We recently discussed how the media has made Hunter Biden a type of collective reclamation project — ignoring evidence of a new possible federal crime while not challenging glaring omissions and contradictions in his interviews. That includes avoiding a gun controversy even as his father calls for a new law to address the very issue raised by Hunter. This collective willful blindness was evident in the interview conducted last night by Jimmy Kimmel where the two joked about Hunter’s convenient lack of memory. Hunter goes blank on incriminating issues even though he can remember other details going back to when he was eight years old.
Hunter was asked again about his controversial work with Burisma but again the interview avoided addressing obvious and embarrassing contradictions. Hunter wrote: “Did I make a mistake by taking a seat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company? No. Did I display a lack of judgment? No. Would I do it again? No.” He insisted that he would only forego the money because “what I didn’t take into account was the way in which they would use the perception against my dad.”
Hunter then emphasized that he was qualified to serve on the board of an energy company after serving on “a dozen boards” like those for Amtrak and World Food Program U.S., and overall “expertise on corporate governance.”
For anyone remotely familiar with Hunter’s history, the only thing more maddening than that answer was the failure of Kimmel to have any substantive follow up.
For thirty years, I have written about the corruption on Washington in the use of spouses and children to gain influence with our leaders. I criticized it with Democrats as well as Republicans. Hunter Biden has long been one of the most egregious examples of that corruption. That is why it is so frustrating to watch the media whitewash this scandal.
Hunter used his father’s position to assume these positions — a history that was an open joke in Washington. I wrote about Hunter’s history as an example of the corruption of Washington and the role of nepotism for years, including a piece in 2014 when he was put on the Burisma board. Like many spouses and children of our politicians, Hunter Biden made a fortune as a lobbyist in Washington. That common path for children continues to raise troubling questions of influence peddling and corruption for our leaders as discussed in this earlier column.
As discussed earlier, Hunter Biden has the prototypical resume of the progeny of the powerful in Washington. He seemed to land jobs far beyond his experience or proven skills. Most law school graduates work for six years just to make junior partner in a firm. Yet, directly out of law school in 1996, he was given a lucrative position with MBNA America, a bank that was not only a campaign contributor to his father but a business actively lobbying for lending changes in Congress. His father, then a powerful senator, supported changes that benefited the bank.
Within a couple years of graduating, Hunter Biden amazingly ascended to the position of executive vice president. He was then given a position in the Commerce Department before he became an industry lobbyist. In 2006, President Bush made him a member of the board of directors of Amtrak. No one seriously argued at the time that his resume even remotely qualified him for that position, any more than his assuming the board chairmanship of the United Nations World Food Program.
At the time, Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware explained that Hunter Biden was qualified to get on the board of Amtrak because “Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains.”
Ignoring conflicts in the interview was no easy task. Kimmel made reference to Hunter’s struggle with drugs without noting that Hunter admits to being a crack addict all the way up to his father’s 2020 presidential election. Hunter left that off of his description of his work on Burisma. While Hunter was claiming blackouts of memory due to his crack addiction, he was also claiming that he was a natural choice for the board of an major energy company. Burisma and other companies not only gave massive payments to someone without any notable skills or experience, they hired someone who was a drug addict who was, by his own account, a total trainwreck. However, he was hired for abilities and insights on energy and corporate management?
Kimmel also helps out Hunter in his convenient lapses of memory. When asked, Hunter just shrugged and took a dig at Rudy Giuliani: ” I think, within my rights to question anything that comes from the desk of Rudy Giuliani. And so I don’t know is the answer.”
Kimmel then repeats Hunter’s excuse that he was in a haze throughout this period (which overlapped with the Burisma position): “I’ve seen you on some interviews, you know, talking about the laptop … and when they asked you if that was your laptop, you say you don’t know, which is hard to believe unless you read the book. And then it’s like, I’m surprised you have shoes on.”
The problem is that Hunter remembered a great deal of details when it served his narrative. It is only on issues like the laptop or fathering a child that he claims a total blackout.
Kimmel also ignores that Hunter has been going over these emails and pictures with counsel, the FBI, and campaign officials for over a year. Other individuals have authenticated the emails as real. It is facially absurd to suggest that Hunter has no idea if the laptop or its content are authentic. Instead, the media has allowed him to continue to suggest that the laptop may be the creation of Russian intelligence.
The concerted effort of many in the media to manage this scandal for Hunter and the Biden family should be a concern of anyone who values an independent media. The repetition of such plainly false narratives is common in countries with state medias. What is different is that there is no central coordinating agency. This narrative is maintained by general consent of a media that now actively shapes rather than reports news.
Kimmel is obviously not a journalist. However, his show demonstrates how this false narrative is being replicated across news and entertainment forums. It is a well-executed effort to remove this scandal for President Biden by converting a privileged son into a type of hero of our times. Rather than discuss his history as a deadbeat dad, influence peddler, and other facts, the media is driving home the image of an American Odysseus who overcame every challenge.
The fact is that it will likely work. This scandal is simply not convenient so Hunter will have to be a redeeming rather than a reprehensible figure. So the Hunter Biden reclamation project will continue.