MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace once called the COVID lab leak theory a "conspiracy theory" but has failed to inform viewers that the notion is now considered the likely cause of the pandemic by government voices she normally reveres.
The theory that COVID originated from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was embraced this week by FBI Director Christopher Wray, and a bombshell report recently indicated that the U.S. Energy Department believes the virus likely started at the lab. But many media organizations insisted this couldn’t be possible in 2020 during the early stages of the global pandemic and anyone who relies on MSNBC’s "Deadline: White House" for news would be in the dark about Wray and the Energy Department.
Wallace, one of the media's most rabidly anti-GOP voices, appeared determined to shut down the theory that was embraced by the Trump administration. She blamed then-President Trump on April 30, 2020 for pushing intelligence agencies into investigating one of "Trump world’s most favorite conspiracy theories," when referring to the possibility that COVID originated from a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
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The GOP-flack-turned-liberal MSNBC host then put a spotlight on a 2020 New York Times piece headlined, "Trump officials are said to press spies to link virus and Wuhan labs."
Wallace read a Times report to viewers that claimed, "administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan" was the source of the virus. The report added that "analysts are concerned that the pressure from administration officials will distort assessments about the virus and that they could be used as a political weapon in an intensifying battle with China."
The following day, Wallace was at it again and enlisted former Obama administration official Jeremy Bash to criticize comments Trump made about having "confidence" the virus began in the Wuhan lab. Wallace read a Washington Post quote about "no direct evidence" of the lab leak theory being public.
"Many scientists argue that the evidence tilts firmly toward a natural transmission," Wallace told viewers, citing the Post.
"It sounds like, not even among the options is the scenario depicted by Donald Trump," Wallace said before asking Bash if she was understanding the situation correctly.
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"I think you are," Bash said before insisting "conspiracy theorists were parroting" Trump’s remarks about the Wuhan lab.
On May 4 of that year, Wallace – who once happily declared she was a "groupie" of Dr. Anthony Fauci – continued the conversation.
"The Trump administration yesterday stepping up its attacks on China and that lab, but their assessment that the virus began at the lab in Wuhan not one shared by U.S. Intelligence, who spoke to NBC News saying, there’s no, quote, smoking gun evidence pointing them in that direction and there may never be," Wallace told viewers.
Wallace went on to dismiss the possibility that COVID began in the Wuhan lab, bluntly calling it a "false conspiracy theory" on May 21, 2020.
The following year, when the intelligence community began to recognize the lab leak theory might be plausible, Wallace brought on Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Gordon to explain why President Biden ordered a probe into COVID’s origins. Suddenly, Wallace was interested and chalked up prior dismissals to the lab leak theory being a "talking point" of the Trump administration.
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"This was one of his early talking points. Maybe that’s why it’s hard to know why people didn’t run it to ground or why there wasn’t a bipartisan effort to do so," Wallace said. "But just from a medical scientific community perspective, it seems like an urgent intelligence priority to get to the bottom of this."
Wallace did not cover the latest information regarding COVID lab leaks on her MSNBC program this week, according to a search of transcripts. The terms "Wuhan" and "lab leak" were not mentioned on "Deadline: White House" since Wray’s comments and the Energy Department report.
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Wallace has become one of the faces of MSNBC since her heel turn from moderate Republican "View" host to a fanatically anti-GOP, Democratic-boosting cable voice. Along with left-wing hosts Joy Reid and Rachel Maddow, she leads their special political coverage, in addition to her two-hour daily afternoon show that leads into the show's liberal evening pundit lineup.
MSNBC did not respond to a request for comment.