Yesterday, there was an extraordinary — and defining — moment on MSNBC when host Nicole Wallace cut off coverage of President Trump’s press conference on the basis that the network did not agree with what he was saying about Joe Biden and his son’s controversial windfall contract with a Ukrainian energy company during the Obama Administration. Wallace simply declared Biden was cleared and that Trump was lying so there was no need for viewers to listen. It ignored any semblance of covering the news and MSNBC appears perfectly okay with a host regulating what viewers believe based on her view of what is true.
Wallace said that the President was just trying to deflect blame to Biden and that “We hate to do this really but the president isn’t telling the truth.” She added “These allegations against Joe Biden and Hunter Biden he’s repeating had been investigated by the Ukrainians…the Wall Street Journal included in their report on Friday that the Ukrainians view this issue as having been investigated and adjudicated.” However, that is not accurate.
In the transcript, the President of Ukraine says that they are taking a new look at prior investigation. More importantly, there are two concerns with Hunter Biden. One is the concern of whether Joe Biden knew that his actions may benefit his son. I am willing to believe that Biden was not aware of the potential investigation of his son’s company in the Ukraine. Yet, there is the other question of whether the Biden family cashed in on Biden’s positions in these convenient and ample contracts. Children and spouses of politicians are often given positions and contracts to influence them. These payments are more difficult to track and to address under anti-corruption laws. Now, there is the incredible suggestion that Hunter Biden has never (even to this day) discussed his business dealings with his father. Never. Hunter Biden has said that that is not true.
What has long been difficult for many of us to square is how China and the Ukraine searched the world over for the best possible person to handle almost $2 billion and they just happened to come up with the son of the Vice President of the United States, a world leader who happened to be coming to their countries with massive trade and aid plans. Hunter Biden was that much of an intellectual and finance genius from Asia to Europe and beyond?
Yet none of this matters. The question is the role of the media. If Wallace does not believe Trump, that is fine. However, the press conference was news as a president gave his side of a developing impeachment controversy. Some agree with his view of Biden and the controversy. MSNBC is saying that it will not prevent viewers to see statements are its views as untrue about Biden or Trump. That is highly disturbing for those of us who have written about the loss of objectivity in media coverage and legal analysis.