A new NBC News report on the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) – the laboratory from which the coronavirus pandemic may have originated – is contradictory and misleading, according to a line of tweets from Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.
“This NBC News report on the field trip to the Wuhan Institute of Virology has some flaws, but the most vocal is that it disproves what US officials wrote on diplomatic cables in 2018,” Rogin began Monday afternoon.
The NBC report says U.S. officials observed several security issues in the lab. But according to Rogin, WIV scientists told officials about the issues in a January 2018 cable.
“Wang Yanyi, director of WIV, told NBC reporters that US officials visited in March 2018, two months after the first cable was written,” Rogin tweeted. “The truth is that they visited three times, before and after the January 2018 cable. Did US officials pay an entire visit? Unlikely… “
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Rogin went on to question Wang’s credibility, denying her claim that biosafety had not been discussed with US officials and stressing that she essentially called the Americans “fabricators.” He also criticized NBC for reporting Wang’s claims “without hindrance.”
The Post columnist also questioned why NBC reporters bothered at all while visiting the lab.
“Something they were waiting to find, a piece of paper they forgot to throw away that says ‘Proof of Coronavirus origin’?” he asked. “It is absurd to think that there is any probative value. But there is more … The NBC report says that [Dr. Anthony] Fauci ‘came down with the idea that the virus had accidentally escaped from a laboratory’. If you read the interview, Fauci said it does not matter if it was a lab accident (which is wrong) but not that he rules it out. “
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Rogin added that WIV Deputy Director Dr Yuan Zhiming reiterated that there was no evidence that the coronavirus was transmitted from animals to humans in the Huanan Seafood Market.
“In general, Chinese scientists can not be blamed for the movement of the Party line,” Rogin said. “They deviate from it under the death penalty. But American news organizations should do better than present a walk around a lab and an interview with the untruths in it as to tell us anything about the virus.”