COMPASS: Corporate media’s COVID-origin groupthink unravels

May 24th, 2021

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. Apparently we, along with 15 other states from Pennsylvania to northern Georgia to eastern Illinois, are living through the once-every-17-year occurrence of cicada-apocalypse.

Brood X (pronounced “Brood 10”) is emerging from its slumber, crawling out of the dirt to eat, mate, and torture us all. According to the Washington Post, “three species make up Brood X, and they are known for their fire-engine-red eyes, their loud choruses and their dramatic emergence every 17 years.” Last year we had a plague, this year we have….cicadas.

The House is out this week, but the Senate is in session. This week the Senate will finish consideration of the 1,400 page Early Frontier Act, a bill designed to address competition with China in the areas of high-tech research. (If you missed it last week, I outlined some concerns with the Senate’s approach.) The $110 billion bill is packed with pet provisions from lawmakers.

The Senate may also consider the controversial nomination of Kirsten Clarke to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division. The Senate’s Judiciary Committee deadlocked on her nomination, which would ordinarily result in the nomination failing to move forward. However, under special rules agreed to by Senate Republicans to govern a 50-50 Senate, tied nominees are automatically discharged to the Senate floor. The Senate voted 50-48 last week to break the tie, with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine crossing party lines.

Clarke faces stiff opposition from Republicans, who point to her record as a radical anti-police activist with a troubling history of working with an anti-Semitic activist while in law school. She has been publicly critical of Republican senators, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and called Trump judicial nominees “white male extremists.” Clarke has also argued that blacks are genetically superior to whites.

Finally, the Senate may consider legislation to create an independent commission to review the events of January 6. The House last week approved legislation establishing the commission, with full support from Democrats, joined by 35 House Republicans. Four Republican senators have expressed openness to voting for the bill: Cassidy (LA), Collins (ME), Crapo (ID), and Romney (UT). 11 Republicans indicated they are considering the legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) has said he is opposed. The legislation would need 10 Republican votes to advance.

One final thought. You may recall this time last year, as COVID19 was raging and the American economy was in full lockdown, there was some speculation as to the origin of the virus. The official narrative, enforced by the World Health Organization, was that COVID19 jumped from animal to human at a Chinese wet market. Several prominent political figures like President Trump and Senator Tom Cotton, however, raised the possibility that the virus escaped from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology — China’s only Biosafety Level-4 lab, permitted to handle the world’s most dangerous known pathogens.

Both men were ridiculed and publicly shamed in the corporate press. Many who engaged in public speculation or support of the theory on social media were suspended or a banned. Politifact, the Washington Post “fact-checker,” called the claim a “debunked conspiracy theory” and rated it “pants on fire.” (The group quietly retracted the “fact-check” last week.) USA Today called it a “myth.” CNN said Sen. Cotton was playing a “dangerous game.” The New York Times proclaimed it a “fringe theory.”

In other words, rather than engaging in the honest, objective scrutiny that used to be the hallmark of journalism, or allowing the free speech that is the germ of thoughtful inquiry, our corporate and social media enforced fact-less groupthink.

Now, it looks like the lab leak theory may, in fact, be true. And worse, it looks like the research effort was funded by the American taxpayer — approved by none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci.

I’m sure all the journalists, tech CEOs, and “smart set” in Washington who mocked this very idea a year ago will repent of their arrogant dismissals and condemnations, and apologize for being taken for a ride — and forcing everyone else to follow. Except this is Washington, where repeatedly failing at the core function of your profession usually just means another promotion.

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