Much is being made in some segments of the media as to how embarrassed the New York Times must be over a lengthy news report in last Thursday’s issue that an ongoing U.S. Justice Department investigation of President Biden’s son Hunter is not limited to tax matters. Rather, it also includes possible influence peddling involving his father and foreign entities and his failure to register as a foreign agent as he may have been required to do. And therein lies an important tale.
Deep into the story by three of its senior reporters, it was noted that the broader scope of the investigation was based upon emails recovered from a laptop said to have belonged to Hunter Biden which indicated that he had, indeed, provided foreigners with access to his father who was then Vice-President.
However, several weeks prior to the 2020 presidential election the New York Post broke the story of the existence and provenance of the laptop which it reported had been received from Rudy Giuliani and had originally surfaced after a computer repairman said someone left it in his shop but never came back for it. Hunter Biden emails and videos were all over the device.
Yet The Times was in the forefront of a full court press by the mainstream media challenging the authenticity of the Post story and also an effort to suppress all coverage of it on the purely speculative grounds that it might be the result of “Russian disinformation.”
Thus The Times ran a story – never corroborated – sounding the alarm:
The intelligence agencies warned the White House late last year that Russian intelligence officers were using President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani as a conduit for disinformation aimed at undermining Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential run, according to four current and former American officials.
To be sure, Politico published a joint letter signed by “more than 50 former senior intelligence officials” who insisted that the materials retrieved from the laptop had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” But the letter also contained this caveat: “We do not know if the emails … are genuine or not. They’re just suspicious.”
Yet the pall cast over the Post story worked and the Washington Post, NPR, CNN simply refused to report on it citing the possible ties to Russia and right wing fanatics and the public – certainly outside of New York – barely heard about it before the elections.
In the last analysis though, this was a story that was entirely relevant to a presidential election and which voters surely had a right to hear about and make their own judgments – up or down. It should not have been suppressed because of the whims of the major media which had a thing about Donald Trump.
Our democracy requires and is entitled to better.