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Lead Stories – a so-called “fact-checking” outlet partnered with both Facebook and the Chinese Communist Party-linked TikTok app – has launched a campaign to defend Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborator Ralph Baric after The National Pulse unearthed his 2018 remarks outlining how to “make money” from pandemics. Representing yet another conflict of interest, Lead Stories is funded in large part by Facebook, whose founder Mark Zuckerberg’s personal charity has sent six-figure grants to Baric. As revealed by The National Pulse, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awarded a $433,000 grant to Baric’s University of North Carolina Chapel Hill lab for coronavirus research. One day after The National Pulse published the article revealing Baric’s how “to be prepared and make money in the next pandemic” slide, Lead Stories had the article removed from Facebook. “Ironically, Dr. Baric’s prediction of profiteering through misinformation about a pandemic came true just two years later. But it was not Baric and his audience doing it,” the article, authored by Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke who has previously threatened National Pulse reporters, adds without any evidence.

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