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  #801  
Old 02-27-2023, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Oh yeah, no. Anybody reacting to that by being like "I'm vindicated! It was a lab leak!" is being dumb.

It probably came from infected animals at that market. The evidence I've seen about that seems pretty good.

But scientists being infected by viruses sampled from the wild and then infecting further people at the market isn't totally implausible either. But I'm fairly confident that it was the wet market.

To some extent I don't really care - what difference would it make? Make us think should tighten up rules at virology labs? I think we'd probably do that anyway. Blame China? Obviously there's no really good interpretation of them being uncooperative with investigations of the start of a worldwide pandemic, which is already blameworthy, and that lack of cooperation is probably to hide something else to blame Xi for. And I think it's Xi/the CCP that would be the ones to blame.

The main worry is that people conflate "lab leak" with "man made", which is why I think there's reason to be careful about how you talk about it.

Last edited by erimir; 02-27-2023 at 08:12 PM.
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  #802  
Old 02-27-2023, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

The fact that the World Health Authority quietly dropped its probe into the origins of COVID-19 is telling. WHO abandons plans for crucial second phase of COVID-origins investigation

It would also be useful to know why the entire virus database of the Whuan Institute was taken offline September 12, 2019, and has not been available since then. This was allegedly following the mysterious illness of some of the workers at the institute. Parliamentary question |

Entire Wuhan Institute virus database taken offline on 12 September 2019

| E-000608/2022 | European Parliament
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  #803  
Old 02-27-2023, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Chinese people are super concerned with not losing face. Memory holing a bout of Epic Incompetence is well in line with covering up an embarrassment. No cloak and dagger 5d chess conspiracy needed.
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  #804  
Old 02-27-2023, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamilah Hauptmann View Post
Chinese people are super concerned with not losing face.
Whereas American people actually vote for having their faces eaten.
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  #805  
Old 02-27-2023, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamilah Hauptmann View Post
Memory holing a bout of Epic Incompetence is well in line with covering up an embarrassment.
Trouble is, it makes it more likely that the same mistakes will be made again. Humans are not very good at learning from past mistakes: they always say, "We must never allow this to happen again" - but then they do.

When we deliberately look the other way, and obfuscate the search for what went wrong last time, it's like we want the same disaster to happen over - and it makes some people believe that those in charge were actually planning the "disaster."

Pandemics are bad, and if we can reduce their frequency by tightening up biosecurity at research labs, or indeed regulating the sale of animal products at markets, then we should take all reasonable efforts to do so. We shouldn't allow the people in charge to give up on the search for what went wrong, just because some people might be embarrassed, or found guilty.
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  #806  
Old 02-27-2023, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Some alternative universe,
Jan 11th 2020 after an outbreak of a known virus from their lab, the chinese government reaches out to other countries in hopes they can identify which one of their already cataloged viruses is causing this outbreak. China is known for their willingness to work with other countries and always asks for help with internal problem that at the time had not been seen outside china.

Our universe,
Quote:
Jan 11th 2020 Scientists worried about China's lack of transparency about a month-old outbreak of pneumonia in the city of Wuhan breathed a sigh of relief today, after a consortium of researchers published a draft genome of the newly discovered coronavirus suspected of causing the outbreak.
Science | AAAS
One of the many questions about the lab leak theory is why china couldn’t identify a virus from their own lab, or why they would ask the world to help them identify a virus from their own lab before it had been reported outside of their borders.
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  #807  
Old 02-27-2023, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

So why do you think the WHO dropped their enquiry?

No virus sufficiently close to the one responsible for COVID-19 has yet been found in the wild bat population.

Civets and dromedary camels were quickly identified as the intermediate hosts of SARS- and MERS-CoV, respectively, from where those diseases were transmitted to humans. But despite COVID-19 having a much greater impact on the world, no such intermediate host for it has yet been identified.
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  #808  
Old 02-27-2023, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

The problem with China is that it’s really hard to say, maybe they stopped the investigation because it came from their lab, or maybe someone said Taiwan was an independent country and so they scrapped the whole thing.

I have a completely unsupported hypothesis that Cov19 or a variant of was bouncing around in the human population longer than we assume and the wuhan outbreak wasn’t its first try at global domination. It’s possible further investigation would discover they had warning signs that were ignored.

It’s also possible that nothing went wrong, there’s no cover up and China’s stonewall attitude towards the west has decided there’s nothing to be gained with working with outsiders. In general the Chinese cultural department has become more ridged and insular, which really doesn’t bode well for any sort of sharing of scientific ideas to prevent lab leaks or pandemics in the future.
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  #809  
Old 02-27-2023, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

At least Madagascar closed the port.
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  #810  
Old 02-27-2023, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

I think we can all agree that the CCP is not set up for proper accountability.

