Below is my column in The Hill on recent interviews with Hunter Biden, that seem to incriminate him in a potential federal felony. What is striking from a journalistic perspective is that Biden’s book is a target rich environment for reporters with references to his alleged influence peddling, abandoned notebook, and drug abuses. Yet every significant network and newspaper that interviewed Biden logically avoided any damaging questions. It had been no small accomplishment to avoid obvious problems within his account while seemingly interviewing him on these subjects. Reporters would raise the notebook of Burisma contract and then just shrug and move on without any serious followup. The glaring contradictions were left like admitting he had been a crack addict during the time that he had been receiving enormous contracts from foreign companies due to his unestablished”experience” on electricity difficulties. The conflicts with his own father’s accounts were completely ignored. The protective media cocoon around Hunter and his dad remained intact.
In the end, it is not the potential crime by Biden however, the demonstrable collusion from the media that is more of the story from these interviews.
Here is the column:
News anchor Lester Holt recently announced that”it has become clearer that equity is overrated,” including that”the notion that we must always give two sides equivalent weight and merit does not reflect the world we see ourselves ” Luckily for Hunter Biden, that planet is the one in which he lives and thrives. In interviews about his memoir”Beautiful Things,” some reporters either misstate the facts of his prior scandals or ignore certain leads, such as possible evidence of a national crime.
Truth, such as equity, seem overrated to a lot of the media today.
Hunter Biden spent the last few months evading questions, especially throughout the 2020 electionwhen an abandoned notebook apparently belonging to him was discovered to have countless embarrassing photos and mails revealing drug abuse and raw influence-peddling. He allegedly is under evaluation for potential federal tax violations linked to his foreign relations.
Yet, one of the”beautiful things” in Hunter’s existence is a press that inflicted a pre-election blackout on the notebook story and continues to wrap him and his dad in a protective media cocoon. This has been evident in a meeting with National Public Radio this past week. The article from NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving stated categorically:”The notebook narrative was contradicted by U.S. intellect and separate investigations by news organizations” That is completely and demonstrably untrue. Widely criticized for the untrue announcement, NPR issued a tepid”correction” for the article that now states:”Many news organizations cast doubt on the trustworthiness of the notebook narrative.”
There was, of course, a simple method to confirm the facts, instead of mentioning other information organizations that also neglected to pursue the narrative.
CBS News did request that question and received a bizarre response from Hunter it could be his, or it might not be”There might be a notebook out there that has been stolen out of me. It might be that I had been murdered. It might be it was the — that it had been Russian intelligence”
Or, maybe, it may be alien technology in the Andromeda Galaxy.
Hunter is denying any knowledge of the laptop’s authenticity, approximately seven months after its existence had been revealed by the New York Post and even longer since it allegedly was captured from the FBI. Throughout that moment, the narrative was investigated by the Biden effort and by Hunter’s particular attorneys. U.S. intelligence concluded it was not Russian disinformation, although Joe Biden claimed it had been. His effort caused 50 former national security officers to endorse this unsupported claim. The other parties on many of these mails have affirmed the validity as well as the FBi captured the notebook as evidence (that Hunter and his attorneys have been addressing in months of talks with prosecutors). Yet, Hunter asserts he is entirely unsure whether the notebook is his or possibly the work of Russian intellect.
One might expect some effort to research that issue using a followup question:”How do you remember details from your period of addiction going back 20 decades, detailed in your book, but you cannot remember this notebook?” Or”Even in the event that you cannot remember your own laptop, you’ve seen the images and mails — would be those authentic?”
Instead, the press showed the flag and then left the field.
The press did little better with the facts supported by Hunter. The press now has details implicating Hunter not just in a national crime but in the crime the government is making a priority as a policy matter. In his book and in interviews, Hunter says that he continued to use drugs during campaign period. He composed in 2019 he had been”done with all the entire world of politics, instead of figuring out the way to really go out on the campaign trail by dad, if it came to that, as I’d have in any other election season.
Yet reporters seem to forget that fundamental journalism means inquiring about consequences for his latest scandal, such as his potential action of a national gun offense. His most recent scandal involves a missing gun also raises the dilemma of medication use and a potential felony. The Secret Service is believed to have intervened in the episode, even though it warrants that, after a gun has been thrown into a garbage bin in Wilmington from Hallie Biden, widow of the deceased brother of Hunter. At the moment, she had been in a connection with Hunter and had feared what he would do with the gun.
To find the revolver back, Biden answered”no” on the firearms transaction record that asked whether he had been an”unlawful user of, or hooked to” a narcotic drug or any other controlled substance. Lying on that national form may cause prosecution under several provisions. The United States code which makes it a crime punishable by up to a decade in prison to”create any false or fictitious oral or written statement” to obtain firearms. Although prosecutions are infrequent, the commission of a potential felony from the child of a president is news, especially if president is expressing the need to tighten and enforce our gun control legislation.
Yet none of this matters when you’re in the company of shaping rather than reporting information. Even a top journalism professor with Stanford University has announced that journalism now wants to”free itself in this notion of objectivity to come up with a sense of social justice” Once free from ideas of fairness or objectivity, reporters are at liberty to ignore information in favour of a narrative. Things could be accurate but misleading.
As Lester Holt said in receiving the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, providing”two sides equivalent weight and merit does not reflect” today’s planet — a gravity-free press world in which allegations of gun crimes, influence-peddling and other abuses hold slim down.
Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You may find his updates online @JonathanTurley.