The only thing worse than a lazy journalist is an incurious one.
And the only thing worse than an incurious journalist is one who is both lazy and incurious. See: the Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum.
Applebaum, a supposed disinformation expert, is unconcerned that the corporate press conspired during the 2020 election to censor legitimate news reports suggesting President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, may have leveraged his father’s political clout to line the family’s pockets.
The censorship incident is unremarkable, she says, because the alleged Biden corruption is itself unremarkable.
Applebaum’s comments came during an appearance at the ironically titled “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference in Chicago. An attendee, University of Chicago student Daniel Schmidt, confronted Applebaum with her initial thoughts on the New York Post’s election-year scoop detailing the existence of a laptop, which reportedly belonged to Hunter Biden, and possibly incriminating documents and emails pertaining to the younger Biden’s overseas business activities. One such email purports to show Biden introduced his father, then the vice president, “to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.”
At the time, Applebaum remarked, “Those who live outside the Fox News bubble and intend to remain there do not, of course, need to learn any of this stuff.”
She was not alone in reflexively downplaying the laptop story. In fact, the broader press at the time falsely characterized the New York Post’s exclusive coverage as “Russian disinformation.” The New York Times this year confirmed the authenticity of many of the Biden emails.
In Chicago, Schmidt referenced a Media Research Center survey that shows 17 percent of polled Biden voters would have changed their vote had they been aware of the various Biden-related scandals, including the laptop the press actively suppressed.
He concluded, “Do you think the media acted inappropriately when they instantly dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as ‘Russian disinformation’? What can be learned from that and ensuring that what we label as disinformation is truly disinformation and not reality?”
Applebaum managed somehow to give a worse response than her initial reaction in 2020.
“My problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop is I think totally irrelevant,” she said. “I mean it’s not whether it’s disinformation or I mean I don’t think the – Hunter Biden’s business relationships have anything to do with who should be president of the United States.”
She added, “So, I didn’t – I don’t find it to be interesting. I mean that would be my problem with that as a major news story.”
Applebaum’s answer raises several difficult questions.
First, is she under the impression the laptop story involves only Hunter Biden?
Is she not aware that emails and related documents suggest Hunter Biden may serve (or may have served) as a bagman for his father, leveraging the Biden name to funnel cash into the family’s coffers? Does she not see the news value in documents suggesting the president’s son may have used his father’s position in the federal government to enrich both himself and other family members?
Does she not see the news value in the fact Hunter Biden’s overseas business activities, which may lead all the way back to the president, are under FBI investigation?
Does she not see the news value in the corporate press backtracking on its bogus “Russian disinformation” consensus?
One would think a speaker at the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference would find all of this incredibly interesting.
What, exactly, does Applebaum, a supposed expert on disinformation and democracy, find “interesting”? Let’s review some of her previous headlines:
On Wednesday, CBS News reported at least 150 transactions involving either Hunter or James Biden’s global business affairs were flagged as concerning by U.S. banks for further review.
I’d say that’s pretty interesting — relevant even.