Lab-leak theory no longer ‘fake news’ and other commentary

Gadfly: Lab-Leak Theory No Longer ‘Fake News’

Suddenly, “it’s okay to speculate about a lab leak” in China because the supply of COVID-19, snarks National Review’s Jim Geraghty. Ex-New York Times science author Donald McNeil Jr., 18 scientists in a letter to Science journal and even The Washington Post editorial board have now all backed the chance that the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan lab. There continues to be no “definitive case,” however “circumstantial evidence” has been “piling up.” What are the chances, in any case, “that a novel coronavirus” from bats would “spontaneously and independently cause an outbreak in the middle of a city that housed not one, but two laboratories researching novel coronaviruses” from bats?

Conservative: Enough ‘War on COVID’ Noise

US leaders framed the pandemic as a “war against an invisible enemy,” recalls Matthew Schmitz at The American Conservative, and quickly, “wartime spirit spread.” Yet that led to hubris and lockstep considering like that within the speedy post-9/11 years — when “grand schemes were overwhelmed by unintended consequences. Americans felt a spirit of national solidarity, but the seemingly endless wars on which we embarked only deepened our social divides.” Likewise, “our latest war, another project of our bipartisan leadership class,” has led to draconian restrictions on the rights to worship and freely affiliate and senseless acceptance of symbolic conformity, with masks changing flag pins, whilst lockdowns “empowered the rich, squeezed the middle and left more Americans dependent on public support.” Even if the COVID battle “does not become another endless war, it will have left our country less united, less safe and less free.”

From the left: The Media’s Meltdown

“American media is a disaster,” declares Jesse Singal at Spectator USA, with “a heightened sense among many mainstream journalists” that they aren’t simply “observers, but active participants in vital social-justice battles.” The “fight over where the line between journalism and activism should lie — or if there should be one at all — has sparked . . . high-profile internal meltdowns at elite journalistic institutions.” The New York Times alone has seen a number of ousters; Editorial Page Editor James Bennet left after working a chunk by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton that led some staffers to argue, as Singal places it, that “merely printing a column expressing a commonly held belief causes danger to one’s colleagues.” The loons are a “tiny fraction of the paper’s” workers, however this “very passionate vanguard” has exerted “a surprising amount of influence” by claiming anybody who disagrees is “an enemy of justice itself.”

From the Right: The Press Can’t Move On

Most Republicans in Congress concentrate on blocking President Biden’s agenda to “recklessly spend trillions of dollars, wreck the economy, ­declare open borders, worsen the racial divide and mishandle a tense Middle East, not to mention pack the Supreme Court and make Washington, DC, a state,” notes the Washington Examiner’s Byron York. They ousted Liz Cheney from management as a result of she insisted that “Republicans must attack former President Donald Trump and his claim that the election was rigged before they could move on to pursuing their own agenda.” And most within the media agree that “Republicans should not be able to discuss issues — cannot be believed on issues — until they banish Trump,” no matter that the general public desires Washington ­centered on extra pressing, forward-looking points.

Libertarian: Biden Taps a Kangeroo-Court Fan

“Catherine Lhamon, who served as assistant secretary for civil rights within President Barack Obama’s Education Department,” simply bought nominated for her outdated job, reports Robby Soave at Reason. Under Obama, she “compelled colleges and universities to adopt sexual-misconduct procedures that violated the due-process and free-speech rights of accused students and professors.” Team Trump reined in that insanity, but when she is confirmed, free-speech activists warn, “the Department of Education will return to its discredited practice of trampling student rights.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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