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Monday, October 12, 2020
Newsmax Gives Uncritical Platform To Misinformation About Coronavirus Origin
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax gave airtime to a conspiracy theory, as described in a Sept. 18 article by Brian Trusdell:

The Chinese virologist who fled her native country in April and claims the novel coronavirus was created in a lab in China says the communist government used a process to mask its origins because it was produced for nefarious purposes.

Dr. Yan Li-Meng told Newsmax TV on Friday that China used a process call gain of function, in which a virus can be passed through animals, to hide the genetically modified biomarkers that would indicate its man-made origin.

"This is done by the gain of function experiments because, as I said, I was a virologist and working on a vaccine study in that lab before," Yan told "Spicer & Co." "So what I can say is, based on the evidence after modification in the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, there clearly shows this is after the created and make this not harmful virus into the human, highly contagious and dangerous virus.

"And this gain of function process definitely did not have any medical purpose. It's not to make a helpful, or have us get [a] vaccine, or drugs. Not at all. I mean, this is totally go to the other side, to make it harmful."

Yan's claim that coronavirus was created in a lab has been repeatedly disproven by actual researchers. The paper Yan co-wrote making this claim has not yet been peer-reviewed (which Trusdell does concede later on in his article).National Geographic found numerous holes in Yan's study, prompting another virologist to note, "It looks legitimate because they use a lot of technical jargon. But in reality, a lot of what they're saying doesn't really make any sense."Further, Yan's paper was funded by the Rule of Law Society, created by former Trump adviser (and current indicted criminal) Steve Bannon.

Trusdell did not note any of this criticism of Yan's conclusions, and neither did Spicer. Thus, Newsmax is perpetuating misinformation.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:51 AM EDT

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