The Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post wrote Tuesday about the need for a "serious investigation" into the origins of the coronavirus after the mainstream media spent more than a year either dismissing or casting doubt on the distinct possibility the virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than being the causation of a zoonotic transmission between a bat or a civet from a nearby "wet market" and a human.
In an op-ed penned by the paper's editorial board, the Post also made the rare assertion among the big players in media that "China's resistance is a lingering obstacle." It also called the World Health Organization's original investigation – much vaunted at the time – "highly unsatisfactory."
The ruling Chinese Communist Party announced in May that it also would not participate or support a second phase of the WHO's investigation into COVID origins.
The Post wrote that the divergent hypotheses regarding the outbreak – the lab leak theory vs. the bat transmission theory – "cry out for an investigation endowed with resources and expertise."
"It is time to move beyond easy scapegoating and drill down for the truth," the editorial board wrote.
The Post's board noted President Biden has now called for an "intelligence review" but called that development "hardly enough."
"[Biden] should actively support the creation of an independent commission that would examine virus origins and the nation’s response to the crisis. Congress ought to join in."
The Post now says a commission like the post-9/11 investigation conducted by Republican former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean Sr., or the Warren Commission – the probe into the JFK assassination spearheaded by late Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren – should be commenced.
"Many national and global calamities were later subject to bipartisan investigation," the Post wrote.
However, for much of the pandemic, the Post, like many others, appeared to downplay the validity of the lab-leak theory, writing in May 2020 that "the balance of the scientific evidence strongly supports the conclusion that the new coronavirus emerged from nature, be it the Wuhan market or somewhere else."
"Too many unexpected coincidences would have had to take place for it to have escaped from a lab," the article read at the time.
However, Post later appended the story with an update, citing "new evidence" that puts the lab leak hypothesis on "firmer ground."
The media's conventional wisdom on the plausibility of the lab-leak theory appeared to shift last month when figures respected by the left began considering it with more than a passing thought.
Comedian and activist Jon Stewart, former host of "The Daily Show," caused an uproar among the left's faithful when he laid out in his traditional layman's-term style that a theory asserting a dangerous virus appearing to originate in a city with a lab that experiments with dangerous viruses should be thoughtfully considered.
Stewart questioned the zoonotic transmission theory, characterizing it as a claim akin to "a pangolin kiss[ing] a turtle."
"[T]here’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China. What do we do?’ ‘Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab.’ The disease is the same name as the lab," said Stewart at the time, comparing that dynamic to the possibility that an outbreak of "chocolatey goodness" in Hershey, Pennsylvania, might have something to do with the Dauphin County community's world-famous chocolate company.
Also last month, the head of the U.S.' federal health bureaucracy, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, pushed back on claims he ever rejected the lab-leak theory but maintained he believes the zoonotic transmission theory more plausible.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., one of a handful of medical doctors in Congress, however, has countered such claims about animal-to-human transmission of COVID-19, telling Fox News last month that the virus "doesn't even seem to infect bats very well."
"It doesn’t infect an intermediate animal. They checked 80,000 animals at the wet markets in Wuhan. None of the animals at the wet market would accept COVID-19 or were positive for it. But it looks like it’s most well-adapted for humans. So this is worrisome, and yet more evidence that this, in all likelihood, came from the lab," said Paul.
Paul is also a fierce critic of Biden COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and his own assertions about COVID over the past year and his approval for funding of virology labs included the one in Wuhan.