Tell us something we didn’t know. Unfortunately, the New York Post takes that advice in its latest reporting on Hunter Biden’s alleged hard drive. Rather than delve into business or political revelations, the NY Post chooses today to report on personal e-mails, photos, and the pain and partying they reveal.
In a way, it’s a more human side of Hunter than we’ve so far seen, but that could be tactical, too:
Hunter Biden’s emails and texts show not just a politician’s troubled son angling for lucrative overseas business deals — they also reveal a concerned father, a fun-loving friend and a man tortured by the deaths that have devastated his family.
In a text-message exchange from 2018, eldest daughter Naomi — named after Biden’s late sister, who was killed with their mother, Neilia, in a 1972 car crash — pleaded with her dad for emergency cash. …
Naomi didn’t return a request for comment, but neither Hunter Biden’s lawyer nor Joe Biden’s campaign have disputed the validity of the trove of data that The Post obtained after being extracted from a MacBook Pro laptop. The owner of a Delaware computer repair shop said the device was dropped off in April 2019 but never retrieved.
A computer camera roll of nearly 25,000 images is loaded with sexually explicit selfies and porn (which The Post is not publishing), but also has snapshots from Biden’s childhood and vacations.
And while some of the more than 11,550 emails involve Biden’s former job on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma and his dealings with the now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co., most of his messages are innocuous and personal in nature.
I suppose the Post can argue that they are trying to paint a more balanced portrait of Hunter, but I somehow doubt that he or his family will appreciate that nuance. There is something very creepy about publishing the personal e-mails of a public-figure-once-removed like Hunter, and especially those of his daughter in a time of financial crisis. Even if one makes an argument that Hunter is a public figure in his own right, his daughter isn’t.
And on top of that, none of what’s revealed in this report has anything to do with public policy. It’s private conversations and private behavior with no connection to anything to voters’ lives or choices. It’s an unwarranted intrusion of privacy with no real purpose other than to offer a prurient look into Hunter’s “wild life [and] pained soul,” when Hunter’s not running for anything. Imagine the outcry that would arise if NBC did this to Tiffany Trump.
Well, perhaps it has one other purpose. This looks like an attempt to validate their previous reporting through the publication of Hunter’s private communications, which isn’t exactly an authentication. The Post also reports that the Biden camp hasn’t “disputed the validity of the trove of data” that the Post claims is entirely Hunter’s, but that’s because they don’t have access to the source machine or data. It’s possible that it’s all Hunter’s, but it’s also very possible that some of it isn’t:
Why be cautious about Hunter Biden emails? B/c a foreign power could salt a mine of data with some stolen genuine materials (photos) and then fabricate entire email chains. I’ve been warning about this for 16 years: https://t.co/ERbG3M9IYt But censorship of materials isn’t answer
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) October 15, 2020
Combine this with the very strange and shifting explanations about the laptop, the data, and the timing involved in this provenance, and the potential for dirty tricks looks rather large. Until this data gets fully authenticated by an outside agency — hopefully the FBI, which reportedly has the laptop — the earlier reporting isn’t reliable, and this manipulative story doesn’t do much to boost the Post’s credibility either. The best we can assume is that this story signals that the Post doesn’t have much more to wring out of this October surprise.