In May 2020, the ABC’s Media Watch host Paul Barry dedicated two programs to attacking the Australian’s Sharri Markson (then at the Daily Telegraph) for reporting intelligence analysis that pointed to the virus that unleashed a pandemic on the world having escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan. He also had a snarl at Rowan Dean, the editor of The Spectator Australia who had the temerity to point out on Sky TV that everything pointed to a lab leak. Barry rubbished the idea because as he explained, ‘almost every virus expert had dismissed the lab escape theory’.
Barry was right that there was indeed a cosy cabal of establishment scientists branding anyone who didn’t denounce the possibility of a lab leak a ‘conspiracy theorist’, but he failed to notice that many had an obvious vested interest in maintaining this narrative. And he was not alone. Not since Dr Bert Evatt announced in 1955 that he knew there were no Soviet spies in Australia because the Soviet foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, told him so, have the useful idiots of the Left been so eager to swallow communist lies. Yet over the last week, mainstream media commentators have spent their column inches and air time reflecting on how they got it all so wrong. At the Guardian, columnist Thomas Frank admitted that the Left had enjoyed the plague of Covid, punishing leaders like Trump who refused to bow to expertise. Frank has been shattered by the mere suggestion that the pandemic came from a ‘laboratory screw-up’ and confessed to ‘moral convulsions’ at the idea that science, not Trump, might be culpable. ‘Suddenly’, he writes, ‘the consensus doesn’t consense quite as well as it used to.’
Franks was horrified to learn just ‘in the last few weeks’ that lab leaks happen, they aren’t just a right-wing conspiracy; that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was conducting ‘gain of function’ research where pathogens are deliberately made more lethal or more transmissible; that the WIV was funded to do this research by various arms of the US government including the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, headed by the Left’s patron saint of Covid, Anthony Fauci; that those who were meant to investigate the origins of Covid, such as Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, had a massive conflict of interest in that they were also funding the WIV; that mainstream media covered up for China, the WIV, Fauci and friends, and social media censored anyone who told the truth.
Over at the Washington Post, columnist Megan McArdle was equally shaken, asking how people with signs in front of their house proclaiming that ‘science is real’ and who belonged to ‘the party of science’ had turned the spirit of inquiry into a religious dogma handed down by credentialed experts. Those who challenged articles of faith would be excommunicated as heretics, much like the Closed Brethren cast out a sinner, calling on the faithful to ‘withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition …’. McArdle mournfully observes that it seems that expert consensus was ‘somewhat illusory’ and it would have been well to remember scientists are sinners like the rest of us mortals, prone to groupthink and all the other vices to which the flesh is prey.
She wondered whether there were other policy areas where the Left has ‘confused scientists with “science”, value judgments with cold calculation, and a shaky elite consensus with hard scientific facts’.
The short answer is yes. Indeed, the worst is arguably still to come. It is one thing for the US to have funded dangerous research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology but there is little doubt that China is to blame for the leak of the virus, for its lax lab standards, and for the cowardly cover up which together turned the virus into a global pandemic. The harder truth to bear is that the huge death toll in the West must be sheeted home to Western ‘experts’ who have lied repeatedly and unforgivably about the efficacy of early treatments.
This week, the Indian Bar Association served notice on Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation for deliberately ignoring and suppressing data regarding the effectiveness of ivermectin, to dissuade Indians from using it. Luckily, the Indian Council for Medical Research and the All India Institute of Medical Science refused to accept her advice and retained the use of the drug in India’s national guidelines. The results have been dramatic. In every state where ivermectin was adopted cases and deaths have plummeted. In Delhi, where ivermectin was adopted on April 20 cases plunged from 28,395 to 1,246 on May 30. In Tamil Nadu, the one state to ban ivermectin on the explicit instruction of the aptly-named socialist leader M.K. Stalin, cases have rocketed up from 10,986 to 27,936.
In Australia, his brother-in-arms Victorian premier ‘Stairman’ Dan, who leads his counterparts only in the amount he pays himself, hides in his bunker while Victorians are forced into their fourth lockdown, and ‘experts’ in the Therapeutic Goods Administration ignore the latest peer-reviewed research on the efficacy of ivermectin – overwhelmingly positive – published in May in the prestigious American Journal of Therapeutics. Meanwhile, a real expert like Wendy Hoy, professor of medicine at the University of Queensland, called this week for an end to the suppression of conversations about ivermectin and for its immediate use in trials for Covid prevention and treatment in Victoria. But nobody listens.
None of this is news to readers of these pages. I started reporting that the lab leak was the most likely origin of Covid in March 2020 and covered China’s cack-handed cover-up, the WHO’s disgraceful whitewash, the US funding of the WIV, and the censorship on social and mainstream media.
It’s good that key figures on the Left are finally admitting that they were wrong not just on fundamental points of contention throughout the pandemic but about the way they turned their ‘settled science’ into an instrument of oppression and censorship. Better late than never.
But no one could be surprised that there was no soul-searching from Mr Barry, or, Heaven forfend, an apology on Media Watch this week. He was too busy gloating over the ABC’s latest ‘big win’ in the right to rake muck and ruin careers.
Like the sappy catchphrase from the 1970 movie Love Story, working at the ABC means never having to say you’re sorry.
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