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Monday, May 9, 2022
MRC's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome: Fact-Checking Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

It wouldn't be a full Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome outbreak at the Media Research Center without some whining about fact-checkers. And chief fact-checker-whiner Tim Graham did his bit in a March 24 post:

In the wake of the New York Times whispering in print on page A-20 that the Hunter Biden laptop emails were authentic, the "fact checking"/censorship complex is in need of scrutiny. Jacob Siegel of Tablet Magazine wrote up a tart piece titled "Invasion of the Fact-Checkers" that explored how private media power and the Democrats engage in shutting down narratives they don't like. 

Like the rest of his MRC crew, Graham ignores the fact that the Hunter Biden story would not have been so easily dismissed if the New York Post had simply provided independent corroboration that  the laptop and the information on it was genuine to the point of effectively countering speculation that it was Russian disinformation, and its provenance originating with Rudy Giuliani and anti-Biden activists did nothing to boost its credibility. Thge fact that it tookmore than a year to actually verify the emails shows that the media was not wrong in initially dismissing it.

Joseph Vazquez lashed out a fact-checkers again in a March 28 post:

So-called fact-checkers should be eating crow following authentication of the emails from Hunter Biden’s notorious laptop by The New York Times. But a new analysis shows they’re being as brazen as ever by not updating old articles challenging the credibility of the story.

Leftist fact-checkers like, PolitiFact and Lead Stories published stories within the past two years that tried to take down the New York Post bombshell. The outlets did this by either referring to the story as coming from “questionable sources;” labeling the emails as “unverified” or outright doubting their authenticity.

Vazquez too failed to acknowledge the fact that the Post offered no independent corroboration of the laptop and its contents when the story came out. He went on to whine:

Lead Stories in particular, targeted an “exclusive” Daily Caller story on one of the laptop emails considered to be the “smoking gun” in the Post story. The Daily Caller said in a tweet of its story that a cybersecurity expert concluded the “@nypost's smoking gun April 2015 Hunter Biden email from a Burisma executive discussing an introduction to then-Vice President Joe Biden is 100% authentic.”

Specifically, the expert that the Daily Caller cited used a “cryptographic signature [DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)] found in the email’s metadata” to verify Burisma advisor Vadym Pozharskyi thanking Hunter for “‘inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.’” Lead Stories tried to swat the story down in a fact-check: “That's a stretch: DKIM can validate who sent an email and what text and other content was included. But it does not prove if the content consists of true statements.”

Vazquez didn't explain why the Post and the Daily Caller should have been trusted implicitly when the story came out, given their status as conservative, anti-Biden outlets who had a mission to help Donald Trump win re-election in 2020.

Again: All of this could have been avoided if the Post had offered unassailable verification at the time. It didn't, so it was perfectly reasonable to dismiss the story as coming from biased sources. Graham and Vazquez bashing fact-checkers for not immediately verifying somthing that even the source publication couldn't be bothered to do is dishonest and unfair.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 12:16 AM EDT

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