Team Biden demands reporters debunk corruption claims against candidate

Team Biden delivered a memo to its cohorts in the press instructing them on how to cover Republican claims of corruption against either Joe Biden or his son Hunter during the impeachment trial in the Senate. It may not surprise you to know that reporters are only too happy to oblige.

The memo went out the same day that the names of the House Republicans who have been added to Trump’s legal team were announced. Those Republicans are all vocal defenders of the president: Reps. Doug Collins, Mike Johnson, Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, Mark Meadows, John Ratcliffe, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin. All have voiced concerns about Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board of Burisma and of Joe Biden’s role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor during an investigation into Burisma. Biden was the Obama administration’s point man in Ukraine and there is video evidence of good old Joe bragging to an audience that he was responsible for the man’s termination. Biden even threatened to withhold America’s financial aid if the man wasn’t fired. So, there’s all that.

Naturally, Team Biden wants to take full advantage of the absence of the Senators running for the Democrat nomination on the campaign trail while the impeachment trial in the Senate is underway. He certainly doesn’t want his name or his son’s name to enter the record in terms of their own alleged corruption problems when Democrats are desperately trying to paint President Trump as corrupt. The whole case for impeachment revolves around a phone call to the new President of Ukraine. If Trump was wrong to want assurances that the new leader was on the same page as Trump in wanting to eliminate the rampant corruption of the former Ukrainian administration before financial aid was delivered, well, wouldn’t that have been wrong for Biden, too? And, why was it allowed during the Obama administration for Vice-President Biden’s son to trade on the family name to get a sweet gig on Burisma’s board? Yes, I think all of that might come up in the impeachment trial from the Republican side.

The memo demanding favorable coverage from the press on Biden and instructions for the press to debunk any claims made by Republicans is quite detailed. It came from Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, and the campaign’s communications director. Perhaps the name of Bedingfield is ringing a bell. This isn’t the first time she has instructed the press on how they should write about Joe Biden. It all smacks of an authoritarian directive. The memo is not one that would be sent from defenders of the freedom of the press. It walks through every possible charge the Republicans could make and tells reporters how to debunk them.

The best part of the memo is when it states that journalists not using Team Biden’s narrative are practicing journalistic “malpractice”. That’s right – if anyone reports on the claim that Biden was involved in the removal of the prosecutor without debunking that claim using the campaign’s narrative, it’s malpractice.

The Biden campaign said Trump’s efforts to spread the theory is the reason the president is being impeached and said it would be “malpractice” for journalists to reference the allegations without also saying that they’ve been debunked, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Hill.

“[Trump’s] objective was to pressure the Ukrainian government into spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory: that Vice President Biden engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office,” communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote in a memo to reporters and editors.

Clearly Team Biden thinks that any reporter who dares to question Biden’s actions must be stopped. Remember when reporters didn’t take marching orders from campaigns, or at least they were clever enough to cover it up? Well, look no further than MSNBC’s Heidi Przybla and Katy Tur to hear how today’s reporters handle such a memo. During her show, Tur allowed Przybla to repeat the same Biden talking points she delivered earlier in the day on NBC’s Morning Joe. She sounds particularly defensive about the potential for Hunter’s actions to be brought up.

After Heidi Przybla sounded like a Biden press secretary earlier in the day, host Katy Tur trumpeted, “Joe Biden’s warning to the media ahead of the President’s impeachment trial.” She seemed to appreciate the order: “In its most forceful push back yet, Joe Biden’s campaign has issued a warning to the media about disinformation on Ukraine and attacks on Hunter Biden.”

As though the “warning” from one presidential campaign to the other should be treated as objective fact, Przybyla reappeared to parrot: “It is a preemptive strike against the disinformation that is really at the heart of the President’s defense.” Regarding Senate Republicans bringing up what Hunter Biden did in relation to Ukraine, the journalist hyped Biden talking points as news judgment: “This is a reminder, Katy, that the entire premise of the argument is debunked. It is not just unsubstantiated.”

Justifying not wanting to talk about Hunter Biden, Przybyla dismissed: “Now, ethics experts I talked to in Ukraine say it was not ethical for Hunter to trade on his father’s name and sit on the board of an energy company when he doesn’t know much about energy. But was it illegal? No.”

Good girl.

It’s a sign of weakness that the Biden campaign has to preemptively tell the press how to cover topics that may arise in the impeachment trial. We know that Quid Pro Joe isn’t the strongest of candidates and there is a real question if he can win the first primaries and caucuses. The polls are fluid and the top-ranking candidates move up and down with each new poll, it seems. Joe and his team clearly thought this would be a cakewalk. We’ll know soon if he’ll be able to close the deal with Democrat voters on a state to state basis or not. It looks like he’ll get plenty of help from his friends in the press.

I’ll end with a tweet from another MSNBC contributor, following instructions.