Washington Post is again trying to convince us of something sinister in Wuhan
Anthony Moretti
An overview of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 17, 2020. /CFP

An overview of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 17, 2020. /CFP

Editor's note: Anthony Moretti is an associate professor at the Department of Communication and Organizational Leadership, Robert Morris University. The article reflects the author's views and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Just when you thought the Western media might be growing tired of telling stories about the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), along comes the Washington Post  to ruin your day.

The newspaper delivered this heart-pounding headline to a report it circulated on September 7: "Inside the Wuhan lab: French engineering, deadly viruses and a big mystery."

According to the four reporters who created this latest fairy tale about the institute that Western media are convinced houses deep, dark secrets about the origins of the coronavirus: "Not everything there was meant for public eyes. Asked in 2018 what kind of viruses they kept by a reporter for the state-run Guangzhou Daily, the P4 lab's deputy director, Song Donglin, replied that 'disclosure of this kind of information must be controlled.' WIV management has reminded staffers for years about state-secrets requirements and to be wary of foreign spies."

I defy these same reporters to walk up to scientists at the most elite labs in the U.S. and demand to know what viruses are under examination inside those walls. Good luck getting an answer to that question. Oh, and those reporters should anticipate that some governmental agency would likely want to have a chat with them.

Put another way: If U.S. scientists refuse to provide such information, they are honestly engaging in protecting vital national security interests. But when Chinese scientists do the same thing, they are hiding something. 

How simple, how nonsensical and how littered with bias. 

The Washington Post story then attempts to undermine the credibility of one of the scientists working inside the Wuhan lab. The reporters suggest the scientist "feared that the virus could have come from her lab," but later that same scientist became "adamant that the WIV never crossed paths with the virus, saying that she checked the lab records and that all staffers tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies."

"Adamant." That is a polite way of saying the scientist dared to do what scientists should do -- verify their research -- and then came up with a response Western media did not approve of.

Mind you, an Australian virologist who was working alongside the Chinese team in Wuhan in late 2019 has said very much the same thing about the integrity of the research taking place in Wuhan and about the absence of any illnesses. 

Chinese worker back to work after the containment of COVID-19 pandemic, August 15, 2021. /CFP

Chinese worker back to work after the containment of COVID-19 pandemic, August 15, 2021. /CFP

Dr. Danielle Anderson conducted a lengthy interview with Bloomberg News a couple of months ago. In that story, she was described as a "rising star in the virology community." In her conversation with Bloomberg she noted there was no indication of anyone inside the lab contracting symptoms akin to coronavirus.

Dr. Anderson said, "If people were sick, I assume that I would have been sick — and I wasn't." She confirmed she was "tested for coronavirus in Singapore," where she traveled immediately after leaving China, before she received a vaccine and at no point became ill. She later added that a group of scientists who gathered for an international conference also had no information about a potentially dangerous virus inside China.

Of course none of this matters because the Western narrative that must be told is that China is deliberately hiding what unfolded inside the Wuhan institute in late 2019. Be open-minded about other scenarios? Do that and risk the accusation of being a dupe for the Chinese.  

Absent from the Washington Post story are facts about the institute's commitment to uncovering what caused the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps the most relevant information comes from 18 scientists working in four different countries who submitted a letter to the journal Science a few months ago. They made clear the initial international investigation concluded with a high degree of confidence that a laboratory incident was "extremely unlikely" to explain the cause of the pandemic. In layman's terms: There was no "lab leak." Perhaps more importantly, the scientists announced that the cooperation of the Chinese team was vital in allowing this determination to be made. 

We should not mince words here: There is no way the Western media can - or will - let go of the idea that sinister science was being conducted inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology. If another and then another credible international examination of its practices were to take place, the media would continue to tell their audiences the same thing: The Chinese are hiding something.

Perhaps Colin Powell, who served as Secretary of State when George W. Bush was president, should make the case. He certainly had tremendous success in convincing international audiences that the Iraqis were hiding weapons of mass destruction in the early 2000s. That barrel of lies led to two wars costing well over $2 trillion. 

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