Commentary

'Peddling Dirt' on Hunter Biden

By Tim Graham | December 11, 2020 | 9:42am EST
Moderator Kristen Welker arrives for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Moderator Kristen Welker arrives for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Hunter Biden scandal has reemerged the only way our Joe Biden-voting media will allow: through anodyne statements from Hunter Biden and President-elect Joe Biden's transition team. Biden's wayward son announced his "tax affairs" are being investigated by the U.S. attorney in Delaware.

The transition team said the president-elect is "deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger."

Repetition of these jejune statements seemed to be the bulk of the minimal television coverage this story received. The networks barely noticed. None of them featured a single critic of the Bidens. PBS offered 32 perfunctory words. NPR didn't feature the story on its morning or evening news programs, but each program featured a promotional story on the new video game Cyberpunk 2077 featuring an "anti-corporate terrorist" played by Keanu Reeves.

Hunter Biden only survives "difficult challenges" and "emerges stronger" through the energetic strangling of his lobbying scandals by the mainstream media.

On the "Today" show, NBC News reporter Kristen Welker replayed the weak-kneed question she asked Joe Biden while moderating the final presidential debate on Oct. 22: "In retrospect, was anything about those relationships inappropriate or unethical?" Biden issued a blanket denial: "Nothing was unethical....Not one single solitary thing was out of line. Not a single thing."

NBC did not rerun the debate clip of Biden boasting that Hunter didn't take a dime out of China. "My son has not made money in terms of this thing about — what are you talking about? China. The only guy who made money from China is this guy," he said, pointing at Trump. "He's the only one. Nobody else has made money from China."

Shortly after the election, the liberal website The Daily Beast reported that Team Biden had data showing "there was more social chatter happening around the Hunter Biden story than there had been around stories about Hillary Clinton's emails during the last month of the 2016 campaign." The saving grace was that, while voters chatted about Hunter all over Facebook and Twitter, the story "had not crossed over into mainstream outlets."

This is why Democrats and their media allies so aggressively pressured the Big Tech giants to squash the entire topic of Hunter Biden, especially when the New York Post broke the story about his laptop. They intimidated everyone into assuming the entire topic was off-limits. The Post's Twitter account was shuttered for a week. Any dwelling on Biden was unsavory activity that should be reserved for Trump-loving freaks.

Add the spin in The New York Times' front-page headline the Sunday before Election Day: "Foiled Once, Giuliani's Team Peddles More Dirt." There were three photographs in the story: one of President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, one of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and one of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui. The story focused much more on their machinations than on Hunter's.

One could just as easily demonize the daily output of The Times in a similar way by referencing The Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger in a headline: "Foiled in 2016, Sulzberger's Team Peddles More Dirt on the Trumps."

Our media elite pretend that they're all for the free and democratic exchange of information, and for holding powerful people accountable. But the suppressed Hunter Biden scandal story underlines that they have been shaming anti-Democratic narratives by engaging in character assassination of the conservative media. That and using the rulings of "independent fact-checking groups" to shut down journalism they don't like.

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.

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