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Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Newsmax Thinks Its COVID Origin Conspiracy-Mongering Isn't 'Anything Unusual'
Topic: Newsmax

We've noted how defensive Newsmax has become as its questionable and highly biased reporting has come under scrutiny. In a Feb. 22 article repeating its claim that Newsmax's reporting on election fraud and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was just fine, this defense was also added:

The Democratic letter also alleges that Newsmax "amplified allegations that members of the Chinese Communist Party helped to develop the COVID-19 vaccine." Newsmax stated it has no idea what House Democrats are alleging here, as Newsmax did not report anything unusual about China and the COVID-19 vaccine.

In fact -- given that many conservarives assume that the actions of the virology lab in Wuhan, China, reflect the actions of the Chinese Communist Party -- Newsmax has pushed the dubious idea that thte coronavirus was created and/or released from the Wuhan lab. This happened as far back as Januaruy 2020, when Clare Lopez declared, under the headline "Did Wuhan Coronavirus Escape from a Lab in China?" that "the Chinese regime still has a clandestine offensive [biological weapons] program that not only works with advanced laboratory tools like CRISPR to develop some of the most deadly pathogens on earth, but possibly does not have adequate protocols in place to prevent their escape into the public," adding that "Wuhan is also the site of the communist regime’s only declared BSL-4 (Biosafety Level 4) or P4 (Pathogen Level 4) facility, the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

That sort of conspiratorial speculation continued. For instance:

  • In an April 2020 column, Larry Bell touted a Fox News report in which "the multiple unnamed information sources indicated that the release of the deadly virus most likely resulted when a lab intern at the top biosafety level-4 Wuhan Virology Institute, became accidentally infected due to lax safety protocols, then later infected her boyfriend."
  • Also in April, Newsmax hyped "circumstantial evidence" that "a Wuhan, China, laboratory released COVID-19 on the world."
  • In September, Bell speculated that the virus "was bio engineered for non-malevolent purposes in a research laboratory." Also in September, Newsmax promoted claims from Chinese scientist Li-Meng Yan that the virus was "conveniently created" in the Wuhan lab. (Yan's research has been discredited.)
  • Also that month, a Newsmax column by Tom Borelli attacked a reserarcher who was a member of a COVID-19 commission assembled by prestigious medical journal The Lancet and has criticized the idea that the virus was created in a lab, asserting that he runs an organization "that received NIH funding to conduct bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute for Virology" and that it's in his "professional interest if the virus was naturally occurring since he would have a reason to seek more grant money to study bat coronaviruses in China."
  • A Feb. 10 column by Rand Fishbein pushed the iead that there is a "mounting body of evidence that COVID-19 is almost certainly laboratory modified virus and not a naturally occurring phenomena."(Newsmax did stick a disclaimer on Fishbein's column noting that it "has been authored by a non-clinician."

Newsmax may not think such conspiratorial speculation is "anything unusual," but that just shows how much time Newsmax has spent over the years spreading conspiracy theories.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:55 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 6:01 PM EST

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