NewsGuard Thought Police Deny SARS-CoV-2 Leaked From Lab

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • NewsGuard recently announced that my site has been classified as fake news because we have reported the SARS-CoV-2 virus as potentially having been leaked from the biosafety level 4 laboratory in Wuhan City, China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak
  • According to NewsGuard, “There is no evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the outbreak, and genomic evidence has found that the virus is 96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus”
  • NewsGuard’s position is in direct conflict with published scientific evidence suggesting this virus was created in a lab and not zoonotically transmitted
  • SARS-CoV-2 appears to be a bat coronavirus modified to integrate spike proteins that allows the virus to enter human cells by attaching to ACE-2 receptors, as well as an envelope protein from HIV called GP141, which impairs immune function
  • Many mainstream media, U.S. and U.K. government officials, and even Chinese researchers, report that suspicions about SARS-CoV-2 having been created in and leaked from the BSL4 facility in Wuhan cannot be discounted, and that directions to censor reports about the virus’ origin is coming from the Chinese government

NewsGuard has classified mercola.com as fake news because we have reported the SARS-CoV-2 virus as potentially having been leaked from the biosafety level 4 laboratory in Wuhan City, China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

NewsGuard’s intern Nina Zweig (edited by deputy editor John Gregory) referred to my February 4, 2020, article, “Novel Coronavirus — The Latest Pandemic Scare,” in which I stated:

"In January 2018, China’s first maximum security virology laboratory (biosecurity level 4) designed for the study of the world’s most dangerous pathogens opened its doors — in Wuhan.1,2 Is it pure coincidence that Wuhan City is now the epicenter of this novel coronavirus infection?

The year before, Tim Trevan, a Maryland biosafety consultant, expressed concern about viral threats potentially escaping the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory,3 which happens to be located just 20 miles from the Wuhan market identified as ground zero for the current NCIP outbreak.4

According to NewsGuard,5 “There is no evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the outbreak, and genomic evidence has found that the virus is ‘96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus.’”

Evidence Suggests SARS-CoV-2 Is a Modified Bat Coronavirus

Sure, as detailed in my April 26, 2020, interview with bioweapons expert Francis Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, SARS-CoV-2 started out with a bat coronavirus, but scientific evidence has revealed much more about this virus, none of which NewsGuard is bothering to take into account before classifying and censoring reports as “misinformation.”

Importantly, there’s compelling scientific evidence published in many prominent scientific journals showing this virus was indeed created in a lab and not zoonotically transmitted (transmitted naturally from animal to human).

As explained by Boyle, SARS-CoV-2 appears to be a bat coronavirus6 that was modified to integrate spike proteins that allow the virus to enter human cells by attaching to ACE-2 receptors. It’s also been modified to integrate an envelope protein from HIV called GP141, which tends to impair the immune system.

Additionally, Boyle strongly suspects nanotechnology was used in its creation as well, as its exceptional ability to stay airborne for long periods of time is a nanotech hallmark.7

NewsGuard’s arbitrary dismissal of my February 4 article as fake news is equally inappropriate even if the virus is “all natural” and zoonotically transmitted. As reported by The Daily Mail, April 11, 2020:8

“The laboratory at the center of scrutiny over the pandemic has been carrying out research on bats from the cave which scientists believe is the original source of the devastating outbreak.

Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show the Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan — funded by a $3.7 million grant from the US government. Sequencing of the Covid-19 genome has traced it to bats found in Yunnan's caves.”

Governments Are Not Dismissing Possibility of a Leak

An April 14, 2020, report9,10 by The Washington Post highlighted the fact that U.S. State Department cables from two years ago warned there were inadequate safety precautions and procedures in place at Wuhan’s BSL4 facility, and April 15, 2020, Fox News reported11 that “State Department leaked cables renew theories on origin of coronavirus.”

Yet NewsGuard, the thought police advertising front group for industries like Big Pharma and tobacco, simply dismisses and wants to bury this information. Such censorship has no room in a democratic and free society. I would argue that shutting down conversations about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is a direct threat to democracy and indeed to science itself.

Will NewsGuard classify The Washington Post’s and Fox News’ articles as “misinformation” as well? Fox News quotes Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff12

"It should be no surprise to you that we have taken a keen interest in that and we've had a lot of intelligence take a hard look at that. I would just say at this point, it's inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don't know for certain."

