A New York Times business correspondent in Hong Kong, a weekend editor at The Guardian who lives in New York, a British Business Insider reporter with a focus on the Saudis, and the executive editor of The Daily Beast.
A 48-year-old blogger who works for Rachel Maddow, a union activist who covers “extremism, far-right politics and media disinformation” for The Huffington Post, and the 29-year editor of the Arkansas Times.
A breaking news reporter at The Washington Post who wrapped up her most recent internship in May 2016, a 2016 University of Pennsylvania graduate who covers “young people doing big things” for Forbes, a 45-year-old former George Will intern who writes for CNN, and David Frum.
What do these people have in common, aside from their political ideology? Every one of them is a part of a machine that launders smears and opinions through newspapers, magazines, and television channels, presents the cleaned-up product as unimpeachable truth to the public, and then uses the fresh-minted facts to protect friends and hurt enemies. It’s called “the news,” and here’s how it worked for Arkansas’ Sen. Tom Cotton’s completely plausible theory that COVID-19 came from a Chinese lab.
That Hong Kong business correspondent? She wrote this headline for the Times in February 2020: “Senator Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins.”
“Scientists,” the slug reads, “have dismissed suggestions that the Chinese government was behind the outbreak, but it’s the kind of tale that gains traction among those who see China as a threat.”
“Republican who floated virus conspiracy says ‘common sense has been my guide,’” the weekend editor at The Guardian dismissively explained.
“A GOP senator,” our award-winning Saudi investigator declared, “keeps pushing a thoroughly debunked theory that the Wuhan coronavirus is a leaked Chinese biological weapon gone wrong.”
“Sen. Tom Cotton Flogs Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory Dismissed by Actual Scientists,” the editor of The Daily Beast howled.
“Tom Cotton’s veiled threats really aren’t helping,” Maddow’s blogger chimed in.
“Don’t Listen To Sen. Tom Cotton About Coronavirus,” our “media disinformation” boy piped up.
“Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) repeated a fringe theory,” the young Post staffer confidently led, “suggesting that the ongoing spread of a coronavirus is connected to research in the disease-ravaged epicenter of Wuhan, China.” That “theory,” her headline definitively states, “was already debunked.”
“Senator Tom Cotton Ramps Up Anti-China Rhetoric,” Forbes’ “Under 30 community lead” righteously wrote.