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Fox News nightly anchor Bret Baier pushed back against criticism from Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank over his and his network’s coverage of allegations of corruption involving Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Sad to hear @BretBaier, whose journalistic integrity I respected, desperately hawking the latest Hunter Biden trash tonight,” Milbank tweeted.
Baier responded, “Dana-we are covering a story not hawking anything. The business partner said what he said – he said he met w/ Joe Biden. Joe Biden said he didn’t & knew nothing of Hunter’s business deals. Is it not ok to ask questions anymore? Should the NYPost be locked out of Twitter?”
Dana-we are covering a story not hawking anything. The business partner said what he said – he said he met w/ Joe Biden. Joe Biden said he didn’t & knew nothing of Hunter’s business deals. Is it not ok to ask questions anymore? Should the NYPost be locked out of Twitter? https://t.co/XUYA719iNa
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) October 28, 2020
The Fox News veteran was referencing an enforcement action taken by the social media platform following the Post’s initial reporting on allegations that Hunter Biden and business associates leveraged his father’s name to secure lucrative business deals.
Materials — emails, texts, photos, and other documentation — reportedly came from a laptop Hunter Biden abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop last year. One text message from Hunter to his daughter, Naomi, strongly suggested that he kicked back 50 percent of whatever he made from his deals to his father. Another email involving a business deal Hunter and associates were pursuing with a Chinese energy conglomerate suggested that 10 percent of those earnings would be directed to the former vice president.
But while Fox News, the New York Post, and a few other outlets have reported on the findings, as well as claims from a former business partner of the Bidens, Tony Bobulinski — who has said clearly that Joe Biden has lied about his claim of having no knowledge of his family’s business deals — the major media has passed on the story, including the Washington Post.
Initially, when they mentioned the story at all, mainstream outlets claimed the materials were part of a Russian disinformation campaign, allegations that immediately fell flat. Since then, the most common excuse pass on the story as it evolves has been that there is no way to verify the allegations or materials, but to media critics that line of reasoning seems implausible and out of the ordinary.
The Bidens have not refuted claims that the source for the materials — the Hunter Biden laptop — doesn’t belong to him or that photos, emails, and texts extracted from its hard drive are not genuine. Also, they have refused to directly refute allegations and statements made by Bobulinski.
“It is pretty much a 100 percent blackout of the Bobulinski story in the traditional media. Of course, there are lots of stories that need to be covered in the busy 2020 news agenda, but the total omission of Bobulinski’s accusations is curious, to say the least,” DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News Wednesday.
“Even if this story is not front and center on the news agenda, it does need to be approached somewhere along the way. Odds are that most mainstream media outlets are devoting very few reporting resources, if any, to the Bobulinski story,” McCall noted further. “It would seem those outlets could at least be investigating the accusations to try to prove them invalid.
“What little coverage has surfaced has basically just been running without challenge the boilerplate denials and indignation from the Biden camp. The manner in which this story has been covered can only be described as the ‘lapdog press,’ as contrasted with the ‘watchdog press,’” McCall continued.
Political satirist Tim Young blamed a double standard in the left-leaning establishment media.
“When you realize that major media organizations such as CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post and the NY Times ran completely unsubstantiated stories like the pee tape from the dossier, Julie Swetnick and Michael Avenatti’s claims against now Justice Kavanaugh, and numerous anonymous senior administration officials statements that ‘would definitely prove the Trump campaign colluded with Russia’ yet haven’t touched direct testimony with direct evidence and easily provable points from Tony Bobulinski after his Tucker Carlson interview, it goes beyond hypocrisy,” he told Fox News.
He added: “It’s election interference to try to install a potentially seriously corrupt candidate in Joe Biden.”
Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told the network it is clear to him the establishment media “thinks this could hurt their preferred candidate,” so they’re ignoring it or, in Milbank’s case, attacking those who do give the story coverage.
“The easiest way to determine whether ignoring or minimizing the Bobulinski interview and documents reflects media bias is to imagine if something similar happened to Donald Trump. If Bobulinski were blowing the whistle on Trump influence peddling, all the networks and newspapers would be carrying the story nonstop through election day,” Jacobson told Fox News.
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