Certainly coverups of fuckups happen in democracies too, but at least there is an opposition party in the government willing to exploit a fuckup by the government. Obviously we have issues in some democracies (like the US right now) with the "loyal" part of the "loyal opposition", but my opinion of Xi and the CCP is pretty damn low, so...

So like I said, the reason there's so much distrust of their story is largely the regime's fault. I can buy it's probably a bit of "f-u Western countries, you're always shitting on China, so we're not going to give you access to everything you want" and a bit of "we can't let the world know how bad we fucked up at the outset of the pandemic". Maybe even a bit of "if we let them have all that access, they'll find out OTHER stuff we don't want them to know." Their behavior is sufficiently explained without resort to more nefarious lab leak theories. But again, I can't rule it out, and since I don't think the specifics would make a huge difference in my opinions about "what to do", I haven't looked really deeply into it and it's not like I'm an expert in forensic epidemiology or whatever the most relevant field would be.
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  #811  
Old 02-27-2023, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

China also has a very long memory and a perspective on time that is very ling compared to western thought. They remember indignities to ancestors as a loss of face.

Versailles, for example.
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  #812  
Old 03-01-2023, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Originally Posted by erimir View Post
So at any rate, I got no sympathy for Xi on this matter.
Given the current and declining state of the US-China relationship around Taiwan and Russia, I think there might be slightly more on the line than Xi Xinping's feelings when an arm of the military and economic superpower makes possibly groundless and unverifiable claims about globally impactful misdeeds by their wannabe rival.
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  #813  
Old 03-02-2023, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

My point there is to be clear that I view the fuckups as related to the regime rather than "China"/Chinese people, not to say I care about Xi's personal feelings. My point is that if they actually didn't fuck up their response to the pandemic, but people don't trust them anyway, that's their own fault and due to blameworthy behavior in the first place. I have no sympathy because the regime deserves negative public opinion. If people are less upset about China's treatment of the Uighurs, reneging on their promise to preserve democracy in Hong Kong and cracking down on dissidents there and elsewhere, their dystopian social credit systems, etc. than about this, it's not going to make me really upset. But it's not like I'm out here promoting the idea that it was probably a lab leak!

But :rolleyes: on the idea that this is going to lead to war. There are better reasons for the US to increase their pressure on China as it is, so I can see this potentially being a tool for the US to turn opinion in other countries against China, sure. But if you think this is groundless and unverifiable, rather than a sincere assessment (that they admit is low confidence!) based on at least some verifiable grounds, then it's pretextual anyway, so the path to war is motivated by something else and the US will continue on that path anyway.

But I'm not going to just assume that the DoE is making shit up to smear China. If the US gov't wanted to do that, they wouldn't use a low confidence assessment about epidemiology from the Dept of Energy that disagrees with most of the other US agencies to do so! So I'm going to guess that probably that's not what's happening. Maybe I'm reading too much into your comment there in thinking you're suggesting nefarious behavior on the part of the US.

Regardless, I did see some other cogent points about the issue though:

- The regime also finds the wet market theory embarrassing for China and has tried to push back on it as well. The owner of the wet market is also connected to Xi's cousin, so that could also be a factor...
- The nature of the regime is such that the coverup would not need to come from the top. If there was a lab leak, the people involved would try to cover it up, not report it to the national gov't, and likewise if it wasn't a lab leak but there were fuckups locally. It might be that the regime itself doesn't know so much more than the rest of us.

So again, the behavior of the regime doesn't require that it's a coverup of a lab leak. So I find the evidence we do have more important than making inferences of nefarious behavior based on China's lack of transparency. They would behave that way anyway. But it does seem likely that they didn't handle the beginning of the pandemic correctly. Maybe not the most blameworthy - obviously this is a hard problem! - but embarrassing for them nonetheless, given that they claim to be better than democracies.
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  #814  
Old 03-02-2023, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

It’s important to note, only “White House and key members of Congress.“ have read this report, not even the WSJ who broke the story has seen it. It appears to be a less than 5 page update to previous reports, and it may never be unclassified.

Which doesn’t change the suspect nature of the chinese government, just that not even the WSJ knows exactly what the DOE said. Despite headlines acting like it’s a done deal.
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  #815  
Old 03-02-2023, 10:08 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

There seems to be at least a suggestion that something was going on several months before the thing took off, and certainly some lab workers were involved in the investigations going on.
A "Lab Leak" would not be completely out of the question, by any means, but any leak that took place would likely be coincidental to the overall outbreak.
There had to have been an initial bug to be investigated, I suspect, and it was probably a matter of time before it actually got a foothold in the wild.

So, calling "a lab leak" the cause of the outbreak just sloughs off any attempts at accountability, and feeds the conspiracy game, without getting to a root cause.

