File under: Small wonder. For your consideration:
(a few snippets of the long exposé above marked Creative Commons):
“WUHAN, CHINA — The theory that the COVID-19 pandemic began life in a Chinese laboratory is going viral. Once considering it an anti-science conspiracy theory, the corporate press has done a full 180° turn — and many progressive, alternative media figures are following in its footsteps.
Progressive news show “The Young Turks” recorded what was effectively an apology video to their audience, explaining their new direction. “It does appear that there is some indication that a lab leak in Wuhan, China, is the origin of the coronavirus pandemic,” host Ana Kasparian told viewers. Condemning the scientific journal The Lancet, co-host Cenk Uygur explained that he had falsely placed his faith in scientists with political motives who had led him astray. Writing in The Guardian, left-wing commentator Thomas Frank flagellated himself for his “complacency” in believing the idea was a far-right conspiracy theory. The lab leak is “the most likely explanation for the origin of COVID-19,” Saagar Enjeti told his mostly progressive viewership of “Rising,” announcing that, from now on, we should be “ten times more skeptical of the Chinese government.”
This new change in outlook for so many progressive media outlets is not based on new evidence. Rather, it appears to be a result of two new articles and a change in stance from the Biden administration itself. In early May, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists republished a Medium blog post by controversial science writer Nicholas Wade. In an 11,000-word essay, Wade claims that Wuhan itself is simply far too far away from Yunnan Province — where coronavirus-carrying bats make their home — for it to be the natural source of COVID-19. The most logical explanation, Wade asserts, is that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” […]
“Professor David Robertson — Head of Viral Genomics and Bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, U.K. — told MintPress:
It’s not very clear, given the lack of new (or any) credible evidence for a lab leak, why it’s been getting so much attention. There was a letter published in Science in May that quite sensibly supports the need for further investigation but this seems to have been hijacked by a vocal minority who are essentially advocates for a lab being involved as opposed to looking at the broader range of possibilities, and what the available evidence points towards.”
In addition to mainstream outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, a host of alternative media figures have lent credibility to Wade, basing their new opinions on his work. On the “Bad Faith” podcast with former Bernie Sanders Press Secretary Briahna Joy Gray, Thomas Frank described Wade’s article as an “incredible piece of journalism,” “quite impressive” and “the likeliest explanation.” Gray appeared to agree, the two having a long conversation about the origins of COVID-19 as if Wade’s thesis has effectively been proven correct. Journalist Michael Tracey wrote that Wade’s words prove the theory is “highly plausible.” Current Affairs Editor-in-Chief Nathan J. Robinson praised Wade’s report, agreeing that it is “at the very least, a spectacular coincidence” that COVID-19 exploded so close to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Meanwhile, Enjeti based a segment called “Media’s Lab Leak Failure Is the Next Iraq WMD” on the Wall Street Journal article, telling viewers that the lab leak theory is now “the most likely explanation for the origin of COVID-19.” Popular writer Matt Taibbi also took The Wall Street Journal’s accusations at face value, claiming that “the toothpaste [is] fully out of the tube: there [is] no longer any way to say the ‘lab origin’ hypothesis [is] too silly to be reported upon.”
Other headings include:
A theory resting on shaky ground
“What is particularly worrying in all this is that there are huge, gaping flaws in the analysis. First, Wade is not some neutral expert but a discredited, racist pseudoscientist. His 2014 book, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” contends that humanity could be broken down genetically into three distinct groups — Africans, Caucasians and East Asians — and that each are sufficiently genetically distinct from each other as to qualify as subspecies. He argued that Caucasians’ genes could explain “the rise of the West” and that African nations are poorer because they are inherently more violent and lazy, writing: “Variations in their nature, such as their time preference, work ethic and propensity to violence, have some bearing on the economic decisions [Africans] make.” Laughably, he later speculates that Asian women have smaller breasts because that is what is “much admired by Asian men.”
