The partisan bias of Rolling Stone really shone through on Tuesday in a piece by Kara Voght, who wrote about "The Conspiracies Powering the GOP-Controlled House," with her subheadline going on to preview "How Republicans have put disinformation and falsehoods at the center of their governing agenda."
Without evidence or examples, Voght claims that Republicans, now in the House majority, are using the "most noxious online conspiracies" for "the focus of official congressional inquiries."
She goes on to give slightly more details, but only to make clear that she's talking about origin theories regarding COVID-19, under the header of "The Covid-19 'Lab Leak' Theory And Other Pandemic Conspiracies."
It's not just this theory that has increasingly been gaining popularity and credibility, though, that Voght goes after. "The committee will interrogate the 'development of vaccines and treatments,' a nod to unfounded vaccine skepticism that the GOP has embraced," she writes, providing no evidence that such skepticism is "unfounded." She doesn't even provide evidence promoting the efficacy of the vaccine to get her point across, either. We're apparently supposed to take Voght at her word because, evidently, she thinks Republicans are bad, and we should blindly agree.
As Spencer covered last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching an investigation because the new Pfizer bivalent vaccine "met the statistical criteria to prompt additional investigation into whether there was a safety concern for ischemic stroke in people ages 65." The news was announced before Voght's piece was published, but then again, it doesn't fit her narrative.
Voght does eventually get to the issue of the lab leak, as previewed in the header. Emphasis is added:
The committees’ chief preoccupation, however, is an unsupported claim that the pandemic began when the virus — either created through bioengineering or obtained from bats — escaped a lab in Wuhan, China. Both Comer and House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have asserted that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other Biden officials misled Americans about the virus’ origins because the alleged Wuhan lab received U.S. funding. “Fauci was warned early on that the virus appeared manmade and pointed to a lab leak and instead of blowing the whistle may have attempted to cover it up,” Comer alleged. Under the new panel, Republicans will investigate “what the U.S. government knew regarding the origins of COVID-19 and when the government knew it,” he said.
The so-called “lab leak” theory has never been substantiated. There is no evidence that the virus had been in a laboratory prior to the start of the pandemic and peer-reviewed scientific papers have put forth overwhelming evidence that the pathogen likely lept from animals to humans. Nevertheless, Comer and Jordan sent requests to more than 40 government officials and academic scientists last month, including the president of the nonprofit that subcontracted a U.S. grant to the Wuhan laboratory and four co-authors on an academic study that concluded Covid-19 was not engineered in a lab. (Fauci, for his part, has previously said he has a “completely open mind” about whether the outbreak originated in a lab, though has pushed back against lawmakers who have asserted the lab-leak theory in past hearings.)
Again, there is zero evidence that this is "an unsupported claim." The link she uses to point to "overwhelming evidence" comes from a Science article by Jon Cohen from October 10, 2022. He cites a report from "one expert panel" out of Australia. It's particularly laughable how the article quotes Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance. If anyone has a conflict of interest in this regard, it's him, as he funded gain-of-function research of bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Concerns over such research have come from both sides of the aisle, given that Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) cosponsored a bill known as the Pausing Enhanced Pandemic Pathogen Research Act in the previous Congress.
Back in the early months of 2020, when not as much was known about the pandemic, it was more commonplace, though not necessarily accurate, to dismiss people who raised what is looking like an increasingly likely possibility that COVID-19 came from a lab leak at the WIV. The New York Times notoriously did it to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). That was three years ago. Now, we know a lot more than we did then – except Voght still appears stuck in the past, all so she can throw Republicans under the bus.
Last December, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a report looking into the origins of COVID. During a press call that Townhall joined, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), who serves on the committee and is also a doctor, indicated a lack of evidence that the virus originated from the wet market. This is because while the origin of a virus usually can be found within the animal world, that was not the case when it came to the animals tested for this virus.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) has also led the charge on getting to the bottom of COVID origins. On May 6, 2021, he tweeted a lengthy and informative Medium piece by science writer Nicholas Wade exploring the origins, which includes some compelling evidence in favor of the lab leak theory.
Voght is not just months but years behind. Rolling Stone's tweet about Voght's article got her called out at length. Among those chiming in included Richard H. Ebright, a molecular biologist who Gallagher has previously suggested people listen to.
"[P]peer-reviewed scientific papers have put forth overwhelming evidence that the pathogen likely lept from animals to humans."— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) January 17, 2023
Wherein writer Kara Voght reveals she is scientifically illiterate, deeply dishonest, or both.
The piece goes on to also take issue with the Select Committee on Weaponization of Government, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, and its investigation into the Disinformation Governance Board. The board was formed by the Department of Homeland Security last year, and while it was disbanded, concerns remain.
Included as well is a rather biased and selected view of how parents were regarded as "domestic terrorists" by the Department of Justice. "Now, that false claim becomes a point of interrogation against Garland and his agency," Voght laments, despite the truth about how parents were targeted.
Voght also defends the hiring of 87,000 IRS agents and dismisses "Big Tech Censorship," which, as you guessed it, includes dismissing the Twitter Files. Not only is Voght dismissive, but she leaves out a particularly key detail, one which is buried in the last section and wouldn't be noticed except by someone who somehow managed to read the entire piece.
"The origins of the new Weaponization of Government panel come, in part, from revelations shared in the Twitter Files, a collaboration between Twitter owner Elon Musk and conservative journalists to illustrate cooperation between government agencies and social media platforms to achieve that objective," Voght writes, with added emphasis.
Not only is her point laughable because these are independent journalists, but among them, who has put out a considerable amount of batches, is Matt Taibbi. Not only is he not a conservative, he actually worked for Rolling Stone. His podcast, "Useful Idiots," was released through Rolling Stone until an announcement in March 2021 mentioned it would come from his Substack. But Voght makes zero mention of this.
Further, it's not just that Republicans are bad, but Democrats are good and worth defending. This includes Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and his affair with Fang Fang, a Chinese spy. The congressman, who has been tossed off of the House Intelligence Committee as Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), now the Speaker of the House, has been promising for some time now, is even quoted to elicit sympathy.
That Voght has a problem with congressional oversight to at least seek to get to the bottom of many issues facing this country, as they have the authority to do, is beyond ridiculous. Again, it clearly seems to be partisan. But it's also ironic that Rolling Stone is now the leading voice of defending any government authority, as a Twitter conversation between CNN's Mary Katharine Ham and Ed Morrissey of our sister site of HotAir.
Let us all just revel in how Rolling Stone has morphed into a defender of The Man and the establishment, and now shrieks when people even pose oversight questions to power.— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) January 18, 2023
I know, right? Even if I’m going to inevitably take issue with, say, a D Oversight committee’s strategy or whatevs, I wouldn’t be like “ew, we’re letting them investigate the fed Gov’s collection of Americans’ data??! Icky!”— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) January 18, 2023
If Voght's name sounds familiar, that's because she's the reporter who profiled Giselle Fetterman, now Sen. John Fetterman's (D-PA) wife, going so far as to suggest that Mrs. Fetterman is actually the "de facto candidate." As Matt highlighted last October, Voght deleted her tweet so as not to come off as making it sound like the senator's wife was really the one in charge.