News channels revive Covid conspiracy theories to protect Modi

Last year’s “Covid is a Chinese biological weapon created in a Wuhan laboratory” conspiracy simply refuses to go away. This is not surprising, however, because in India our pro-government TV news channels are busy broadcasting it.

The second wave of the pandemic clearly caught the Modi government off guard – even though it was their own caucus. In response, the government is engaging in good old image management. Far from admitting their failure, union ministers spent a day starting from a questionable website.

This article basically said that the Prime Minister DID WORK HARD SO STFU OK? The third paragraph began: “Very few talk about China and the possibility that the virus has been unleashed to weaken India.”

This raises many questions, but the article does not go into more detail. He just plants the seed and the author – a BJP spokesperson, by the way – walks away.

But hey, why bother to point out when your nice news channels are going to pick it up and follow it for hours on end on live TV?

Over the past week, channels like India today and Zee News wondered how China intends to destroy India by releasing a virus in the country. But the worst offender of all is the Republic network.

At Bharat Republic, anchor Sucharita proclaimed that Covid was made in a laboratory in Wuhan and that, for the first time, a Chinese scientist has revealed it to be true.

The scientist she supported is a woman called Li-Meng Yan, who has been used as a standard bearer by mad conspiracy groups like QAnon since last year. same Fox newsTucker Carlson – aka American Sudhir Chaudhary – featured it on his. In October, several major news channels interviewed her.

But the recent peak of interest in this conspiracy theory has come from five days ago, who claimed that the US State Department showing the Chinese military commanders making a sinister prediction. In 2015, these articles reveal that Chinese military personnel discussed how coronaviruses can be used as a biological weapon during World War III and how the health system of an entire country would collapse if such a virus. was released.

Cyber ​​security expert Robert Potter reviewed these “bombshell” documents and wrote in the Australian: “We came to a very confident conclusion that it was genuine … It’s not wrong, but it’s up to someone else to interpret the seriousness.”

Of course, our TV newswallahs worked with it. And guess who Time now decided to interview?

But who is Li-Meng Yan?

Last September, she wrote an article about the creation of Covid in a laboratory. Ten days later – set up by MIT Press to review claims related to SARS-CoV-2 – reported that its claims were “sometimes baseless and not supported by the data.”

But Yan’s work, which was posted in the Zenodo scientific research repository without any peer review, has exploded on Twitter, YouTube, and far-right websites. Conservative influencers like Republican strategist Steve Bannon have repeatedly pushed his work on his online show War Room: Pandemic. (His YouTube channel no longer exists but you can get an idea of ​​what he said on .) Yan then expanded his claims on Oct. 8 to explicitly accuse the Chinese government of developing the coronavirus as a “biological weapon.”

As Harvard University, Yan’s work was systematically designed to interfere with the work of the scientific community and was pushed on social media by Trump fanboys for their own political agendas.

Like Dr. Angela Rasumussen, a virologist at Columbia University, Yan’s article “seems legitimate because it uses a lot of technical jargon. But in reality, a lot of what they say really doesn’t make sense.

But hey, this is the kind of research that Zee News don’t believe it. Sudhir Chaudhary used it to say that China murdered Indians using Covid and they are to blame.

His “reporting” basically started with him telling his audience, “You guys, have you even seen the footage coming out of Wuhan? They are scary, you guys. See! They’re partying! ”

I’m paraphrasing a bit, but you get the gist of it. Not only that, he also gave helpful tips like these.

Here is the thing. Our government has been portrayed by the devastation caused by this pandemic, both in national and international media. There was talk of “”. Right-wing grippers have explained how burning pyres is a sacred Hindu thing and should not be shown while ministers are busy supporting this image of a hardworking Modi doing all he can. .

All of this as our pro-government, ad-supported media settled on a cute little narrative begging to be exploited and used to distract citizens from government mismanagement. This “Chinese bioweapon” conspiracy theory is just that – a conspiracy theory.

By giving space to convenient faces like Li-Meng Yan, they take space away from citizens who struggle to breathe, run around trying to save their loved ones.

Watch this week’s TV Newsance episode on Bharat Republiccoverage of the coronavirus as a “biological weapon”.

About Harold Hartman

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