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Washington Post corrects story calling Wuhan lab leak 'conspiracy theory' and 'debunked'

The original article was written in February 2020 criticizing Sen. Tom Cotton.

Updated: June 2, 2021 - 4:30pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


The Washington Post has issued a correction on an article in which concerns about COVID-19 having been leaked from a Wuhan, China, lab were called "conspiracy theory."

The article was published in February 2020 and criticizing Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, among the first to raise concerns about whether the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

The correction was issued Tuesday, amid increasing concerns about how the virus spread worldwide, killed roughly 3.7 million people.

The Chinese government originally said the virus was transmitted to a human at a wild animal market. 

The original headline read: "Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus conspiracy theory that was already debunked."

The corrected headline reads: "Tom Cotton keeps repeating a coronavirus fringe theory that scientists have disputed."

In a note with the correction, editors said they changed the headline and that the article "inaccurately characterized comments" by Cotton "regarding the origins of the coronavirus."

The note also stated the terms "debunked" and "conspiracy theory" were removed because "there was no determination about the origins of the virus."

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