As you may have noticed, in my “flagged” February 4 article I didn’t even make an assertion, I merely asked the question: “Is it pure coincidence that Wuhan City is now the epicenter of this novel coronavirus infection?”

February 16, 2020, Chinese scientists even raised the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 is the result of bioweapons research leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. See the video below for this report.

Since my February 4 article, I’ve become increasingly convinced — through reviewing the scientific literature that NewsGuard ignores or is unaware of — that SARS-CoV-2 may in fact be a synthetic virus, likely created and released (inadvertently or not) from one or more laboratories that worked on weaponizing SARS and bat coronaviruses.

According to an April 5, 2020, article13 in Daily Mail, British government officials are also considering the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 leaked from the Wuhan facility, stating the possibility of this “is no longer being discounted.” Will NewsGuard classify Daily Mail as a misinformant?

Will they accuse Gen. Milley of spreading fake news? How about Federal Communications Commission chairman Brendan Carr, who tweeted14 an April 16 Fox News report15 about SARS-CoV-2 being leaked from the Wuhan lab “as part of China’s efforts to compete with U.S.”?

Ironically, Carr even commented, “I’m old enough to remember when posting this would get you deplatformed.” Apparently, the abusive power of censorship that Twitter and other tech platforms have has not escaped the FCC.

Is NewsGuard Protecting Chinese Interests?

Interestingly, an April 16, 2020, report16 by CNN reveals the censorship of articles mentioning the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may have leaked from the Wuhan BSL4 facility appears to come from China, which means NewsGuard is functionally protecting Chinese interests and inhibiting scientific inquiry. CNN writes:17

“China has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus, according to a central government directive and online notices18 published by two Chinese universities, that have since been removed from the web.

Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to the now-deleted posts …

The increased scrutiny appears to be the latest effort by the Chinese government to control the narrative on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic …

According to the directive issued by the Ministry of Education's science and technology department, ‘academic papers about tracing the origin of the virus must be strictly and tightly managed’ …

A Chinese researcher who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation said the move was a worrying development that would likely obstruct important scientific research.

‘I think it is a coordinated effort from (the) Chinese government to control (the) narrative, and paint it as if the outbreak did not originate in China,’ the researcher told CNN. ‘And I don't think they will really tolerate any objective study to investigate the origination of this disease.’"

US Funded Wuhan Laboratory

As I mention in my interview with Boyle, while the biosafety level 4 (BSL4) lab in Wuhan may have leaked the virus, the U.S. may have played a role in its creation. For starters, the chairman of the Harvard department of chemistry, nanoscience expert, Charles Lieber, Ph.D., was arrested earlier this year by federal agencies, suspected of illegal dealings with China.19 Lieber has denied the allegations.

Lieber allegedly oversaw the Nano Key Laboratory, a joint collaboration by the Wuhan University of Technology and Harvard, although Harvard officials claim they had no knowledge of the lab before 2015. In our interview, Boyle dismisses the idea that Harvard was unaware Lieber was working on nanotechnology for biological materials with the Chinese as “preposterous.”

NPR, which summarized the allegations as being centered around a Chinese recruitment program, added even more serious allegations, saying Lieber:20

“… faces charges of trading knowledge for money and lying about it. Prosecutors allege he set up a lab in China in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from the Chinese government and then denied knowledge of those payments to U.S. investigators … others watching the case say it raises important questions about ethics, scientific openness and possible racial profiling in an era of geopolitical tension.”

Lieber’s attorney declined to comment on the charges, NPR said. It’s also noteworthy that both the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research have funded research at the Wuhan BSL4 facility, including research on bat coronaviruses.21,22

Arizona senator Martha McSally told Fox news,23 “The NIH must immediately stop deploying American tax dollars to China for this dangerous research.” Justin Goodman, vice president for advocacy and public policy for the White Coat Waste Project added:24

“The U.S. government’s spending spree that we’ve exposed at the notorious Wuhan Institute of Virology is outrageous and unacceptable. Taxpayers should never be forced to bankroll China’s hazardous bio-agent experiments, which put human life around the world gravely at risk. We’ll continue to work with our advocates and Congress to put an end to this egregious misuse of Americans' tax dollars."

April 14, 2020, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted,25 “At best, Americans are funding people who are lying to us. At worst, we’re funding people who we knew had problems handling pathogens, who then birthed a monster virus onto the world.”

