That headline is a total jokester, this post is hardly about Hillary Clinton at all!

Let's get one thing clear. Here at Wonkette, we are strong supporters of facts, and if what we understand to be the facts changes, then we are in support of changing our understanding of the facts. Like, for instance, if a team of scientists finds out that Dr. Donald Trump, MD, is correct and that Hydroxy-Viagra-Cut is the most effective treatment for the novel coronavirus, and if that becomes the scientific consensus, then WEIGHT LOSS BONER PILLS FOR EVERYONE! (Not holding our breath.)

And if the actual consensus understanding of the origin of COVID-19 changes, we will follow along with those facts too. So let's talk about the reporting over the last 24 hours, that the United States is investigating whether Donald Trump's conspiracy theories might be true, and COVID-19 might have in fact come out of a lab in Wuhan, as opposed to a food market in Wuhan. Could happen!

Of course, we're going to be looking at this through the lens of the Trump administration, where the Justice Department is also investigating Trump's conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and James Comey colluding with the Deep State in a bathtub to concoct a dastardly plan for Hillary to steal the 2016 election from herself by inventing the Trump-Russia investigation out of whole cloth. Context is key, children.

Fox News reported last night, with the enthusiasm of Brian Kilmeade finding a Snausage in the couch cushions, that "sources believe" coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan.

What "sources"? Oh just all of 'em!


Fox News reported all "EXCLUSIVE"-like that "there is increasing confidence" that coronavirus leaked out of a lab in Wuhan, according to "multiple sources," one of whom said China's subsequent actions to hide this true fact might be the "costliest government cover-up of all time." Fox News did allow that there is much skepticism about this theory, and said it had asked to see the documents that supposedly back up what "multiple sources" say. Still, Fox says, all the "multiple sources" agree that China is very bad and should feel bad, and also the very bad World Health Organization, which should also feel bad, is very bad. (Is one of those "multiple sources" named Donald Trump? No he'd never!)

Fox News also quoted Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said yeah they're looking at this possibility, and said, "[I]t's inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate [natural transmission of the virus], but we don't know for certain." And Fox quoted other Trump administration officials, who all said versions of "we're gonna figure it out." Quite frankly, the report gets more straight news-y, the further you read.

That headline, though!

Now we are not saying that Fox News doesn't employ any real journalists or that they don't ever break a real story, WE ARE NOT SAYING THAT, but since this is definitely a Trumpian conspiracy theory, it's one of those where you want to take it with a whole shaker of salt until real news organizations confirm it.

Right on cue, CNN and NBC News (and probably some others, Google it if you want) have their own reporting, and, well, it's not quite as exciting as Fox News's headline suggests.

CNN, being more circumspect:

US intelligence and national security officials say the United States government is looking into the possibility that the novel coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory rather than a market, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter who caution it is premature to draw any conclusions. [...]

The theory has been pushed by supporters of the President, including some congressional Republicans, who are eager to deflect criticisms of Trump's handling of the pandemic. [...]

A source close to the White House coronavirus task force also cautioned that "every time there is an outbreak someone proposes that the virus or other pathogen came out of a lab."

And NBC News:

Spy agencies have ruled out that the coronavirus was man-made, the officials say. But scientists at a military and a civilian lab in Wuhan, where the virus originated, are known to have conducted ongoing research on coronaviruses, officials say. They say intelligence agencies have gathered and are weighing evidence that an employee of one of the labs could have become accidentally infected and left the facility with the virus.

"It's a possibility, though not the most likely possibility," one official said.

So ... who knows! Guess we'll just have to see if new facts emerge that confirm this theory. We can be certain, though, that they won't come from Donald Trump's mouth in a press briefing.

As it happens, the Washington Post's Adam Taylor looked at all the origin conspiracy theories about COVID-19 this week, assessing them on a scale of one to Chanel Rion. (FACTCHECK: Taylor did not use that scale, he is a very serious reporter. But if he wants to use it next time, he can rent it from Wonkette for a hefty fee!)

Here's some of the part about coronas escaping a lab in China that was studying coronaviruses:

Some scientists don't dismiss this outright. In January, [Rutgers chemical biology professor Richard] Ebright did not want to talk on the record about the idea of a leak because it was too speculative. He changed his mind and this week told The Post that he thinks it "at least as probable" as an incident outside of a lab, a position other scientists disagree with.

There is circumstantial evidence. Researchers at the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention did conduct research on bat coronaviruses, which some viewed as risky. The State Department expressed concern about the safety standard of the Wuhan labs in at least two cables, The Post's Josh Rogin reported this week.

Buuuuuutttttttt ...

But that does not prove that the novel coronavirus was ever studied in Wuhan, nor that it leaked. "There is no evidence of escape from a lab," Andrew Rambaut, a microbiologist at the University of Edinburgh, wrote in an email. "The virus is just like a virus we would expect to see in wild bat populations, similar viruses have jumped from non-human animals to animals in the past, so I see no reason to speculate about this any further."

Well then.

So we guess we'll just have to see. And again, if we find out new facts, we find out new facts!

And if those facts lead to Hillary Clinton making coronavirus in her bathtub the same night during a Pizzagate planning meeting that happened the same night as Benghazi, well, you won't be able to say you didn't see THAT ONE coming.

Speculate all over this, your OPEN THREAD.

[CNN / NBC News / Washington Post]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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