And this is not an attempt at correction, or placing blame, anywhere so much as my trying to make sense of the thing, without feeding the conspiracy monsters.
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  #816  
Old 03-04-2023, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by erimir View Post
But :rolleyes: on the idea that this is going to lead to war.
Whatever. There are many not-so-great things well short of direct military conflict that can arise from geopolitical tensions, but by all means go straight to the most extreme outcome so you can downplay agencies of the US Govt ratcheting things along just because there's a Democrat in the White House.

See? I can also leap to an uncharitable reading of your posts!

To be a bit less pissy, please do point out the flaws in the Chinese Govt actions and transparency. That's great! But it's also a good idea for people to say that US Govt agencies waving this stuff around without providing any evidence is bad, actually.
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  #817  
Old 03-11-2023, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Were Fox to lose, "there would be a scramble by other news organizations to distance themselves from Fox's techniques and Fox's editorial decisions," Kirtley says. "But the problem is that by lifting the veil on the editorial decision-making process, we are now going to see all news organizations called into question going forward." She says she believes such a verdict finding Fox liable for defamation would encourage more such cases.
I’m not seeing the issue here.

Quote:
In its legal briefs, Fox leans heavily on the idea that news organizations must be allowed to convey allegations by major public figures to their audiences — even wild allegations. Rutgers' Chen says that doesn't hold up if Fox was motivated by profit instead of the newsworthiness of the claims being presented in its programs.

"The fact that there was arguably a motive by Fox to publish these accusations against Dominion based on its own economic interests in retaining Trump viewers would, if believed by the jury, probably destroy that argument," Chen says.
Here’s hoping.


Fox News says loss in $1.6 billion defamation case would harm all media : NPR

Alternative title: Fox continues peddling self serving narrative.
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  #818  
Old 03-17-2023, 04:20 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Cross-posting from the Winnie the Flu thread:
Quote:
The Strongest Evidence Yet That an Animal Started the Pandemic - The Atlantic

New evidence suggests that covid came from raccoon dogs. Chinese researchers only uploaded the data recently, even though the samples were taken early in the pandemic, and they've subsequently disappeared from the database. Curious.
The article also points out that China has frequently claimed that the virus must've really started in another country. Which would explain the lack of transparency just fine.

Another point as far as why they might cover things up is that for China, aside from wanting to deflect all blame as much as they can regardless of which theory of Chinese origin (if the Chinese people believe it, that might be good enough for them anyway), is that the regime may prefer a conspiracy theory about them having a cutting edge lab that can engineer deadly pandemics than a narrative about China having poorly regulated markets where people will eat just about any animal, particularly when the market is connected (somewhat indirectly) to Xi.

Like people are going to assume that China would prefer not to look evil, but a relevant factor is that it also makes them look powerful. And they're not that concerned with what Joe Schmoe from Alabama thinks, period. Anyway, maybe that's a factor, maybe it's not.
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  #819  
Old 03-17-2023, 06:37 AM
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A new analysis of genetic sequences collected from the market shows that raccoon dogs being illegally sold at the venue could have been carrying and possibly shedding the virus at the end of 2019.
"Could have", or "possibly shedding", the language of bullshit.

The real issue, is that the Chinese are fucking disgusting people who eat raccoon dogs.
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Old 03-17-2023, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Away with your dime-store racist trolling!
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  #821  
Old 03-17-2023, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

FX demonstrating why a cover-up doesn't have to be about a lab leak.

Pandemic caused by eating behaviors that many Westerners consider barbaric and disgusting? Can't see why they might cover up anything about that...
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  #822  
Old 03-17-2023, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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"Could have", or "possibly shedding", the language of bullshit.
Exactly the opposite. Bullshitters are full of confidence for things they know are not true. Those who are concerned with accuracy do not make strong statements if they do have have sufficient reason to be certain.
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  #823  
Old 04-09-2023, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

After seeing the hundredth or so ‘trans people are pushing their agenda onto all of America!!’ freak outs I thought of this analogy,

Imagine someone shits in a bag, writes your name on it and then leaves it somewhere in your state, but doesn’t tell. Now imagine if your friend Carl found that bag, brought it to you and left it on your door step to inform you of it. How nice of Carl to let you know someone is doing this. Then the next day another bag of poop is on your front door step, Carl spent the night hunting the back roads to find it, and it continues this way, every morning you wake to a bag of poop on your door step thanks to your friend Carl. After awhile you really start to wonder, is the person who keeps leaving bag of poop at my door step my friend? No no, he must be, he’s keeping me informed.

(Now imagine it’s not a bag of poop at all but just people trying to enjoy themselves doing things you’re not interested in.)
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  #824  
Old 04-09-2023, 08:52 PM
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And they're not leaving at your door. You just pass by them on the sidewalk, thinking people are just putting them there for you and you alone to deal with in your otherwise bag-of-poop-free life.
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  #825  
Old 09-22-2023, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

David Brooks again.

New York Times Writer Complains About Airport Food Prices With Outrageous Tweet
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