Reports that Hunter Biden may be on the verge of criminal charges in connection with his taxes and statements he has made regarding the purchase of a weapon prove at least one thing: countless controversies involving the president’s son was a legitimate news story that deserved serious journalistic scrutiny, even if they weren’t treated that way when they first emerged.
As part of a broader research of Biden’s business practices, federal agents investigated whether the younger Biden was falsely reporting income from his business dealings, many of which were abroad, according to The Washington Post sources. The Post also reported that he allegedly incorrectly answered no to a question on a federal form about whether he was using or addicted to drugs when he bought a gun in 2018.
Would media outlets have been more curious about what at first glance seems like it could be influential if his name was Hunter Trump?
According to The Washington Post, federal agents now believe they have enough evidence to support a successful criminal prosecution on at least these charges, according to people familiar with the case. Ultimately, though, it’s up to Justice Department prosecutors to decide whether to charge.
Biden has denied any allegation. “I take this matter very seriously, but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these cases will demonstrate that I have handled my business legally and correctly,” he said. said in a statement when the tax investigation was made public in late 2020.
Commenting on the Post’s coverage, Biden attorney Chris Clark said: “We believe the prosecutors in this case are diligently and thoroughly weighing not only the evidence provided by agents, but also all other witnesses in this case, including defense witnesses.” and urged him not to be pressured.
Before becoming president, Joe Biden steadfastly defended his son. “No one has stated that there is even one lonely thing he did that was inappropriate, wrong…or anything other than looks,” he said. said early 2020. (Since he became president, the White House has largely refused to answer questions about Hunter Biden.)
But appearances matter and must be examined. Only real investigations into the younger Biden’s apparently suspicious activities can ever separate fact from fiction. The press must be willing to seriously investigate companies and carefully cover any legal or congressional investigations that take place in the future.
Even if all this research eventually shows that the elder Biden had… nothing to do of what his son was up toand that the many more serious accusations Don’t stand up to Hunter Biden, there is a legitimate public interest in understanding what happened. After all, the need for a serious investigation to establish those facts should be self-evident in a constitutional state.
But too many people disagreed when questions arose around Hunter Biden during the latest campaign. While Democrats could be expected to rally around their presidential candidate’s family, the initial response from much of the press and major social media companies was to stop that discussion. They have done a great disservice to the voting public and the principle of accountability, a mistake that should not be repeated as new facts come to light from the ongoing investigation.
“We don’t want to waste our time on stories that aren’t real stories, and we don’t want to waste listeners and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distraction,” Terence Samuels, NPR’s editor-in-chief for news, said through denial of coverage from Hunter Biden in October 2020.
Samuels’ colleagues agreed that despite the… Get New York Post emails from what was allegedly Hunter Biden’s laptop, which the paper said contained information about his business dealings in Ukraine and an alleged meeting he arranged between his father, then the vice president, and an adviser to the Ukrainian oil company Burisma, while serving on his plate. (The Biden campaign denied that the meeting took place.) “The main reason you haven’t heard much about NPR about the Post story is that the claims don’t mean much,” explained NPR editor-in-chief Kelly McBride.
The New York Times featured the Post story as a last-ditch effort by former President Donald Trump and his campaign to salvage a doomed reelection bid. The Wall Street Journal, the Times noted, went on to cover the laptop and its contents. In the article’s subheading, the Times described the affair as “the return of the media’s gatekeepers”.
For others, this was worse than a non-narrative: It was likely Russian misinformation designed to replicate the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election against Democratic candidate Hillary Clintonbut this time at the expense of the elder Biden.
Politics a story published about a letter that more than 50 former senior intelligence officials signed, pointing to the factors that led them to suspect that Russia was involved in the emails obtained by the New York Post. “If we’re right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in these elections, and we strongly believe that Americans should be aware of this,” the letter said.
Still, Politico acknowledged that the “signatories have not provided any new evidence” for their Russian claims of disinformation. And the writers themselves stated: “We want to emphasize that we do not know whether the emails that Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, sent to the New York Post are genuine or not and that we have no evidence of Russian involvement.”
Major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter back then suppressed dissemination of stories about the emails, with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg later saying Facebook acted in accordance with wider warnings for misinformation from the FBI. However, the emails were later at least partially authenticated by means of multiple major news organizations.
Some hesitation from the media was justified. The origin of the emails was suspicious, believed to have come from a laptop left by Hunter Biden. The data was: obtained by Giuliani, and Trump confidant Steve Bannon was instrumental in providing it to the New York Post. Many other news organizations, including NBC News, were denied access to the documents. And one of the few that wasn’t, The Wall Street Journal, refused to publish them in the form the Trump team wanted.
In addition, the allegedly damning information related to business transactions that Trump was particularly eager to publish. Understandably, reporters who believed… they made too much of it Hillary Clinton’s e-mails in their coverage four years earlier did not want their attention to a new batch of e-mails to become a factor in a new presidential campaign.
But Hunter Biden’s business didn’t require forensic computing to investigate. They should have aroused at least as much suspicion as the laptop. He is famous became a member of the board of the allegedly corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma, who received compensation for his service while his father was vice president and the American point man on anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.
The rush to dismiss Hunter Biden’s early coverage caused rumors to fester.
Hunter Biden was too paid by a bank who took advantage of his father’s work on personal bankruptcy law in the Senate. He had transactions abroad, some of them with governments hostile to the United States. A attorney for Hunter Biden said in a statement following his client’s resignation from the board of directors of a Chinese company in 2019 that his client “would not serve on the board of directors of or work on behalf of foreign-owned companies” with his father as president.
In many of these cases, the younger Biden’s qualifications were not apparent beyond his connection to a powerful father. Would he have gotten these jobs if his name was Hunter Jones? And would media outlets have been more curious about what on the surface seems like it could be influential if his name was Hunter Trump?
If anything, the rush to fire the early cover of Hunter Biden allowed rumors to fester. Many key “gatekeepers” let the obscurity of Trump, the Russians, and various right-wing characters overlook Hunter Biden’s own obvious obscurity, or at least dismiss its importance. It is a violation that at least some media have started acknowledge, but more is needed.
Tax and gun crimes do not add up to the most serious allegations made against Hunter Biden. These accusations also do not imply the president. But it’s still worth getting to the bottom of the Hunter Biden drama. Maybe now we will finally do that.