The Republican Party and the American conservative movement, in general, operate entirely in a head-spinning swirl of ideological incoherence, shameless hypocrisy, and unfettered xenophobia. Nothing matters more than advancing their narrative, no matter how divorced from reality it might be and no matter how much inconvenient context must be ignored to make their point.
The psychotic partisan fury that drives the American right-wing was put on full display on Wednesday morning when “China Joe” began to trend on Twitter as the right-wing propaganda machine obsessively promoted a story that claimed the Biden administration had shuttered a probe into the Wuhan Insitute of Virology investigating the conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese lab as part of some nefarious communist scheme.
BREAKING: Biden shut down investigation into theory COVID originated from Wuhan lab https://t.co/ZjwjVAtog5
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 26, 2021
This story was based on a CNN report whose headline included some very important context that all the right-wing media ghouls chose to omit: “over concerns about quality of evidence.”
You’ll remember at the beginning of the pandemic, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) baselessly insinuated that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was responsible for releasing the virus into the world, because he is a fanatic warhawk and xenophobe who will leap at any opportunity to worsen relations between America and its rivals. Then-President Trump picked up this idea because he needed a scapegoat for his initial attempts to downplay the severity of the pandemic and the tremendous cost of life that accompanied it.
In typical Trump fashion, he sent his pets to find the evidence that he needed to prove his preconceived conclusion. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a probe to find Trump the dirt they needed, reports CNN, but the probe immediately went off the rails. “The inquiry quickly became mired in internal discord amid concerns that it was part of a broader politicized effort by the Trump administration to blame China and cherry-pick facts to prove a theory,” writes Kylie Atwood.
Once the Biden team took over, they discovered the probe was being handled with the same carelessness and disregard for the truth that the Trump administration handled everything and logically decided to shut it down before wasting more time and money. “Questions were raised about the legitimacy of the findings and the project was deemed to be an ineffective use of resources, explained a source familiar with the decision.”
That does not mean that the Biden team isn’t still looking into the possibility that the COVID-19 virus was lab-created in light of a low-confidence intelligence report showing that several scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology having fallen sick weeks before the first documented COVID case. But nobody knows what they were sick with or whether it was at all related to their work, and reasonable people like to find out all the facts before immediately jumping to the conclusion that best suits your political agenda.
On Wednesday, the Biden team announced they would be “intensifying” the intelligence community’s quest to discover the truth behind the origins of the pandemic — just not through Trump’s witch hunt commission. This will likely also be left out of the breathless right-wing narrative, which is intent on painting Biden as some kind of patsy for the People’s Republic of China no matter how absurd that allegation might be.
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) May 26, 2021
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where the virus came from. What does matter is that the Trump administration was warned and instead chose to downplay the severity of the pandemic and then actively fought against the efforts by the medical community to stop the spread of the disease, leading to hundreds of thousands of needless American deaths.
This latest Republican fit is yet another grim reminder that we are not dealing with rational or reasonable enemies and nothing they say or do should ever be taken in good faith.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.