The State Department on Monday took aim at an NBC News article about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, accusing the outlet of failing to press for facts and of having had “regurgitated Chinese Communist Party propaganda.”
“@NBCnews was granted the first independent media access to the Wuhan lab, and what do they have to show for it? They just regurgitated Chinese Communist Party propaganda and didn’t press for facts,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Monday in a series of tweets.
The article, ”Inside the Chinese lab central to the search for the coronavirus’ origin,” was the first look into the lab, which U.S. officials have eyed as central to the outbreak and cover-up of the virus by the Chinese government. It was written by Janis Mackey Frayer and Denise Chow.
Officials have said that the virus likely originated in the lab, not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States.
The article describes how the lab’s director feels “unfairly targeted” by what she called “unwarranted or malicious accusations while carrying out research and related work in the fight against the virus.”
It also says that the White House has not shown “credible proof” of the lab’s role while at the same time Trump “continues to fuel the blame, often through racist rhetoric” by blaming China and the lab.
Ortagus questioned if NBC asked Chinese officials “why they failed to share info about the virus, censored their own scientists, and delayed access by the international community seeking answers?”
“We don’t know what happened because the CCP preferred saving face over saving lives,” she said.
“Eight months later, mystery still surrounds the Wuhan lab, indeed. It’s high time the media ask hard questions and demand answers that go beyond CCP propaganda,” she said.
Ortagus isn’t the only critical voice to take aim at the article. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, who laid out “several errors” he saw in the report, also criticized NBC for reporting the director’s claims “without any pushback,” before questioning why NBC’s reporters bothered touring the lab at all.
“What did they expect to find, a piece of paper they forgot to throw out that says ‘Coronavirus Origin Evidence’?” he asked.