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Fox News Says Forget Wet Markets. The Virus Came from Wuhan’s Bio-Lab

The network has been strongly advancing its theory that the Wuhan virus emanated from the country's only Biosafety Level 4 biological laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which only by chance is near Wuhan's wet markets. The contention is that it is more likely that a lab employee became infected and then spread the virus to the outside world. This version has been reported by Bret Baier on his afternoon news program, "Special Report", and amplified by Tucker Carlson at night.

They point out that China first ascribed the virus vector to pangolins, a scaled ant- and termite-eating animal, then it was civets, sometimes called a type of cat, and now bats, but the wet markets are so-called because they sell fish, not these mammals, and the horseshoe bat in question is from far away, or as one Carlson guest said, "We all know now that a solitary bat did not fly 600 miles from its cave dwelling in another province to the city of Wuhan and land in someone's soup".

What we do know is that China has engaged in a determined cover-up to deflect blame from itself, infamously reprimanding the doctor who first reported trouble and then died from the disease, silencing journalists, blaming first the Italian military, in town earlier for the World Military Games, then the American military who attended a Wuhan conference, and has been, says Fox, "working frantically to destroy evidence". The accusation is that the wet market was made the villain to cover-up that the city is home to a level-4 bio-lab.

Labs such as the one in Wuhan work on deadly pathogens hopefully for the purpose of finding cures and not the creation bio-weapons. There are several around the world. The U.S. Army has a level-4 at Fort Meade in Maryland. It had its own moment in 1980 of a near Ebola breakout chronicled in a 1992 exposé titled "Crisis in the Hot Zone".

Some have said the Wuhan facility does not operate at level-4. An article in "Nature" from 2017 said "Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping". The U. S. State Department cables a year later voiced the same concern, citing dangerous safety practices at Wuhan.

Arkansas' Republican Senator Tom Cotton raised the issue back on February 16th on the Fox channel in an on-the-fly interview in the Capitol:

"A few miles away from that food market is China's only biosafety level-4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases. Now we don't have evidence that this disease originated there but because of China's duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning we need to at least ask the questions."

The Fox guest cited earlier, Steven Mosher, a population expert who focuses on China, seems to follow infectious diseases as well. He wonders whether the Wuhan lab had been working on the virus with "gain of function" technology whereby one makes an existing virus more infectious. Why? So as then to develop a vaccine or other cure to defeat it. Unsaid was the intimation that one's own population would then be protected, making viable unleashing the virus in an enemy country. Mosher's claim is that the laboratory director, Chaoyang Li, "has been using gain of function research for years to create new more deadly coronaviruses". A search of the Wuhan institute website lists her as a "principal investigator", not a lab director, though. She has a PhD from Penn State. Among 35 members of "our team" she is the only one without a photograph and her "Research interests" are listed as "N/A".

For Carlson it is conclusive:

"As of today, says someone in a position to know, there is — quote — almost unanimous agreement in the American intelligence gathering agencies that the virus currently destroying much of the world emerged from a lab in Wuhan. Almost unanimous. That's a phrase almost never used to describe any conclusion coming out of the intel community".

Regrettably, his arrogance means he cannot do reporting without disparaging everyone else. They "mocked Cotton as a paranoid lunatic", he says, with no examples of anything that severe. We are given clips of earlier news practitioners getting it wrong, although in fairness, some called the bio-lab notion a "conspiracy theory". For that, Fareed Zakaria is a "mediocrity". Brian Williams "simply joined the herd of other dumb people mocking a story they didn't understand". His crime was to say, "There is no evidence to support that". As yet, there isn't. A New York Times headline said, "Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked". Nor has it been debunked. His vindictiveness is because Carlson has a conspiracy theory of his own. "The people who bring you the news were lying about it". The rest of the media is covering for China. "China pushed that story to western media to deflect blame from itself and, of course, our press corps, as they always do, ate it up immediately".

Where the case becomes interesting is the difference between whether the virus derived from animals or the Chinese pathogen lab. The first is from nature, however ignorant the Chinese are not to safeguard the barrier. But the latter makes it a man-made disaster, compounded by China's secrecy and the refusal to provide the rest of the world with information that led to tens of thousands more deaths. Bret Baier reports that there are a lot of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that share that thinking, that China's cover-up in the early stages could have changed the dynamic of the contagion around the world for the worse. It becomes an issue of liability, and measured in trillions of dollars. Baier says Congress could amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which forbids Americans suing other countries. This would allow class action lawsuits against China and the Chinese Communist Party. Already, he says, two lawsuits against the CCP have been filed in Miami waiting for just that change.

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