Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media outlets mocked Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) when he suggested two months ago that the Chinese government was not transparent about the coronavirus and its origins. Instead, the Washington Post criticized Cotton and twisted his words to portray him as a conspiracy theorist.

“We don’t have evidence that the disease originated there, but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says,” Cotton said.

The Washington Post framed his remarks as repeating a “debunked conspiracy theory” about the virus being genetically engineered in a lab in Wuhan, China. But the Post’s interpretation of his remarks was flawed because Cotton was making a point about China’s lack of transparency and not a Wuhan testing lab.

Fast-forward to April 2020, when the United States has various levels of self-quarantine and social distancing measures in place while mainstream media blasts President Donald Trump and his management skills on a daily basis. There has not been a single apology from the Washington Post about their earlier mockery of Cotton’s February remarks.

In the place of an apology, the Washington Post decided to frame Cotton’s China skepticism in terms of being an outlier among his GOP colleagues. The newspaper headlined the alleged internal divide, “Early on, Cheney and Cotton warned about the coronavirus. They still face pushback in the GOP.” The newspaper chose not to address its previous mockery of Cotton’s warning and blamed GOP senators for not warning the country of an impending crisis.

The Washington Post mocked Cotton and they should publicly apologize for making him out to be a conspiracy theorist. If the media took his concerns seriously two months ago, the public could have been better prepared for the ongoing pandemic. Instead, the mainstream media covers for the Chinese government on one hand while blasting the Trump administration and Republicans on the other.

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