The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that they had seen Health and Human Services (HHS) documents regarding the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to these documents, Chinese researchers identified and genetically mapped the Covid-19 virus in December 2019 many weeks before the People’s Republic of China (PRC) informed the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 11, 2020. At the dawn of what would become the pandemic every day, indeed, every hour, mattered. This delay ensured that the outbreak in the PRC became the pandemic that caused an estimate 700 million cases and killed about 7 million people worldwide. Sadly, the virus continues to infect and kill people. The PRC’s delays and dissemination were bad enough in transforming an outbreak to a pandemic. But it was also made worse by the WHO. The WHO also was not transparent and compounded the lies and misinformation that the PRC advanced. WHO became only the latest international institution to do the biding of the PRC with disastrous consequences for the world’s population.
The Wall Street Journal’s reporting is important not only for what it covers but for four profoundly significant issues raised by it. First, the story of the pandemic’s origins and spread is sordid on a historically epic scale. It will live in infamy. The CCP lied and caused the pandemic, they enlisted the WHO to support their lies, and the U.S. public health authority and U.S. intelligence community obfuscated and so lent tacit support to the dissemination of misinformation and lies. All of that would be bad enough but was only a start. The pandemic was weaponized for domestic political reasons, most notably the 2020 election, government spending, and to compel vaccinations as a mechanism to decapitate the military, and American society more broadly, of those for whom it was incompatible with their faith and others suspicious of the vaccine.
Its impact globally was no less profound. It justified and indeed required authoritarianism in the West, which far too many leaders were pleased to enforce, tighten, and sustain well after the epidemiological nature and facts of the pandemic were clear.
Second, the events of late 2019 and 2020 reveal just how corrupt the U.S. media are. Those events were clear to a handful of journalists and some intrepidly reported on its origins. The exceptional journalism of Bill Gertz, who reported the lab leak story in January 2020, was the lodestar of accuracy. Gertz was excoriated for that story and subsequent ones in the Washington Times but has now been exonerated. If only the Wall Street Journal or other major American newspapers had a journalist in the early days of 2020 as well sourced, intrepid, and resolute as Gertz. Together they might have been the pins that punctured the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) and WHO’s disinformation balloon. It was the early days for Warroom, but Steve Bannon saw what was occurring in real time and made the PRC’s lies and coverup major themes of the show. But accurate reporting around Covid-19 was as rare as hen’s teeth. The media botched it, in what is a predictable pattern for the U.S. media. They failed as journalists, in the dogged pursuit of the truth, and in their duty to a free people. Nor will they examine why they got the story so wrong for so long. Measured by the standards of journalism, they blew it spectacularly. By the standards of propagandists, they succeeded astonishingly.
Third, the reputation of governments and trust of their people was irreparably damaged by its performance. The breadth and depth of the U.S. government’s performance will be long studied. But in a recent wrinkle to the U.S. government’s actions, the reports made by a CIA whistleblower in September 2023 that the CIA purportedly skewed its analysis away from a lab leak and toward an “unknown origin” in return for compensation for CIA employees. This is the deliberate attempt to obfuscate the origin by favoring an epidemiological agnosticism or that it had a nature origin in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale market, or another wet market, that was the purported origin of the virus rather than one of the venues of its spread.
Fourth, the CCP must be held responsible for lying about the origins of the pandemic. The world must provide the CCP with the bill and compel compensation for all those who died, where injured, suffered, and lost their health, livelihoods, and political freedoms as a result of the heavy-handed responses from Western governments. There has to be a full accounting of what the CCP and WHO did so that there can be a reckoning. The CCP must be tried by a new international tribunal to provide compensation for the millions dead and the hundreds of millions affected.
Bradley A. Thayer is a Contributing Columnist for Warroom and is @bradleythayer on Gettr and Truth, and @bradthayer at X. He is the coauthor with James Fanell of Embracing Communist China: America’s Greatest Strategic Failure