Old and busted: Reporting without fear or favor. New hotness: Ignoring stories involving corruption at the highest levels of government as a “waste of time.” This rationalization from NPR is taking a well-deserved beating today on social media, attempting to explain away why they haven’t even covered the Hunter Biden e-mail story — even though the Bidens still haven’t actually denied their authenticity.
Hey, I’m just here for the ratio:
— NPR Public Editor (@NPRpubliceditor) October 22, 2020
There are many, many red flags in that New York Post investigation. NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik detailed most of them here. Intelligence officials warn that Russia has been working overtime to keep the story of Hunter Biden in the spotlight. Even if Russia can’t be positively connected to this information, the story of how Trump associates Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani came into a copy of this computer hard drive has not been verified and seems suspect. And if that story could be verified, the NY Post did no forensic work to convince consumers that the emails and photos that are the basis for their report have not been altered.
But the biggest reason you haven’t heard much on NPR about the Post story is that the assertions don’t amount to much.
“We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” NPR Managing Editor for News Terence Samuel told me. “And quite frankly, that’s where we ended up, this was … a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way.”
The handful of stories that NPR has produced about the NY Post investigation have been limited to how Facebook and Twitter are restricting distribution of the story or how families of those seeking treatment for addiction are impacted by the portrayal of Hunter Biden’s struggle.
Were there red flags in the story? Yes indeed, and those are (or were) part of the story, but those don’t make it “not really a story.” If this was actually Russian disinformation, well, that’s a story of import in this election. If that was the case, however, the Bidens could have issued an immediate and specific denial — and that would have been a story. They still haven’t — and that’s a story, too. Furthermore, the nation’s top intel officer announced last week that the Russians don’t have anything to do with it, although John Ratcliffe is not exactly non-partisan. Still, that too was a story.
And over the last 24 hours, at least one Hunter Biden associate on the e-mail chain in question has come forward to claim that the Post’s original reporting on the “smoking gun” e-mail was accurate and not faked. Not only is that a story, it makes the first report even more of a story. That got published several hours before NPR sent out its “we don’t wish to disturb you” take on Twitter, which means that they’re still not taking any journalistic interest in this.
I wonder if this will grab ’em?
In a new letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, Johnson and Grassley outline how records they previously obtained from the Secret Service line up with, and seem to provide verification of, newly-public emails about Hunter Biden’s controversial dealings with and payments from foreign businesspeople.
- An April 13, 2014 email allegedly from Hunter Biden to his then-business associate Devon Archer refers to traveling to Houston “tmrw.”
- Secret Service records show a travel record for Hunter Biden from April 13, 2014 – April 14, 2014, to Houston, TX.
- An email from Ukrainian business official Vadim Pozharskyi of the energy firm Burisma to Hunter Biden and Archer on May 12, 2014 reads: “Following our talks during the visit to the Como Lake and our further discussions, I would like to bring the following situation to your attention.”
- Secret Service records show a travel record for Hunter Biden to Lake Cuomo, Italy on April 3, 2014-April 6, 2014.
The senators are also asking why it appears Hunter Biden had Secret Service protection a year after the time when the Secret Service told the senators such protection had ended.
Naah, NPR won’t bother to inform its audience of these developments. You might be interested in finding out more about the potential for corruption, but NPR clearly isn’t interested in dealing with Joe Biden’s nexus to foreign cash while serving as VP. They were much more interested in Donald Trump’s connection to Russian money via the 2013 Miss Universe contest, when Trump was not in government at all; NPR has 47 different articles discussing that in its accessible archives.
This appears to be yet another example of the Iowahawk Definition of Media Coverage:
Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 9, 2013
Updated today, actually:
Autoerotic Information Asphyxiation https://t.co/dQgGiPROav
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) October 22, 2020
Addendum: David Harsanyi sums this up well:
The NY Post story now has one more on-the-record source than the Atlantic did when everyone went their Trump hates soldiers piece. (The one that's still constantly repeated as fact.) https://t.co/OcwGYwcnjs
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) October 22, 2020
Just for sniffs & giggles, NPR has 28 stories that come up in a search for “Trump soldiers Atlantic losers.”