Left-leaning media networks’ trend of downplaying possible scandals involving Hunter Biden further damages their credibility and shows they are still running the 2020 "playbook" that led to the suppression of the infamous laptop story, media experts told Fox News Digital.
A recent Washington Post report revealed that federal agents said they now have enough evidence to charge the president’s son with tax and firearm crimes.
The latest turn in Hunter Biden's tumultuous public record follows a number of stories about dubious business dealings, as well as concerns over how the FBI, Big Tech, and the liberal media handled Hunter’s laptop, originally dubbed "Russian disinformation" by numerous reporters and intelligence officials. The laptop has since been verified in numerous mainstream reports.
The Federalist editor-in-chief Mollie Hemingway, a longtime scourge of liberal mainstream media narratives, didn't mince words about the coordinated effort of Big Tech, the press and even the government to suppress the story.
"The coordinated disinformation campaign to falsely label and censor the completely true stories regarding the Biden family business is the most horrifying example of media corruption to date," she told Fox News Digital.
Hemingway noted Mark Zuckerberg's admission that the FBI had warned Facebook ahead of the Biden laptop story about possible"Russian propaganda;" Facebook and Twitter would both work in unprecedented fashion to limit sharing of the New York Post's initial reporting on the subject.
"It shows how the only thing worse than our propaganda press is its combination with the information suppression power of Bi Tech and the corruption of the FBI and other politicized intelligence agencies," she said.
One conservative media watchdog said, despite widespread journalist acceptance that the Hunter Biden stories were legitimate, there was still denial about their significance.
"Despite the fact that Hunter could be facing serious charges, dragged into court, and possibly go to prison, liberal media outlets are still denying reality to some extent," Media Research Center and Newsbusters associate editor Nicholas Fondacaro told Fox News Digital.
Citing a MRC post-election poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associated in November 2020, Fondacaro said "aggressive opposition" to stories involving Hunter Biden and attempts to "scrub it" from social media played a role in "manipulating" the 2020 presidential election.
The poll found that 36% of Biden voters were not aware of reports that the FBI had been investigating a possible link between President Biden and his son’s financial dealings with China. Thirteen percent of these voters, or 4.6% of Biden’s total vote, said that had they known of this information they would not have voted for the former vice president.
"They know that this further damages their collective credibility, and they don’t really care. The primary protective objective is the media's preferred policy outcomes and support for the Democratic Party. So they’ll try to minimize the fallout for 2022 and 2024. And even if journalists start to seriously cover the Hunter Biden story now, it doesn't make up for the brazen attempt at protecting Joe Biden in 2020," Fondacaro said.
"Compared to other liberal media narratives, calling the Hunter Biden laptop story ‘Russian disinformation’ ranks high because of how it influenced the outcome of 2020 and possibly beyond," he added.
The last several days saw the media continue to defend less than flattering stories about Hunter.
MSNBC justice correspondent Ken Dilanian said Friday it was "perfectly legal" for Hunter Biden to take money for foreign governments as long as he wasn’t inappropriately handling information from his family.
"There’s no hint of that," Dilanian said.
That same day, CNN anchor Jake Tapper shut down Republican concerns that Big Tech’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story "rigged" the 2020 election, and divided the party into two groups during his commentary.
"One is people who just lie about the election or they're wrong and diluted and just say it was stolen or whatever," Tapper said to his guest. "And then there is the ‘questioners.’ And these ‘questioners,’ these Republican questioners, to me, a lot of them are people who know better but are afraid that if they don’t at least come out with ‘oh, it was rigged in a different way because Twitter wouldn’t let the New York Post publish, you know, publicize the Hunter Biden story' or whatever, but they go along with it in a way that makes them feel comfortable, but they're still playing along with the lie."
"I almost find them more cynical players than the deniers," Tapper added.
Then Sunday’s "Meet the Press" saw former Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki downplay the idea that possible future charges filed against Hunter Biden would impact Democrats in the midterms, suggesting the latest development simply wasn’t newsworthy to the majority of Americans.
