So now that it is overwhelmingly evident the New York Post’s initial Hunter and Jim Biden story wasn’t based on hacked material, wasn’t Russian misinformation, is clearly something people deserved to know before voting, and that big tech and America’s corporate media tried to make sure that didn’t happen – and that once again rather than alter their behavior or ask for forgiveness, they’re going to instead attempt to gaslight you about all of it – I have a number of questions.
First, when did Joe Biden first learn that his repeated claims the stories about his son and his brother were Fake News – or in his phrasing, debunked, smears, and the like – were in fact false? When was he briefed on this exactly, and by whom? And why, given that every effort was made to distance Hunter from the campaign, did the defensive announcement come from the Transition instead of just from Hunter himself if Joe, as he has always claimed, has nothing to do with this?
Second, William Barr reportedly worked very hard to keep the Hunter Biden investigation hidden from the public – something that won’t help his standing with the conspiracy minded. While I can understand why this was done, will there be some explanation offered as to why this wasn’t an unusual act of deference, influenced by the 2016 concerns over James Comey’s behavior? Andrew McCarthy offers an explanation here, one which I am not sure will satisfy critics who believe American voters at least deserved to know the rumored investigation was real much earlier in the process.
For Big Tech: Has Facebook detailed which of its paid Fact Check partners were the basis for it suspending the Hunter Biden story’s spread? Have these partners retracted or altered their checks? Will they remain Fact Check partners going forward given such obvious inaccuracy?
As for Jack Dorsey, who admitted their approach to the New York Post story was mishandled, will he apologize profusely to Twitter users for blocking, suspending, and invading their DMs to prevent the spread of this true story or will he just go on another mental retreat where he pays to sleep on cement and then lie in front of Congress about it all over again?
For the media: Will any of them admit they were wrong to decry the New York Post instead of stand with them? Will Politico’s Jake Sherman offer a second mea culpa in which he acknowledges he was right to tweet the story in the first place? Sohrab Ahmari writes:
At CNN, the same outlet now reporting on Hunter’s alleged whoopsies, reporter Alexis Benveniste published a piece headlined “The Anatomy of the New York Post’s Dubious Hunter Biden Story,” in which she triumphantly celebrated the fact that “the media world has largely ignored the Post’s Hunter Biden story.”
Her colleague and CNN media reporter Brian Stelter claimed that “this is a classic example of the right-wing media machine.
Really? How did Stelter know that? Had he or his colleagues done any non-cursory, original reporting to prove or disprove The Post’s claims? As it was, all the CNN team did was to fling slime at The Post and our sources.
Twitter locked the New York Post out of its account for supposedly spreading disinformation, Facebook likewise limited distribution of the group’s coverage, and establishment media assured everyone that the reporting was flimsy, that it was false, and that it was most likely the work of Kremlin operatives.
National Public Radio News Managing Editor Terence Samuel, for instance, stated publicly in October that his newsroom would not “waste” its “time on stories that are not really stories.”
“We don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” he said.
“There are many, many red flags in that New York Post investigation,” NPR Public Editor Kelly McBride said elsewhere in her daily newsletter. “Intelligence officials warn that Russia has been working overtime to keep the story of Hunter Biden in the spotlight.”
CNN published an entire “anatomy” of the New York Post’s “dubious Hunter Biden story.”
Politico meanwhile published a report on Oct. 19 titled, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
Infuriatingly enough, after doing its part to dismiss the story as a Kremlin operation, Politico published a follow-up report after Election Day titled, “How ‘Obamagate’ and Hunter’s ‘laptop from hell’ fizzled.”
Yeah, funny how that works.
“Trump embraces reported Russian anti-Biden disinfo campaign,” MSNBC reported.
The New York Times reported, “Trump said to be warned that Giuliani was conveying Russian disinformation.”
New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman added some meat to the disinformation angle, reporting, “Confirming the WaPo reporting that Trump was given a warning about Giuliani and Russian misinformation late last year.”
The Washington Post, which tells us that “democracy dies in darkness,” even published a report with the totally unintelligible headline, “Biden relies on pattern of activity to blame Russia for release of data from what is said to be his son’s laptop.”
Reminder: Evidence of the Hunter Biden investigation was out in the open following the New York Post’s publication of the laptop’s reported contents. It was right there for establishment journalists with the full backing of their newsrooms to authenticate and investigate. But they didn’t. Instead, they alleged a Kremlin conspiracy. They alleged it without a single shred of actual evidence to that effect. Not one.
There’s one more aspect of this that shouldn’t escape notice: The Expert Class. Will anyone in the media – including many purported intelligence experts – who claimed this story was a Russian disinformation plot or a fantasy invented by right wing lunatics suffer any professional consequences for making what is now such an obviously false claim in service of partisan interest?
We aren’t just talking about the likes of Michael McFaul, Adam Schiff, and the cast of Morning Joe, people no one should take seriously at this point. Former CIA heads John Brennan, Leon Panetta, Michael Hayden, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell all signed on to the letter falsely declaring the story to be Russian disinformation. Will any of them even be asked about that? Why should we take anything they say seriously ever again when they were so obviously lying for partisan reasons? And what will happen when the same crew, together part of a dishonest partisan smear of the New York Post about a story of enormous political import, comes to us to advocate for their next big foreign policy push?
I think we all know what will happen. The gaslighting will continue, because that’s the only play they have.