So the Hunter Biden story is now fair game? Imagine that.
In the past few days, mainstream media outlets have been awash with reports of federal investigations into the Biden family’s foreign ties and finances, including alleged money laundering, influence peddling, tax violations and other such corrupt misdeeds.
How times have changed. When stories broke about Hunter Biden’s high-paying, no-show job with Ukrainian energy giant Burisma, reporters fled from it. When Judicial Watch uncovered information about Hunter Biden taking five trips to China with his father on Air Force Two, which resulted in billion-dollar deals, reporters were unimpressed. When the New York Post ran an explosive series of reports on the scandalous material on the Hunter Biden laptop, the paper was banned from Twitter, other Big Tech sites censored the story and evidence-free reporting blamed the story on “Russian disinformation.” As Ari Fleischer commented: “The media is broken. Totally broken.” And we know that if it had been Donald Trump Jr.’s laptop being reported on, the Pulitzer Prizes would be ready to hand out.
The media’s motive is not hard to discern. Biden, who was running a lackluster non-campaign from his basement, had to be defended at all costs. A Rasmussen poll found that 52% of likely voters believe that the story was hushed up to help the former vice president, and among those who followed the story closely that number rises to 76%.
And the effort succeeded. A post-election poll found that 45% of Biden voters were unaware of the Hunter Biden scandals, and had they known, 9.4% would have not voted for him. If nothing else, this is a frightening comment on the ability of Big Tech to insulate voters from having to make informed choices on Election Day. As The Washington Post likes to remind us, democracy dies in darkness, so now we have a man who may become president with a brewing scandal – and unlike the anti-Trump “insurance policy” of four years ago, this time it is based on fact.
Suddenly, the pressure is off. Mainstream outlets are apparently free to report on the Biden family without repercussions. The effect has been startling. Hunter Biden’s potentially criminal financial dealings are now acceptable headline stories. We now hear that the Obama administration had known all along about Hunter’s sketchy ties to Burisma. And it’s not just about Hunter and Joe. We can now learn about Joe’s brother James, who is connected to a federal criminal investigation in the western district of Pennsylvania regarding a bankrupt hospital chain.
News outlets are shamelessly pivoting towards the story without acknowledging that the facts had been out there for ages. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany showed dueling Politico headlines at a press briefing, the pre-election banner alleging the Hunter Biden story was Russian disinformation, and post-election reporting the investigations. But the narrative still lives. NBC News reported on the federal tax probe but also reminded people that this came after Trump allies “made unfounded and baseless claims of corruption regarding Hunter Biden and his father.” As with George Orwell’s concept of “doublethink” in 1984, NBC was exhibiting “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
What changed? It wasn’t just that the press bundled “the big guy” over the finish line. After all they could just ignore the evidence of Biden-connected financial improprieties the same way they currently avoid reporting on election fraud.
It is tempting to conclude that the narrative is now shifting towards what they see as the inevitable Kamala Harris presidency. They want to take Biden’s victory, shuffle the deck and emerge with the first black woman president, a progressive radical who could not win a single delegate in the 2020 democratic primary. So in addition to Biden family stories, we may also begin to see more reportage on Biden’s health and mental acuity, another category of stories that was downplayed before the election but which would now help make the case for a 25th Amendment takeover.
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has called for a special prosecutor to look into Biden family financial dealings, noting that “if Joe Biden becomes president, then all those [current] prosecutors are in line to be fired next month. If there were ever circumstances that create a conflict of interest and call for a special counsel, that’s here.”
Whether a prosecutor could be found who would have the probity and integrity to carry out a legitimate investigation is another matter, but the process might shed some light on how the protected class in Washington peddles influence for lucrative contracts and relationships. It could also expose how politicians exploit family ties that operate outside the legal framework designed to limit public corruption.
And if the end game is to install Kamala Harris as president, Joe Biden may not be able to rely on the institutional structures that have protected him from scrutiny for decades. It would be ironic if the same tactics that were supposed to have taken down Donald Trump wind up forcing out Joe Biden.
Chris Farrell is director of investigations and litigation for Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog organization. He was formerly a military intelligence officer.