Right from the very beginning they were lying. From Dinesh D’Souza at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:
It can now be said publicly: The massive public campaign to convince and even compel the world to accept the idea that SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, arose naturally from a meat market in Wuhan was a hoax.
The gory details are contained in a bombshell investigative report in the magazine Vanity Fair. This alone is surprising. Vanity Fair is a culture and trends magazine, not noted for this type of serious inquiry. Yet Katherine Eban’s in-depth article is thoroughly researched, with multiple named sources, and written in the style of a detective story.
The first question to ask is: How did we get a scientific and media consensus that SARS-CoV2 originally came from the Wuhan meat market? The answer is a group letter signed by leading virologists that appeared in the reputable science publication The Lancet. This article dismissed theories that suggested SARS-CoV2 might have come from the Wuhan lab as “conspiracy theories” that had were flatly rejected by the scientific community.
Apparently convinced they had to “listen to the science,” the Lancet statement convinced media around the world to revile public figures, especially politicians such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), for even asking for an investigation into where COVID-19 came from. Cotton was almost universally dubbed a kook for even raising the possibility of “debunked” and “discredited” theories.
Digital media promptly imposed its strict regime of restriction, banning, shadowbanning, and deplatforming of users who were deemed to share such “misinformation.”
Acting on the recommendation of its so-called fact checkers, Facebook took down millions, perhaps tens of millions, of posts supposedly conveying the false notion that SARS-CoV2 might have leaked out from a lab.
But what Vanity Fair exposes is the behind-the-scenes mechanism for how that Lancet statement was produced.