Psaki said that she looked at a number of local papers and found no mention of the story, noting that the front pages were filled with talks of a Donald Trump rally in Nevada, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, R., and Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, R.
"So the truth is, as much as there was so much news happening in Washington this week, it doesn't always translate and often doesn't translate to what voters are talking about in states, and I think that's what we're seeing currently," she added.
The panel went on to claim that OPEC+cuts and gas prices were a much bigger midterm issue to most Americans.
Fox News contributor and media analyst Joe Concha took issue with Psaki’s assertion that the possibility of Hunter Biden getting hit with charges is a "minor inside baseball thing" because she didn’t see the story on the front page of major newspapers.
"Of course she doesn’t. The media is running the same playbook it ran in October 2020: dismiss what is a major story and could be the biggest story of this presidency," Concha told Fox News Digital.
He also slammed liberal media outlets for their differing coverage of major stories involving Hunter Biden and former President Trump, especially with regard to the former’s laptop.
"This was arguably the lowest point in journalism history outside of treating the Steele Dossier and Russian collusion with Trump as gospel instead of gossip. Not only was Hunter’s laptop ruled without ambiguity being a product of Russian disinformation, anyone who shared the story was locked out of their Twitter accounts."
"This is Pyongyang stuff. And there have been almost no apologies or mea culpa from so-called journalists involved," Concha added.
Anti-Trump conservative commentator Joe Walsh said the media had erred with its Hunter Biden coverage but cautioned his alleged sins paled in comparison to Trump.
"The media should’ve dug more into the Hunter laptop story in 2020. They didn’t because they didn’t want to hurt Joe Biden. [But] there was and still is a massive Russian disinformation campaign going on here, the goal was always to help elect Trump," he told Fox News Digital.
"Hunter Biden is a scumbag, and if the facts and evidence warrant an indictment by DOJ, then indict him. But of course, the same goes for Trump. One final point: Hunter may be a scumbag, but last I checked he never served in government and isn’t running for office. Donald Trump did and probably is. Big, big difference."
The recent developments regarding Hunter Biden are just one of several progressive media narratives that have buckled under their own weight in the last several years.
Liberal pundits, reporters and anchors across MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, and more promoted the narrative that then-candidate Trump colluded with the Russian government leading up to the 2016 election, but the Robert Mueller investigation was unable to substantiate the weighty charges.
Liberal networks also put the also-discredited Steele dossier at the forefront in their coverage after it reported that then-President-elect Donald Trump was officially briefed on it.
The dossier provided the roadmap for the liberal media to paint the former president as compromised by the Kremlin and even a possible sexual deviant. However, Special Counsel John Durham indicted Russian national Igor Danchenko, a sub-source for former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled the dossier in 2016. The narrative pertaining the dossier fell apart when Danchenko was charged with making false statements to the FBI.
In 2020, Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann found himself at the center of controversy after a video clip showed him wearing a "MAGA" hat and smiling as Native American elder Nathan Philips beat a drum and sang directly in front of him and a crowd of his classmates.
Networks portrayed the incident as racially charged mockery by Sandmann, before later footage showed a group of Black Hebrew Isrealites had provoked the confrontation, shouting racial slurs at Covington students. Footage also showed Philips first approaching the students, rather than them aggressively surrounding him.
In 2020, CNN settled a defamation lawsuit filed by Sandmann over the network’s coverage of the viral confrontation.
A number of left-leaning networks also inaccurately represented a number of facts surrounding 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty on all five counts, including first-degree reckless homicide, after he shot and killed two people, and wounded another, during the August 2020 Kenosha riots.
Rittenhouse, who successfully argued he acted in self-defense after being chased by a number of rioters, was quickly lumped in with "White nationalist mobs" and as an example of "vigilante justice" by MSNBC.
Several other outlets asserted without nuance that Rittenhouse "murdered two men," framed the story as a White shooter attacking unarmed racial-justice protesters, and repeatedly tried to tie the 18-year-old to Trump and far-right groups. Liberal media networks also falsely claimed that Rittenhouse illegally transported an AR-15 rifle across state lines.
Fox News’ Brian Flood and David Rutz contributed to this report.