McCaul called for Congressional testimony and sanctions against the researchers supposedly responsible, Hemmer made sure the report got weaponized against Democrats, always Fox’s top goal.
“One last question, what are Democrats in Congress doing, what is President Biden doing to help in that?” Hemmer asked. Never mind that President Joe Biden and the Democrats are surely waiting for the U.S. intelligence community to complete its work in a few weeks before deciding on any course of action.
“Not much,” McCaul said, without noting that the IC report is coming soon. “They don’t really, Bill, seem to have much of an appetite for this and for the life of me, I don’t understand why.” Then he laughably claimed that “it’s very important that this be bipartisan.”
Oh, and while he was at it, McCaul got in a gratuitous dig at the January 6th investigation. “If we’re going to talk about commissions, for God’s sakes, something like this, we should have a bipartisan commission and get to the bottom of it.”
It’s a safe bet that a bigger GOP firebrand, probably Pompeo or more, will be pushing this report with the same talking points, but with more incendiary rhetoric, on Fox prime time tonight.
Sure, it's possible that this conspiracy theory is true. But the responsible way to prove it and deal with it would be to wait for hard evidence and soberly decide on a course of action. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a textbook case in how Fox and the Republicans work hand-in-hand to spread propaganda, fear, mistrust and polarization around a vitally important issue.
You can watch the propaganda sausage being made below, from the August 20, 2021 America’s Newsroom.
The “logic” on Fox is not worthy of the name. And what they present as “thinking” needs to be translated as “talking points”; thrown at the wall in hope that something will take hold in the viewers’ minds.
Had the Chinese government created the virus intentionally as a weapon, I’m pretty sure they would also have created a way to avoid having to resort to total lockdowns of their own cities and regions.
It is so typical of Wrinkled Rupert’s nasty little organ to distract from the actual emergency by pointing off-screen and shrieking “It’s their fault!” Kinda like looking at the runaway bus that’s hurtling toward your family and cursing the company that was contracted to supply brake parts to Chrysler.