After the U.S. Department of Energy reportedly reassessed the coronavirus pandemic as likely originating from a Chinese lab leak, the media were again slammed dismissing the theory early on as disinformation and suppressing debate over COVID.
The Energy Department was previously undecided about the pandemic's origin, but now joins the FBI in suggesting the contagion likely resulted from a lab mishap, according to the Wall Street Journal – which cited an update to a 2021 classified intelligence report provided to Congress and the White House.
The updated report also assessed the pandemic was however not part of any Chinese bioweapons program, as some critics have suggested.
On "The Story" Monday, media critic Joe Concha pointed to liberal comic Jon Stewart's comments to Stephen Colbert in 2021, where the former "Daily Show" host poked fun at people who disregarded the lab leak theory.
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Colbert, the left-wing host of CBS' "Late Show" and formerly of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," quipped, "this evidence I'd love to hear," but Stewart broached the topic.
Stewart said "the ['novel respiratory coronavirus'] disease is the same name as the lab," adding that if there was an "outbreak of chocolate goodness in Hershey, Pennsylvania," the logical connection would be made to the eponymous chocolate company.
"What do you think happened? Like, oh, I don't know, maybe a steamshovel mated with a cocoa bean," Concha said, mimicking Stewart's quip.
"Or maybe it's the ‘expletive’ chocolate factory," he added, leaving out Stewart's more colorful language.
Concha credited Stewart with making the remarks while publicly asserting the lab leak theory was still taboo and censored by Big Tech and in the media.
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He also cited a 2020 New York Times headline that described Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., as "repeat[ing a fringe] theory on coronavirus."
"Isn't that amazing that journalists automatically believed the Chinese Communist government before our own senators who put forth a pretty logical explanation?" he said.
Concha also pointed to former CNN correspondent John Harwood, who claimed the lab leak theory was used by then-President Donald Trump to deflect blame from the White House on the federal response.
Harwood was, however, a frequent Trump critic overall, once claiming he appeared to be in "deep psychological distress" during his post-impeachment-acquittal public address.
Concha also cited the Washington Post's resident fact-checker Glenn Kessler, whom he recounted having admonished Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with "we deal in facts" when the Texan discussed the lab leak theory on Twitter.
"And that was the thing in social media. There wasn't even debate over this. This conversation was going to be shut down, no question about it," Concha said.
"And I think that's why now the people of East Palestine [Ohio] maybe don't trust their government when they say everything is OK, when they're feeling nausea and headaches and respiratory symptoms – because after what happened with COVID, it's hard to trust anything anymore."
Fox News' Danielle Wallace contributed to this report