Cringeworthy? Sure, in the way your pal might self-consciously use slang incorrectly. Scandal? Newsworthy? Come on, man. Both the Daily Mail and the New York Post breathlessly report on Hunter Biden’s use of the word “n***a” in private texts with his lawyer, apparently a part of the laptop trove from last year:
First son Hunter Biden repeatedly called his white attorney the N-word in a pair of bizarre and occasionally lewd text conversations late in 2018 and early 2019, according to newly unearthed messages. …
“Where do you find unconditional love then George,” Hunter asked, to which [attorney George} Mesires replied: “God loves unconditionally. Beau loves you unconditionally. Children are too young to understand what it means. But you will show them.
“There are ideals of unconditional love that serve as proxies,” Mesires continued. “I don’t have many. You. God.”
“OMG n—a,” Hunter responded before rambling on, “did you just a fictional character from the imagination of the collective frightened and my dead brothers unconditional love is what I should rely on and my kids aren’t children George.”
Hunter later added a “True dat n***a” at the end of the exchange, after he had annoyed his lawyer with a stream of “frivolity” about his penis. It’s roughly equivalent to watching your fraternity brother from twenty years ago get drunk at a country club and start singing gangsta rap, proclaiming himself down with the struggle. No one wants to be around for that, but no one thinks it’s meaningful either.
So why is this news? I suppose that it qualifies as celebrity gossip, but that’s about it. Maybe the people who exposed this hope that this will lead to the Bidens’ “cancellation,” but anyone who believes that hasn’t been around for Joe Biden’s own bon mots over the decade. Biden père has managed to survive commenting that Barack Obama could succeed as a black politician for being “clean and articulate,” and that you needed a “slight Indian accent” to run 7-11s. The Bidens aren’t getting canceled, not even with Hunter’s peccadilloes both public and private. Give it up.
More to the point, these were all public statements. The Hunter quotes in this story come from private communications between him and his attorney, which arguably should be privileged and even more arguably shouldn’t have been published anyway, since they have zero news value at all. This situation has similarities to ProPublica’s decision to expose leaked income-tax returns not because they show any wrongdoing but simply on the basis that they don’t like tax law and the people involved. ProPublica’s decision is still worse, as it involves cooperation with an abuse of official power and criminal behavior at the IRS in leaking the returns. But this isn’t really all that far behind.
Hunter Biden doesn’t hold elective office, and his father stopped being responsible for him over 30 years ago. If Hunter Biden’s laptop and private texts contain evidence of real wrongdoing, especially corruption, then those contents are newsworthy. If not, who cares?