NewsGuard Also Promotes Censorship via Public Libraries

NewsGuard has set itself up as the self-appointed global arbiter of what information is “trustworthy” based on nine “credibility and transparency” factors, not only for information viewed on private electronic devices, but also for information accessible in schools and public libraries26 — more than 700 libraries across the globe so far.27

Librarians will even provide instructions to patrons on how to install the NewsGuard extension on their personal computers, tablets and cell phones. Once you’ve installed the NewsGuard browser plugin on your computer or cellphone, the NewsGuard icon rating will appear on all Google and Bing searches and on articles featured in your social media news feeds.

The NewsGuard ratings are meant to influence the reader, instructing them to disregard content with cautionary colors and cautions. Fake news is certainly a problem. But determining who should have the final word on credibility and what is “truth” is not a simple one. Who is going to verify the credibility and transparency of the verifiers, i.e., NewsGuard?

NewsGuard Protects Big Industries

To understand NewsGuard’s agenda, you need to know something about its creation and funding. Aside from internet giants Microsoft28 and Google, NewsGuard is backed by companies that are involved in advertising and marketing of pharmaceutical products, cigarettes and unhealthy junk food to kids.

NewsGuard's $6 million startup was funded in part by the Publicis Groupe,29 the “third largest global communications group” according to the Publicis website.30 Publicis was founded in 1926 by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, a French entrepreneur, with the goal of improving the image of advertising and turning it into “a real profession.” In fact, Publicis Groupe’s name is derived in part from the French word for advertising.31

The Publicis Groupe has been manipulating what people think about commercial products for nearly a century. Over that century, this advertising and communications firm bought or partnered with targeted advertising avenues, beginning with newspapers, followed by radio, TV, cinema and the internet.

With revenue avenues secured, Publicis’ clients and partners built a global presence that dominated the advertising world. Be it tobacco or sugar, Publicis Groupe found a way to promote and strengthen big industries. In 1983, Publicis introduced the concept of global communication driven by marketing.

Within the Publicis Groupe are four networks serving its clients,32 including Publicis Health,33 which once boasted on the website that its clients are "some of the biggest and most exciting names in health and wellness,” but has now taken that claim down and moved it to job postings.34

Publicis Scoops Up Top Vaccine Companies

The list of clients that once appeared on the health site’s wallpaper has also been taken down, but were proudly listed in an October 2019 Business Wire news release on Publicis’ third quarter revenue report — which, by the way, was up an impressive 17.3%.35

The report shows that Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi Pasteur and Regeneron, just to name a few, have come onboard — showing that Publicis is now working for Big Pharma’s top dogs: vaccine companies.

By happenstance, Regeneron just announced that it’s working on a coronavirus vaccine and treatment.36 Regeneron is also partnering with Sanofi to find a COVID-19 treatment; Sanofi is independently working on its own COVID-19 vaccine.37

The Publicis Health board also consists of a power pack of high-profile individuals with Big Pharma position backgrounds or affiliations.38,39,40,41,42,43 Leo Burnett, the ad company famous for creating the Marlboro man ad campaigns that made Marlboro the best-selling cigarette in the world and led to the nicotine addiction of millions, many of whom died from smoking, is also part of Publicis.44,45

To put icing on the cake, Publicis has also added Google and Facebook Messenger to their repertoire.46 When you consider that Publicis now describes its business model approach as putting clients and their needs and objectives at the center of all they do so their clients can “win and grow,” it’s easy to see what’s driving NewsGuard.

What You Can Do to STOP This Abuse

Overall, NewsGuard is just another big business aimed at keeping the chemical, drug and food industries, as well as mainstream media, intact by discrediting and eliminating unwanted competitors and analysts who empower you with information that runs counter to any given industry’s agenda.

You can learn more about NewsGuard in my previous articles, “Beware: New Plan to Censor Health Websites” and “Thought Police NewsGuard Is Owned by Big Pharma.”

If you’re as disturbed by censorship as I am, be sure to contact your local library today to find out if they’re one of the more than 700 libraries using NewsGuard. If they are, then ask them if they’re aware of NewsGuard’s censorship of truthful news that is now encroaching on scientific freedom and threatening the very roots of our democracy.

If your local library is using NewsGuard, it would be helpful to start a campaign to get it removed. Contact your neighbors and let them know Newsguard is owned by a pharmaceutical public relations firm that censors information damaging to their clients' interests.