The New York Times Banned Staffers From Investigating Trump's COVID-19 Lab Leak Theory, Reports Say
07:44 GMT 03.08.2021 (Updated: 13:21 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Mark SchiefelbeinA visitor wearing a face mask takes a photo of a model of a coronavirus and boxes for COVID-19 vaccines at a display by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic largely under control, China's capital on Saturday kicked off one of the first large-scale public events since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as tens of thousands of attendees were expected to visit displays from nearly 2,000 Chinese and foreign companies showcasing their products and services.
© AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A senior editor with The New York Times (NYT) has instructed the newspaper's staffers not to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, The Spectator magazine reported, citing two NYT employees.
"In early 2020 ... I suggested to a senior editor at the paper that we investigate the origins of COVID-19. I was told it was dangerous to run a piece about the origins of the coronavirus. There was resistance to running anything that could suggest that [COVID-19 was manmade or had leaked accidentally from a lab]," one of the employees was quoted by the news outlet on Monday as saying.
Another NYT journalist who also proposed to probe the virus origin in 2020 told The Spectator that the lab leak theory was considered "a conspiracy theory" and "untouchable everywhere," adding that "the fact that [then-US President Donald] Trump embraced it, of course, also made it a no-go."
The Spectator suggests that the reason behind the ban to investigate "the biggest story of our time" could be the fact that before the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times published "advertorials" that promoted the Chinese government's line, as the paper received millions of dollars from Chinese government-controlled outlets. It was not until 2020 that the newspaper removed these articles from its website.
A NYT spokesperson told The Spectator accusations that the newspaper would refuse to investigate the origins were "ridiculous."
Former US President Donald Trump insisted on referring to COVID-19 as the "China virus" in the last year of his presidency, and demanded that Beijing pay the world $10 trillion in reparations for the 3.8 million deaths and huge economic damage he alleges Beijing caused.