It’s interesting to imagine how the lab-leak hypothesis story might’ve developed if MSM professional norms didn’t discourage stating that one party is systematically more dishonest than the other and its claims should thus be subject to greater scrutiny.
If you can do that, then you can essentially cut bad actors like Trump and Cotton and their enablers out of the informational loop and probe the question of the virus’s origins without feeding the perception that you’re being punked by liars.
If you can’t, then you’re stuck reporting the claim as one pole of a debate against “science,” and actual scientists are thrust into the position not just of weighing certainty about hypotheses, but keeping a lid on propaganda they fear may be used to harm people or start a war.
Seems obvious to me national media would’ve been way better off saying experts believe the lab-leak hypothesis is unlikely, and the proponents of it include highly dishonest people, but we’ll keep an open mind, rather than ‘Trump says X, science disagrees.’

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More from @brianbeutler

25 May
Significant that they're trying to use their leverage as filibuster-reform swing votes to force the GOP's hand, but it'll actually be a very bad outcome if they succeed, Republicans drop their filibuster, and Congress establishes this doomed-to-fail commission.
Manchin and Sinema will say “see, we did a bipartisanship, the filibuster is good,” McConnell and McCarthy will sabotage the commission by appointing, like, Ratcliffe, Grenell, Mukasey, and Kash Patel, and the oversight committees will wash their hands of the whole insurrection.
Fortunately, as @jonfavs pointed out in a fruitless effort to calm me the fuck down, the public whip count looks definitive, and Trump has called on Republicans to vote no, so hard to see them taking the offramp Manchin and Sinema have offered. But it is an offramp!
Read 4 tweets
18 May
As I argued here, now’s the time for Schumer to put the commission on the floor.…
If Joe Manchin sincerely believes that these things are non-partisan and Republicans have not intentionally turned them into partisan issues, then every effort has to be made to demonstrate to him how wrong he is.…
We can’t road repave and rural broadband our way into a world safe for democracy, when Republicans are all but uniformly committed to minority rule. Put the Jan 6 commission, voting rights, democratic reform, etc on the floor and make Republicans filibuster them.
Read 4 tweets
14 Apr
Theory: what makes plans like these popular isn’t, say, widespread concern about loansharking, but the appeal to a widespread desire to stick it to the man. “Moderate” Dems use that same affectation (sometimes quite successfully) but pretend “the man” is the Dem party and agenda.
I would like to see moderate Dems train that affect on unscrupulous corporate actors, too. But what resonates is the affect (see: drain the swamp) not the polling of this or that issue position.
Read 5 tweets
7 Apr
Give them a D for effort.
Actually, I now agree that not everyone should vote, and ask @NRO them to join me in my new pursuit of limiting the franchise to those who aren’t yet retired, since people of advanced age have less stake in the future of the country, and are deeply dependent on state largesse.
They’re also more prone to be confused about public matters (all matters, really) so erecting barriers before them to the ballot box is just common sense.
Read 4 tweets
5 Apr
McConnell’s position seems to be that corporate free speech is sacrosanct when it manifests in endless streams of dark money to right wing advocacy, but punishable with selective tax and labor enforcement when it’s actual words, such as ‘making it hard for people to vote is bad.’
Of course, when Dems introduce legislation to tax corporations and encourage unionization and step up antitrust enforcement on a neutral basis, Republicans will oppose it unanimously. The message is be good soldiers and we’ll take care of you, step out of line and it’s the lash.
The mainstream press has repeatedly bowed to pressure to call this “populism” but it’s much more like fascism.
Read 4 tweets
30 Mar
😳 ImageImage
Look, the man is nothing if not credible.
Read 4 tweets

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