It is becoming clear that former President Donald Trump was unfairly disparaged as a “conspiracy theorist” for making claims about the origins of the coronavirus that were always plausible. And while it’s obvious that journalists guided by hatred for Trump played a key role in bashing the so-called lab leak theory, they didn’t act alone.
Many scientists selfishly supported the media’s disinformation campaign out of fear of being labeled Trump supporters, molecular biologist Alina Chan said this week, according to The Daily Wire.
Scientist comes clean
The theory that COVID-19 originated in a virology laboratory in Wuhan, China has circulated since the beginning of the pandemic, but it is only now being treated as a respectable explanation by mainstream scientists and journalists.
Many have speculated that this shift is political, since Trump, who was attacked for advancing the theory last year, is now out of office. According to Chan, a postdoctoral associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University who was reportedly an early proponent of the theory, this is basically correct.
While Chan is still not wholly convinced the lab theory is right, she told NBC News that many scientists were led to dismiss it previously because, “at the time,” it was “scarier to be associated with Trump.”
“At the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to publicly call for an investigation into lab origins,” she said.
As NBC notes, there hasn’t been any shift in the scientific evidence since last year, which remains inconclusive. It seems to have been pure politics. Many in the press, rather than admit fault, are still trying to blame Trump for making the lab theory somehow radioactive.
Trump was right
The NBC article gently skirts around the mendacity of many journalists and scientists by claiming they are now “free from the politicization that clouded such discussions” under Trump. Chan, by invoking Trump’s “racism,” seems to do this a bit too.
That Trump made insensitive remarks does not mean that scientists and journalists are off the hook for doing their jobs, however. It has become clear that many allowed their personal interests to cloud their integrity, and led many to abandon an honest search for the truth.
This included organizing a bogus letter early on in the pandemic in The Lancet, an influential science journal, dismissing the theory as a “conspiracy” driven by “xenophobia,” The Daily Wire noted. In retrospect, it’s clear what that was: an anti-Trump tract. Heck, it was an in-kind contribution to the Joe Biden campaign.
Indeed, for over a year now, the world has been told to “follow the science.” But scientists are people after all — not gods, as they have been made out to be — with human weaknesses.
Thanks to their lies, we may never know the truth. What will they do to regain the public’s trust? And when can Americans expect to see Dr. Fauci get a pink slip?