October 21, 2020
(CNN)It was a blockbuster story. A respected Chinese virologist appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News in mid-September to share the results of her just-completed report. The conclusion: The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was likely engineered in a Chinese lab. On Carlson’s show, she claimed it was intentionally released into the world.
Then, its validity began to unravel. The publication of the paper by lead author Li-Meng Yan — an expatriate from China seeking asylum in the US — was quickly linked to former White House adviser Steve Bannon, long a strident critic of China’s government. The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security — a leading authority on the pandemic – criticized the science behind the report, and pointed out that Yan and her co-authors “cite multiple papers in their reference section that have weaknesses or flaws.”
A CNN review of Yan’s research found it was also built on what appears to be the same theories, similar passages and identical charts presented by an anonymous blogger whose writings were posted on a website linked to Bannon months earlier. Additionally, a source told CNN the three co-authors of Yan’s paper used pseudonyms instead of their real names, a practice frowned upon in scientific and academic work.
“You’d think that our media would want to get to the bottom of this pandemic,” Carlson said on his October 6 show, “but instead they ignored her claims.”