PolitiFact, the purported “fact-checking” website known for making blatantly partisan and false claims against Republicans and conservatives, has removed a fact-check that accused Fox News host Tucker Carlson of promoting a “ridiculous” conspiracy theory about the origins of COVID-19.
A September 15, 2020, article written for PolitiFact by Daniel Funke asserted that Carlson, who hosts the most-watched program on cable network television, “aired a conspiracy theory that has been debunked since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.” The so-called conspiracy theory was that the SARS-CoV-2 virus does not occur in nature and was created in a virology lab, a hypothesis that is now gaining mainstream credibility with scientists and researchers who want to investigate the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, PolitiFact archived the fact-check and added the following editor’s note:
When this fact-check was first published in September 2020, PolitiFact’s sources included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated. That assertion is now more widely disputed. For that reason, we are removing this fact-check from our database pending a more thorough review. Currently, we consider the claim to be unsupported by evidence and in dispute. The original fact-check in its entirety is preserved below for transparency and archival purposes. Read our May 2021 report for more on the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19.
PolitiFact’s original fact-check addressed claims made on Carlson’s program by Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a whistleblower from Hong Kong who said the virus that causes COVID-19 was manufactured in a lab and the Chinese government released the virus intentionally.