Will Facebook and Twitter ban Hunter Biden for reporting that his laptop is, er, his after all? The New York Post features this part of a new interview with the president’s son for obvious reasons after last fall’s social-media lockout of their reporting. Twitter suspended their account, as well as a number of others, for reporting on a legitimate story that reflected badly on the Bidens, claiming that the story was either untrue or the result of a hack.
Now Hunter admits that the laptop left at the repair shop “absolutely” could have been his:
In a sitdown with CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” President Biden’s embattled son was pointedly asked “yes or no” if the MacBook Pro that was dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop in April 2019 was in fact his.
“I really don’t know what the answer is, that’s the truthful answer,” Hunter Biden said in an excerpt of the interview released on Friday, before adding, “I have no idea.”
But asked whether it could have belonged to him, he replied, “Absolutely.”
“Certainly, there could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked, it could be that it was Russian intelligence. It could be that it was stolen from me,” he continued.
We don’t have the full interview to see whether Tracy Smith followed up with a challenge to Hunter’s “Russian intelligence” dodge. That explanation fell apart shortly after the laptop emerged, don’t forget:
#BREAKING: A senior federal law enforcement official tells @JakeBGibson
1) FBI & DOJ concur w/ Ratcliffe that Hunter Biden's laptop & the emails in question weren't part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
2) The FBI DOES have possession of the Hunter Biden laptop in question.
— Sean Langille (@SeanLangille) October 20, 2020
And the laptop wasn’t hacked — it was recovered at the repair shop where Hunter or someone else left it. In fact, the “hacked” claim made by Twitter is at the heart of a $500 million defamation lawsuit by the shop owner against the social-media platform. The lawsuit won’t get anywhere in court, although Twitter might want to settle it to get rid of the headache. CEO Jack Dorsey has already publicly admitted that Twitter screwed up its response to the laptop story, and the last thing they want is to get dragged through a discovery process that could prove just how political that screw-up got.
So why offer this spin now? For one thing, Hunter’s flogging a memoir, which means he can’t avoid taking questions on it. The only explanation for the laptop — and all of the embarrassing material on it — is to take refuge in debunked claims that make Hunter look like a victim rather than a malefactor. But even more importantly, Hunter apparently remains under investigation for tax issues and other potential crimes, and the last thing he needs is to make a public statement that validates the evidence taken from the laptop … even though Hunter comes pretty close to doing just that here.
Small wonder, though, that the New York Post wants a victory lap at this point. The big question will be whether the social-media platforms learn their lesson, or whether they want to act as ubergatekeepers for the Bidens again.
Update: Here’s a reminder that it wasn’t just social media that ran interference for the Bidens. Two days after asserting in a book review that intelligence agencies had “discredited” the laptop story, NPR issued a correction last night admitting that they had done no such thing:
Isn’t it odd how all of the bad coverage of this issue has all run in the same direction?