China peddles conspiracy theories (1)

The researcher Gilles Demaneuf has compiled a useful list of “Some basic errors commonly repeated in relation to Covid-19 origins.”

This is handy because even now, the media continue to perpetuate misunderstandings and misinformation on Covid origins, including those intentionally spread by the Chinese government as part of its efforts to deflect attention from its actions.

As for why misinformation continues, one supposes it has to do both with (a), the complexity of the issues and the science; and above all, (b), how we are living the aftermath of how major media outlets and some researchers (despite the absence of scientific evidence either way) went along with the Chinese government’s tabooing and blocking of the lab related hypotheses as “conspiracies,” — and are now scrambling to walk that back, and deflect questions about how they could possibly have succumbed: the media without factchecking themselves, and the scientists presuming to pronounce on science even without evidence.

The most stunning by far, is Danish food scientist Ben Embarek, back in February-March the chair of the defunct Chinese-select WHO scientific committee, who now says his committee’s condemnation of a lab leak possibility as “extremely unlikely” was forced on him and his colleagues by the Chinese authorities — and that, shamefully, they gave in. The full history of this major un-scientific/propaganda debacle of the 21st century remains to be written, by those investigating fake news and factchecking failures and propaganda victories, especially in the US and perhaps especially by those scholars in Science and Technology Studies, etc. who study science in social context.

But at least, as we all know, it soon came to an end, after more scientists stepped forward — and, the WHO director general himself stepped forward and reconfirmed the obvious, that the lab hypothesis remains possible and must be a continued focus — even as this now meets bitter obstruction from the Chinese government.

Magnus Fiskesjö <>

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