Here’s a better slogan for The New York Times: Where yesterday’s conspiracy theories become today’s news.
On Wednesday, The New York Times published a long piece on Hunter Biden. It talked about the status of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into President Joe Biden’s son.
This was buried more than 20 paragraphs in: Federal prosecutors looked at emails from Hunter “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 Times wrote.
Those who rely on the national mainstream media probably quickly skimmed past that paragraph. But that’s the newsiest part of the story — if you remember October 2020.
That’s when the New York Post first reported on the laptop. It contained emails showing Hunter introduced his father in 2015 to an adviser to Burisma. That’s a Ukrainian energy company that once paid Hunter $83,000 a month to serve on the board.
Hunter’s primary value seems to have been that his daddy was vice president. A Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin was investigating the company for impropriety. Then-VP Biden forced Ukraine to fire Shokin, alleging corruption, in order to receive $1 billion in loan guarantees.
Joe Biden deflected the apparent conflict of interest by claiming, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
The emails on Hunter’s laptop showed otherwise. It had the makings of a major scandal.
But the mainstream media and social media companies actively shutdown the story.
In October 2020, The New York Times wrote, “The laptop prompted concerns about Russian disinformation.”
Politico breathlessly reported that more than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter claiming the emails had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian disinformation operation.”
Social media companies went further. Twitter locked the Post out of its account and stopped users from sharing the story. Facebook limited its spread on its site.
These weren’t innocent mistakes. They were deliberate decisions to shield Biden from a scandal that could have cost him the election. Biden won, so now it’s safe to report what was obvious 15 months ago.
A few takeaways. Most obviously, the national mainstream media is hopelessly biased. Just contrast the treatment of Hunter’s laptop with the bogus Steele Dossier.
Another is that the government shouldn’t be censoring “disinformation.” People are fallible, even those claiming to be unbiased. Open debate is the best way to identify what’s accurate. The coronavirus also provided numerous examples of onetime conspiracy theories turning into conventional wisdom.
Finally, social media companies that act like publishers don’t deserve the legal protections of platforms. Change Section 230.
There are still unanswered questions about President Biden’s dealings with Hunter’s overseas business ventures. Just don’t expect the liberal media to pursue many answers until after he leaves the White House.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.