American Journalism 2020: R.I.P.
As a personal favor, I ask you to please not laugh out loud when I say: Let’s take journalists at their word when they tell us the only reason they’re not running the Hunter Biden story is that, because they’re unbiased, honest, trustworthy professionals, they don’t want to traffic in an unsubstantiated smear campaigns.
Okay, you can laugh your heads off now.
Let’s be generous and say that at the outset they had reasonable concerns. How could they know if the emails were real? The story might be Russian disinformation. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer and pal, is involved -- that’s a reason to be skeptical. The story broke in the New York Post, a tabloid owned by the conservative tycoon Rupert Murdoch. Fox News, another Murdoch property, ran with the story. How could they even know the computer in question belonged to Hunter Biden? Isn’t the computer repairman almost blind? And what a coincidence, they say, that all of this comes out just days before the presidential election!
It’s not their reasoning, dishonest as it is, that’s so annoying. It’s the sanctimony of these journalists that’s galling. They’re not running the story because they don’t want to be participants in a smear campaign that might affect a presidential election – and they want us to really believe that?
Let’s make sure we understand that these are the same people who ran story after story about a fake dossier that was packed with lies about Donald Trump.
They’re the same people who ran countless stories informing us that Donald Trump was a Russian asset.
These are the same noble journalists who gave Adam Schiff more airtime than their own anchors get – all because he said he had solid proof that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians.
Where was their concern for authenticity and their aversion to smear campaigns back then? Do they think reasonable people don’t notice how hypocritical – and corrupt – they are?
So if the story about Hunter Biden and his father Joe were about Donald Trump and his son or daughter, are we supposed to think that these journalists would show the same restraint they’re now showing?
Do they think anyone who’s been paying attention would actually believe that?
We all know why they’re censoring news about the Biden family even after the Director of National Intelligence told us that there was no Russian disinformation campaign involved; even after Fox News obtained a receipt from the computer repair shop with Hunter Biden’s signature on it, indicating that the computer is indeed his; even after Hunter Biden’s ex-business associate said the emails were authentic and accused Joe Biden of lying about his involvement in his son’s business.
Here’s what that ex-business partner, Tony Bobulinski, said 90 minutes before the presidential debate in Nashville last week, something else most journalists played down or flat out ignored:
“I have heard Joe Biden say he has never discussed his dealings with Hunter. That is false. I have firsthand knowledge about this because I directly dealt with the Biden family, including Joe Biden.”
At the debate, Joe had every opportunity to say Bobulinski wasn’t telling the truth. He didn’t. He had every opportunity to say, without equivocation, that the emails were fabrications. He didn’t.
Journalists used to be curious. They wanted to find out what was true. That was before Donald Trump became president and they embarked on what they see as a noble mission -- to get him out of office and put Joe Biden in the White House. They think they’re doing America a great big favor by abandoning traditional principles of journalism and replacing them with partisan support for the candidate they want to win.
It’s true that we don’t know if Joe actually received money to peddle his influence to the Chinese and others. At the debate, he said, "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source in my life." That may be true. But did he get foreign money indirectly, through his son?
Here’s Kimberly Strassel in the Wall Street Journal:
“The former vice president is running on trust and good judgment. The Hunter tale is at best the story of a wayward son and indulgent father. At worst, it is an example of the entire Biden clan cashing in on its name with a U.S. rival. As Mr. Biden refuses to answer questions about this case, voters will have to make up their own minds. But given Hunter’s exploits in China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and elsewhere, much more is yet to come—in the next week and a half and potentially in a Biden presidency.”
A final word about what has gone way beyond bias in American journalism, especially in places like the New York Times, a place where so many other journalists take their cues.
Every morning the Times runs an online feature called “Morning.”
On the morning after the debate, the headline said: "Good morning. Biden and Trump meet in their final debate, and we break it down for you."
Here's how the Times broke it down:
“But the debate wasn’t normal by the standards of nearly all of American history. It wasn’t normal because one of the nominees — the sitting president — told one lie after another.”
But what about Joe Biden? Was he always telling the truth? The Times relied on a CNN fact checker to tell us that, “Biden was again imperfect from a fact check perspective. He made at least a few false, misleading, or lacking-in-context claims. Trump was, as usual, a serial liar.”
There’s still a week to go before Election Day so anything can happen. But we do know this much right now: Journalism is the big loser in 2020. Journalists have squandered what little credibility they still had left. And they may be the only ones who don’t know it.
Or simply don’t care.