National Public Radio issued a correction after running a false statement about the laptop of Hunter Biden in a story about Biden’s recent memoir, “Beautiful Things.” The article by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving stated categorically that the laptop story was discredited by news organizations. It was later compelled to correct that false statement but still has language casting doubt on the story and evades glaring contradictions in Biden’s book and his interview. Moreover, NPR continues to run false claims from prior controversies.
The NPR story originally stated that “The laptop story was discredited by U.S. intelligence and independent investigations by news organizations.” That is entirely and demonstrably false. Anyone who has done a modicum of research would know that neither Hunter nor President Joe Biden have ever denied that this was Hunter Biden’s laptop or that the files and pictures were genuine. They have refused to specifically respond to the contents, a position enabled by the media which has maintained a protective cocoon around the Bidens. This included the blocking of the story by Big Tech companies and a virtual blackout on the story before the election.
NPR issued a tepid correction reading “A previous version of this story said U.S. intelligence had discredited the laptop story. U.S. intelligence officials have not made a statement to that effect.” It would have been a tad more honest to say that there has been no denial that the laptop belongs to Hunter Biden and that the contents were genuine.
Notably, the article still states: “The last gasp of Giuliani’s campaign against the Bidens featured a laptop supposedly obtained from sources that would document the younger Biden’s drug use and other offenses. Numerous news organizations cast doubt on the credibility of the laptop story.”
What “doubt”? There is no denial from Hunter Biden that this was his laptop or that the content were authentic. Media organizations that effectively imposed a blackout on the story now are citing each other to avoid dealing with the presumption that the laptop did indeed belong to Hunter Biden.
There is of course an easy way to confirm that. Elving and NPR was interviewing Hunter Biden. It is bizarre to cast doubt over the authenticity of the laptop while not asking the owner if the laptop is authentic. CBS did ask that question and received a bizarre answer from Biden that it might be his or it might not.
Then there is this notable line: “in the final pages, it is the spring of 2019 and Hunter meets a South African filmmaker and activist named Melissa, who swiftly brings his life under control in ways Hunter himself never had. He stops drinking and smoking crack.”
Biden is now immersed in a controversy a missing gun in 2018 that raises such drug use and a possible federal felony. The Secret Service reportedly intervened in the incident after Biden’s gun was thrown in a trash bin outside a restaurant by Hallie Biden. Hallie was the widow of Hunter Biden’s deceased brother and was in an intimate relationship with her former brother-in-law at the time. She reportedly feared what Hunter might do with the gun.
That focused attention (on conservative sites) on how Biden got the gun permit in the first place since his long drug addiction. He answered “no” to question 11.e on the Firearms Transaction Record asking whether he was an “unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”
Biden had a long and documented history of drug addiction. His divorce in 2017 was due to such drug use and abuse, according to his ex-wife. Indeed, Biden had been discharged from the Navy earlier for drug use. In the book covered by NPR, Biden discusses the drug use starting when he was 18. Reports also indicate that Biden was suspected of using drugs as a strip club in 2018. The laptop contains images of Hunter using drugs.
NPR had all of this information but did not appear interest in the gun permit issue or the alleged federal felony in his denial. It is particularly newsworthy since his father is pushing ramped up background tests as part of his gun control reforms.
Instead, the article still states that following: “in the final pages [of the book], it is the spring of 2019 and Hunter meets a South African filmmaker and activist named Melissa, who swiftly brings his life under control in ways Hunter himself never had. He stops drinking and smoking crack. ” However, that would mean that Hunter was still doing drugs until 2019 — indicating that his answer on the federal permit form was possibly false. Yet, there is no question about whether the son of the current president committed a federal felony.
Yet, NPR at least acknowledged that its earlier factual claim was false or at least unsupported. That is more than other stories which NPR has refused to correct.
For example, I referred to one story in testimony before Congress and in columns on the clearing of the Lafayette Park area. NPR still have the story on its website entitled “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op.” To use NPR’s language, that story has been “discredited” by government agencies.
A wide array of witnesses and documents detailed how the plan to clear the area was put into motion over 24 hours before the actual operation — and long before any discussion of a photo op. The Park Police wanted to expand the perimeter to protect the White House and the plan was approved by then Attorney General Bill Barr. It was delayed because the officers were waiting for both fencing material and back-up personnel. When the personnel and fencing arrived, they proceeded with the operation. Barr repeatedly denied having knowledge of Trump’s desire for a photo op which arose long after the plan was approved.
Moreover, calling the protest entirely peaceful is only possible by focusing on the time just before the clearing. As discussed in my testimony, there was an exceptionally high number of officers injured during the protests around the White House complex. Some 150 officers were injured during the protests and half of those were injured around the White House. The Justice Department claimed 750 injured officers during the various protests. What is clear that is dozens of officers were injured and there are videotapes of officers hit by frozen bottles, bricks and other missiles. For two days, the violence continued with the burning of a historic structure, extensive property damage and the attempted burning down of the historic St. John’s Church. The attacks around the complex were so great that the President was moved into the bunker and officers said that they were concerned that the complex might be breached. The clearing again was tied to the earlier violence and threat to the complex.
NPR has never corrected its article claiming that the clearing was due to the plan for a photo op:
The plaza between St. John’s Church and Lafayette Park was full of people nonviolently protesting police brutality late Monday afternoon when U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops, with the use of tear gas, suddenly started pushing them away for no apparent reason.
And then it became clear.
President Trump wanted to walk from the White House through the park to the Episcopal church.
There is no support for that outright statement of fact. Yet, it remains on NPR’s website.
NPR is particularly concerning in such controversies because it is subsidized by the federal government. While private media is often accused of acting like a state media in controversies like Hunter Biden blackout, NPR is supported by the state. Claims of bias to support the current Administration is therefore more concerning.