Mark Hemingway of the Federalist responds to mainstream media reports about the latest developments in the COVID-19 origin story.

This week, two government agencies — the Department of Energy and the FBI — announced that they had concluded the most likely origin of the Covid virus, which has killed 6 million people worldwide, was that it leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The reaction to this news, which at this point was hardly an earth-shattering conclusion, is more interesting for the question it prompts about the state of American discourse: How do you have an argument with people who will never admit when they’re wrong? …

… [H]e’s channeling a concise distillation of the textbook two-step that was broadly and institutionally adopted to downplay the significance of the DOE and FBI coming out and admitting they think the lab leak is the most likely explanation for the origin of the virus.

The first move was to throw cold water on the certainty of the Energy Department and FBI’s conclusions. Yes, other government agencies have concluded that a “zoonotic” origin — that the virus jumped from animals to humans — is more likely. Are the agencies that came to the opposite conclusions as qualified in making their determinations as the DOE or FBI? Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Because the fact there’s disagreement here is entirely beside the point.

The second part of the process was to deliberately revise history to completely misrepresent the nature of the original debate over the virus’ origin, to dismiss the real reason people now feel vindicated. It’s not because the DOE or FBI has settled the debate. It’s because we were never allowed to have a debate over the virus’ origins in the first place.

The media consensus on the lab-leak theory congealed so rapidly that it completely distorted the debate in two more distinct ways. First, it viciously and dishonestly conflated anyone who espoused the possibility of the lab leak with the fringe Alex Jones crowd. …

… Second, media “fact-checkers” all weighed in against the lab leak, and for some reason, these incompetent journalistic meter maids are deferred to by Big Tech companies to make rulings about complex political and scientific issues that ultimately determine what you can and can’t say online.