In March of 2020 The Lancet published an article claiming that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus variation that erupted in Wuhan in 2019 and set off the COVID-19 pandemic, could not have come from the world's largest coronavirus lab. In Wuhan. Where scientists had been working on "gain of function" experiments to create stronger coronaviruses.

Suggesting it might have come from one of only three labs in the world doing this research, near the Wuhan market, was the same as being a global warming denier, they said, which was codespeak for 'only Republicans who are racist will ask that question.'

It created an "icy chill" in the few corners of science journalism that aren't solidly partisan. No one in science journalism wants to be called racist or, worse, a conservative.

I wondered then about their motivation. While Russia had been caught funding environmental groups who were at war with American agricultural and energy science - Russia's two largest exports - China had instead been exposed buying researchers in America, giving them contracts for 10X their annual salaries, in return for grooming young American scholars to help China. A researcher in Texas got a whopping $14 million check from the Chinese government. Yet the Obama administration had given instructions to not give China any special scrutiny, only Russia.

I don't care much what people call me when the truth is on my side. The most prominent whistleblower in Wuhan had mysteriously died after being arrested by the Chinese Communist Party. I noted that was very odd. If that meant I risked transforming into a Republican, okay. And it was odd that the World Health Organisation, usually quick to hyperventilate over anything that will give them attention/money, insisted it was not a pandemic and that when the Trump administration said people need to limit travel from China he was, you guessed it, racist.

Then we waited months...and months...and months for WHO to visit the actual site of the outbreak and...nothing. They went to the Wuhan wet market, but it had been cleared out months prior. They went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but were only there three hours before the Chinese government sent them to a nice dinner and told them they would provide all of the information WHO needed.

Peter Ben Embarek, who had lived for years in Beijing and lobbied to be program director for the investigation, then declared that SARS-CoV-2 could not have escaped from the lab, despite seeing no data. WHO even listened as the communist dictatorship instead claimed they believed it originated in America.

What about the database of 16,000 bat coronavirus samples? It had gone missing. What about the gain-of-function experiments?

A new piece of investigative journalism seeks to answer some of the big questions; did it leak from a lab? If so, why did so many scholars say that lab leaks, kinda common, were bordering on impossible, and that all-natural zoonosis was the only answer? Was it not wanting to feed Trump's "toxic racism" so much that scientists who wanted their candidate to win denied everything they know to be true just to be obstructionist?

Those are the kinds of awkward question journalists are supposed to ask, but few do, because they put politics first. Which means they are putting the responsibility of being trusted guides for the public last.