In 2020, it was a bad idea to note that, for most people, COVID-19, a coronavirus in the same family as the common cold only known to be distinct from the cold since the 1960s, was just a bad cold, or that wiping down everything with Clorox was doing no good, or that the lab next door to Wuhan with such poor safety protocol that a researcher had been jailed for selling lab animals to the nearby wet market might have accidentally leaked one of the 16,000 coronavirus samples they were doing gain-of-function experiments on.

You were called anti-science or, worse, a Republican.

Questions about the legitimacy of six-foot social distancing would get you uninvited from a lot of parties. Even wondering about the need to wear a mask walking in the woods was going to get you dirty looks.

I am all for social distancing in general. When the government came up with that breezy six-feet number I asked 'Why so close?' and 'let's ban social hugs next' but I never thought it had a science basis. 

Because it didn't. That is not to say you don't want people sneezing on you, you don't, we wrote about the effect of aerosol emissions here, but there is no magic line that made six feet okay and five feet a risk, it was the disease epidemiology version of dietary salt recommendations; arbitrary and capricious because it is based on an average with no underlying data.

Hey, a mask near Corona beer made as much sense as lots of other pandemic recommendations that got 'bro, do you even science?' sneering if you asked to see the source for it.

With Dr. Fauci testifying today about why a whole lot of Democrats in government made a whole lot of crazy claims about science in an election year - a vaccine without years of FDA testing was bad! Until their candidate got into office and took credit for it - both the Washington Post and New York Times have taken to doing...journalism...about the pandemic. It is rare that they don't lead with 'Republicans are wrong' but Washington Post lost $77 million in the last year and half their readership since the last election by competing among other papers only read by Democrats, so executive editor Sally Buzbee is out and someone new is in.(1) 

And they are stating what no one there would (or perhaps could, given their political one-sidedness) in the past - there was no science to six-feet social distancing.(2) Like nearly everything that went wrong in the pandemic, that was invented by the CDC. The same group that invented a prediabetes and vaping epidemic while those of us in science knew they were so incompetent they couldn't issue a warning about E. coli on lettuce within 6 weeks of it happening.

Those were not Trump appointees, they are career government union employees, and 90% Democrats. President Biden was no savior of science, he then used CDC to engage in rent control nationwide and force vaccines on private sector employees - but not his government union workers. So it's not like Trump told CDC to mandate 6 feet and then Biden undid it, it was kept in place until the summer of 2022 - all without showing any evidence how it might help. “It sort of just appeared, that six feet is going to be the distance,” Dr. Anthony Fauci finally revealed in 2024.

No one denies you shouldn't be around sick people, and Asia gets it right on wearing a mask if you are ill in public, but that is much different than using allies in media to shout down legitimate questions about how it came to be the number and why it was forced onto Americans.

Washington Post is rightly asking what went so wrong, even if they don't acknowledge they were part of the problem.

They have a practical reason to get back to being a legitimate part of the Fourth Estate. More balanced coverage of politics and science will train their new AI (LLM) to generate more articles with lower cost and less political bias. Less wellness mumbo-jumbo and climate doomsday narratives and more things that are actual science, not epidemiology or other computer simulations.

AI content isn't journalism but neither is what they have done since 2016. Cynics may say that with former President Trump being a convicted felon, his chances of winning have declined so much that Washington Post can safely be critical of the Democrats who botched a lot of things during the pandemic - 'China says it doesn't exist, so we say Trump is just racist' followed by 'Trump caused it' - but I prefer to believe that Washington Post has seen that the market is not buying the bias they have been selling, and they want to fix it before the billionaire who saved it from bankruptcy decides there are more fun ways to lose tens of millions of dollars annually.


(1) After the election, they will test the winds of culture and see if they want to continue doing journalism or be the opposition paper of the President once again, like January 2017-2021.

(2) The models for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 by epidemiologists were also hot garbage.