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Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Flashback: MRC's Incessant -- And Misdirected -- Whining That Hunter Biden Laptop Story Was 'Censored'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has spent the past few years suffering a collective outbreak of Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome, which focused largely on the the contents of Hunter's laptop, which the MRC repeatedly whined wasn't covered before the 2020 election even though its its pro-Trump promoters never offered independent verification of it at the time.

Let's go back in time to earlier this year and see how the MRC continued to peddle the bogus spin that the story was unjustly "censored" by the media. Geoffrey Dickens wrote in an April 18 post:

It was a bombshell story that could have swayed the 2020 presidential election. 

Just weeks before Election Day, the New York Post printed an explosive story on the morning of October 14, 2020, that alleged Hunter Biden had corrupt business dealings with Ukraine and Joe Biden knew about them.

The Post story was full of stunning revelations. The “No.3 exec” of the Ukrainian firm Burisma (the firm that was paying Hunter $50,000 a month) asked Hunter Biden for to help the company. “The blockbuster correspondence” countered Joe Biden’s assertion that he “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” The “correspondence” came from emails found in a laptop dropped off at a Delaware computer store. Also found in the laptop was video evidence of Hunter’s sexual behavior and drug use.

It wasn't until the eight paragraph of his item that Dicken recited the entirely reasonable justifications for downplaying the story:

A deep dive of the coverage shows that when the Big Three networks bother to mention the scandal they do so largely to knock it down, using dismissive verbiage like “dubious” “questionably-sourced story,” “old line of attack” and “unverified.”

But rather than blame the New York Post for not providing independent verification that might have overcome reasaonable accusations that the claims were questionably sourced -- and they arguably were, given the Post's status as a pro-Trump newspaper owned by Fox News' Rupert Murdoch and pro-Trump lackey Rudy Giuliani among its biggest promoters -- Dickesn attacks the non-right-wing media for not running with a clkearly partisan story that could not be verified. Still, Dickens went on to whine:

It all worked. Research conducted by The Polling Company for the Media Research Center after the 2020 election found that the media’s censorship of Biden scandals had a significant impact on the election. The survey found that 45.1% of Biden voters in seven key swing states said they were unaware of the financial scandal enveloping Biden and his son, Hunter. According to our poll, full awareness of the Hunter Biden scandal would have led 9.4% of Biden voters to abandon the Democratic candidate, flipping all six of the swing states he won to Trump, which would have given the former president 311 electoral votes.

That, of course, is the MRC's version of Trump's Big Lie anout the election purportedly being stolen from him. Dickens didn't mention that The Polling Company was founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, raising questions about bias and trustworthiness.

Dickens did not explain why the media is obligated to treat as true a story it cannot verify and for which no verification has been provided.

An April 20 post by Brian Bradley was devoted to whining that "big tech" had "suppressed" the story:

Twitter and Facebook worked in lockstep to restrict the flow of the Hunter Biden laptop story just before the 2020 presidential election. These platforms stifled the spread of that story at the same time that Big Media did, as MRC research found.

Facebook’s suppression broke the platform’s own fact-checking policy, and Twitter’s attempt to cancel the story so outrageously violated content moderation norms that it drew criticism from the likes of leftist Poynter Institute fact-checkers. Even then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey criticized his platform after the fact.

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone announced the platform had preempted third-party fact-checks on the Hunter Biden story the day it broke on Oct. 14, 2020, and limited its spread moving forward. Stone has a long history working directly for Democrats, and Facebook’s hair-trigger, broad-brush blackout blatantly broke the platform’s content moderation policy.


Twitter responded to the New York Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden report by disabling the link to the story on the day it was released, and claimed: “Warning: this link may be unsafe.” Twitter then restricted the Post account from Oct. 14 to Oct. 30.

As with Dickens, Bradley's rage is misdirected. He did not demand that the Post offer independent verification of the story. Instead, he continued to whine:

Facebook “fact-checker” Lead Stories released at least 15 so-called “fact-checks” in direct support of Joe and Hunter Biden in the two weeks before the Nov. 3, 2020, Election Day. Those “fact-checks” sought to rebut claims of Hunter’s alleged drug use and alleged sexual misconduct, along with assertions that corporate media didn’t give the Hunter Biden story enough coverage.

Bradley offered no evidence that there was anything inaccurate about Lead Stories' fact-checks -- something you'd think he would want to do if he's accusing Lead Stories of falsely besmirching the story. Also: Fox News is part of a large corporation; why doesn't  Bradly consider it part of the "corporate media"?

Of course, the MRC will never blame its fellow members of the right-wing media bubble for failing to offer independent verification of the story so that it could have been taken more seriously. If the "liberal media" can be blamed, it will be -- even if they were following good journalistic practice by raising questions about a story that lacked verification that its promoters refused to provide.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 PM EDT

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