There are some things that are just painful to watch. For some of us, the Bears offensive line in the last couple of years would force us to look the other way for four quick downs. For others, it is cringeworthy dancing and singing of politicians to appeal to younger voters. However, there is nothing more painful than watching the media forced to recognize long-buried scandals related to the Biden family.
Last year, National Public Radio admitted that the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic and not Russian disinformation. It appears to have taken the New York Times even longer to move along that journalistic path of the Kübler-Ross process of grieving.
The Times has now expressly and unambiguously stated that the laptop was abandoned by Hunter Biden, contains authentic emails, and is part of the basis for the ongoing investigation of Biden by federal authorities. Even with this admission against interests, the Times is downplaying the possible criminal charges in coverage strikingly different from its coverage of Trump officials charged on the same grounds.
For those of us who have written about the laptop for two years, it has been a constant barrage of criticism of spreading “Russian disinformation” or discussing manufactured emails.
Notably, the Biden family never outright denied that the laptop belonged to Hunter. They just kept repeating that it was Russian disinformation. It did not matter that recipients of the emails confirmed the authenticity of the messages detailing extensive influence peddling schemes by the Biden family. The Biden campaign assembled the usual list of experts to shut off debate by declaring that this was all false. It was a mantra from President Biden to a legion of reporters. As Biden stated
“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant. [F]ive former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage.”
The press ran with that account despite the early determination of American intelligence that it was not Russian disinformation.
Some were more honest, or at least forthright, than others. Washington Post columnist Thomas Rid wrote that “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.
Let that sink in for a second. It does not matter if these are real emails and not Russian disinformation. They probably are real but should be treated as disinformation even though American intelligence has repeatedly rebutted that claim. It does not even matter that the computer was seized as evidence in a criminal fraud investigation or that a Biden confidant is now giving his allegations to the FBI under threat of criminal charges if he lies to investigators.
One of the most active voices spreading that disinformation was White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who repeatedly deflected questions by suggesting that those of us pushing the issue were helping Russian intelligence. She would brush off any questions by stating “I think it’s broadly known and widely known that there was a broad range of Russian disinformation back in 2020.”
Most media have not seriously pressed Psaki on those false claims. Indeed, those 50 experts have not been confronted on the falsity of that much cited letter. We have seen the same treatment with legal analysts who have pushed false accounts. When major claims are later debunked, they are quickly set aside by a sympathetic media.
The New York Times article is masterpiece in the art of burying such admissions. In the middle of the long article is this:
People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.
For two years, the New York Times has been largely quiet as the Biden family sought to avoid allegations of raw influence peddling by claiming that this was all Russian disinformation. Now, it appears, the truth can be told. Note that key authenticating facts were known two years ago, it was only the ability to recognize those facts that have changed.
Indeed, some columnists are celebrating a “scandal-free” start to the Biden Administration — an accomplishment only possible with the help of obligating media. Every time new contradictions arose or evidence of windfall payments to Hunter were disclosed, the media eagerly followed President Biden to the nearest ice cream shop to discuss the scoop of the day.
Notably, the Times article strongly suggests that any prosecution of Biden would be controversial and questionable. It questions any tax prosecution because sources say he has paid off those taxes. It does not delve into the extensive evidence of influence peddling but does address the possible charge of being an unregistered foreign agent.
“…prosecutors face a number of hurdles to bringing criminal charges, the people familiar with the investigation said, including proving that Mr. Biden intentionally violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which requires disclosure to the Justice Department of lobbying or public relations assistance on behalf of foreign clients.”
It was a strikingly different tone and analysis of FARA charges in the coverage of possible charges against Trump figures where such charges were described as “crimes of convenience” and quoted experts who predicted robust enforcement against such figures.
What is also missing in this admission is the most obvious implication. If these emails are authentic, they reveal a series of messages from Hunter on the use of some of his foreign monies to support his father and the intermixing of their funds. The emails also directly contradict President Biden’s past denials. His own Justice Department is now investigating President Biden’s family in allegations that have direct and potentially damaging impact for him personally. Yet, Attorney General Merrick Garland has ignored calls for a special counsel.
Even with the belated recognition that the emails are authentic, the media still avoids such obvious questions and the need for a special counsel. It is good to see the New York Times make it all the way to acceptance on the Kübler-Ross scale and I do not question the sense of deep grief in such a moment. However, now that we agree these are Hunter’s emails, we might want to discuss what they contain and who they implicate.