The destruction of journalistic ethics is nearly complete. The same group of reporters and pundits who rushed to report every rumor, every speculation, every lie about Donald Trump for the last four years now close ranks and refuse to report the emerging allegations about the Biden family.
Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptops have been a treasure trove of inside information about his reported influence peddling and shady deals, based entirely on his status as son of the vice president. It is obvious that Joe Biden supported his son’s dealings, and it may also be the case that the “big guy” directly profited from them. And it is now beyond question that Joe Biden used the power of his office to bully Ukraine to end an investigation into corruption at the energy firm Burisma, where his son inexplicably was a board member.
The New York Post has brought some of this evidence to light, or at least tried to. The Biden campaign has not denied that the laptop and its contents are genuine, which they would have done quickly had it been bogus. And former Hunter Biden associate Bevan Cooney has given access to 26,000 additional emails that reportedly substantiate what has been released. You would think that other reporters and news outlets would be clamoring for access to the rest of the information. Isn’t that what credible journalists do, ferret out the facts, without fear or favor?
But not anymore. Adherence to the liberal narrative has replaced the old norm of objectivity. Fear and favor are the order of the day. The only fact that matters is that the “laptop from Hell,” as President Trump called it, could be fatal to the Biden campaign. Thus, the story must be dismissed, censored, criticized and made to go away. Quickly.
One excuse for not covering the story is that it was based on hacked information. But the emails were not hacked, they were extracted from an abandoned computer that lawfully belonged to the repairman who tried many times to return it and collect on the $85 repair bill. And anyway, the media’s “hacked information” ban was only invented during the last election cycle to defend against a different round of revelations about Democrats. Real reporters should have no ethical qualms about any information that is hacked, leaked or otherwise surreptitiously obtained, so long as it is factual.
Another angle has been to resurrect the discredited Russian collusion charge. Pundits have charged, without evidence, that the emails are part of a Kremlin plot. Dozens of has-been intelligence officials published a letter claiming the emails bore the hallmarks of Russian disinformation, even if they were true. But the Director of National Intelligence, the State Department, the FBI and DOJ say there is no evidence of Russian involvement, and really how could there be? The charge is ludicrous on its face. But that has not stopped the baseless charge.
Then there are the tech titans who are doing their best to make sure the story does not spread. Twitter has suspended the New York Post’s account because of the story and locked the Trump campaign’s account over a Hunter Biden-related video. But Twitter reflects a very rarefied ultra-liberal slice of the electorate anyway, so does it really matter? Facebook has reduced distribution of the story, and many major newspapers and cable channels are ignoring it. Forget the idea that reporters would pressure the Biden campaign to give substantive answers to any questions regarding this scandal. The only tough question Biden has been asked recently was what flavor milkshake he bought.
There has also been little journalistic curiosity regarding the FBI’s role with the laptop. The Bureau had a copy of the files dating back to September 2019, and had the actual laptop by December. This was during the Trump impeachment fiasco and the evidence on the laptop might have nipped the process in the bud. But it was kept under wraps. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chair Ron Johnson has asked FBI Director Christopher Wray for details about how the Bureau handled the laptop, and there have been persistent rumors that Wray will either resign or be fired. Clearly there is a story here, but few reporters seem interested in it.
This ideologically driven approach to reporting is sadly nothing new. In “Looking Back on the Spanish War,” George Orwell wrote that during the Spanish Civil War he saw “newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts,” and “eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened.” That accurately describes most coverage of the Russian collusion hoax. In addition, Orwell wrote he saw “history being written not in terms of what happened but what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’” And that is how the Biden laptop story is being shaped.
Chris Farrell is director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog. He is a former military intelligence officer.