Cold warriors’ favorite theory
Ignoring the science
“While distinctly unfashionable in 2020, the lab leak idea was kept alive by warmongering neoconservative journalists like Josh Rogin of The Washington Post, who is now a regular guest on progressive media platforms like Krystal Ball and Enjeti’s “Breaking Points.” “You almost have to see it to believe how depraved this is. Indistinguishable from ‘Fox and Friends,’” remarked a dismayed Sam Sacks of Means TV.
The coming war on China
(A few bits and bobs:)
“Earlier this year, NATO think tank the Atlantic Council published a 26,000-word report laying out its strategy to suffocate the People’s Republic. It advised Biden to draw a number of red lines around the country, past which the U.S. would directly intervene (presumably militarily). These include Chinese attempts to expand into the South China Sea, an attack on the disputed Senkaku Islands, and moves against Taiwan’s independence. A North Korean strike on any of its neighbors would also necessitate an American response against China, the report insists, because “China must fully own responsibility for the behavior of its North Korean ally.” Any backing down from this stance, the Council states, would result in national “humiliation” for the United States. If this could all be established, it noted, regime change in Beijing could be a distinct possibility. Top military officials like Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster have called for the establishment of an “Asian NATO” to achieve this dream. already there are well over 400 military bases encircling the country.” […]
“In addition to the military buildup, the U.S. has begun an economic and information war against Beijing, the Trump administration placing sanctions on the country and attempting to halt the expansion of the Belt and Road initiative, block Huawei’s global 5G rollout, and force Chinese-owned social media app TikTok to sell to an American company. At the same time, Twitter, under counsel from a U.S.-funded think tank, decided to delete more than 170,000 Chinese accounts in a single day, the think tank having accused them of spreading pro-China narratives.
Also by Alan Macleod, this deep exposé. Given that a) I used to like The Rising duo, but haven’t watched for ages due to extreme health concerns, b) I haven’t watched their Breaking Points, so c) I’d find your feedback welcome, even knowing that I may not answer in anything close to ‘in a timely fashion’. Real Life chores and obligations for me proceed at a snail’s pace.
‘War-Hawk “Rising”; Saagar Enjeti: The Pseudo-Populist Mainlining Neocon Ideas into Progressive Politics; While he is undeniably a charismatic and confident host, Saagar Enjeti’s schtick is remarkably similar to that of his former employer Tucker Carlson, who also rails against elites while being one of them’, July 2, 2021
Jul 1 1/ It’s been 1 month since @krystalball and I announced Breaking Points. In that month we have nearly half a million subscribers on Youtube, became the number 1 political podcast in the country, and routinely trash cable news primetime in overall/key demo numbers
“Ball is a progressive while Enjeti is a conservative. Nevertheless, both present themselves as populists who have a lot in common, something that was the central message of their bestselling book, “The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and Left are Rising.” While Ball’s political outlook could be described as relatively standard, Bernie Sanders-style populism, Enjeti is more of an enigma. While he identifies as a conservative Republican, he also labels himself a pro-worker, pro-union populist.
Key to his appeal is convincing progressive audiences that, although a conservative, he is still a political outsider with views not too dissimilar from their own. Yet a look into Enjeti’s background and professional career suggests otherwise — that he is very much an insider and is pulling a similar trick to so many Republicans of late who are rebranding as anti-elite, anti-deep state warriors, all the while mainstreaming some highly problematic viewpoints to his audience.”
Other fascinating, if damning, headings include:
A neocon in the making
Gonna study war some more
A Hudson obsession
The populist’s guide to hating China
“While “Rising” has a distinctly progressive audience, Enjeti has been pushing the Hudson’s neoconservative talking points on foreign policy. Enjeti is an unabashed imperialist who wants the United States to control the planet. As he stated himself on “The Realignment:”:
I am not for a multipolar world…I want to be the only blue water navy, I don’t want the Chinese ruling the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.”
“Undisclosed in all this is the gigantic conflict of interest inherent in the fact that Enjeti’s salary at the Hudson Institute came courtesy of piles of cash donated by the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry.”
(cross-posted at caucus99percnt.com)