Mr. White,

I am going to call you out once again on your usual brand of irresponsible journalism.

This is what you stated matter-of-factly in your recent March 13 “Much ado about naming the coronavirus” column, with your attempt to deflect attention away from our own anemic response to the Covid-19 situation: “Make no mistake, this is a Chinese concoction that came from a Chinese lab that was built to – at least on the surface depending on how deep you want to go in conspiracy theories – study these types of things”.

Do you even proof-read some of the things you “concoct” yourself? First, you state a conspiracy theory is positively, unequivocally true (make no mistake), and then you give yourself some wiggle room by admitting that it is a conspiracy theory. Which is it, Jesse? This is very irresponsible writing and I also call out your editor, Mr. Jerry Burnes for allowing such flagrant fear-mongering, when there is ample reason for genuine concern over this Covid-19 issue and this country’s response to it under the poor leadership from President Trump and the majority of those he surrounds himself with.

You continue your column with well-researched and vetted arguments (sarcasm) using terms like “Most experts agree”, “according to various sources”, and “According to various media reports” to bolster your grocery store checkout counter magazine display brand of fact-checking. Yes – you would make a perfect writer for the National Enquirer or other such rags. Maybe Mr. Burnes can give you a recommendation.

For example, you state: “According to various media reports, including a Jan. 7, 2018, story in the People’s Daily (which is mostly a state-run propaganda machine) the Wuhan lab is “capable of conducting experiments with highly pathogenic microorganisms.” Huh? So you use a story from a Chinese source to support your views, then go on to admit that the source is a propaganda machine (your words)? So, as long as the “propaganda” meets your approval it is ok then, right? That’s comical but perfectly fits your writing modus operandi.

You conveniently fail to mention that the very same Pharma Industry Review article that you cherry-pick scary snippets from to suit your needs, goes on to state that “The claim was debunked as a conspiracy theory by the Washington Post in a piece titled: “Experts debunk fringe theory linking China’s coronavirus to weapons research”. You of course also failed to mention that this very same article concluded with the statement “The exact source of the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak is of yet unknown”. But those words did not fit your story line evidently, so you felt compelled to leave them out. What is your mentor’s term for this . . . fake news? That’s you in a nutshell.

Of course it doesn’t stop there. You go on to parlay as factual that “. . . in a story in the Beijing News, patient zero was identified as Huang Yanling, a researcher at Wuhan Institute, and the virus was identified as, “Wuhan (New Crown) Viral Pneumonia.” But you fail to mention that in the very same article, the Beijing News states they sought confirmation of this conspiracy theory (their words) but were unable to do this. Good enough for Jesse White, though. And heck, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Steve Bannon, et al agree with you - and are your real sources of “all the news I need because it’s the only news I agree with”.

Jesse, perpetuating rumors and conspiracies is not something one should be doing in serious matters such as this very real Covid-19 pandemic as there can be consequences in the real world. But you do not know much about the real world with your sheltered existence illuminated only by your addiction to Google, Fox news and your social media feeds.

Me? I just returned from a mining project in Peru Tuesday evening on the very last international flight allowed in or out of the country after they closed the borders due to Covid-19. I was uncomfortably close to getting stuck there, in part due to rumors and conspiracy-mongering when a ruckus broke out several counters down at the LATAM check-in area at the Lima airport after various flights were cancelled – due to thunderstorms but the locals did not believe this as they had heard “other information”. Riot police had to settle things down and I was able to depart 30 minutes before they locked down.

Words and fear-mongering can have consequences so please be more diligent in your fact-checking and reporting and do not disguise and promulgate your opinions as facts.

Ron Ostman

Mountain Iron

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