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The MRC's Autumn of Hunter Biden Derangement

Narratives trump facts at the Media Research Center, so it spent the fall of 2022 continuing to lash out at Hunter Biden -- while also smearing his daughter and getting mad that he's starting to fight back against all the right-wing smears.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 3/15/2023

Elon Musk's selectively released "Twitter files" is not the only Hunter Biden-related narrative the Media Research Center pushed in the final few months of 2022 (while whining that it was being described as a right-wing obsession with Hunter's genitals). Its Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome continued to reign at the MRC as it did during the summer of 2022, with lots of complaining that the non-right-wing media was ignoring whatever minor development was blowing up in their right-wing media bubble.

Here's some of what the MRC was obsessing over (and whining about) in the fall of 2022:

And it wouldn't be the MRC if its obsession with George Soros wasn't shoehorned in as well, so we also have "Soros-Funded Group Tied to Twitter’s Efforts to Squash Hunter Biden Laptop Scandal."

But if there's anything the MRC really doesn't like, it's normal media people pointing out that Hunter Biden is a thing only inside the right-wing media bubble. Kevin Tober complained in an Oct. 9 post:

On Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC former Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed the newsworthiness of the FBI's announcement that they now have collected enough evidence to charge President Biden's crack delinquent crackhead son Hunter with tax and gun-related charges. Psaki claimed that she looked online at the front pages of local newspapers around the country and didn't see the story. Therefore, according to her, it's just an inside-the-Beltway Washington story.


Psaki is only making NewsBusters point that the media is covering for Joe and Hunter Biden by not covering this story. Just because a handful of leftwing newspapers aren't covering the Hunter Biden scandal doesn't mean it's not a big story.

Mark Finkelstein whined even more in a Nov. 18 post:


CNN's Don Lemon is a shameless pro-Democrat hack.


Just before the presidential election, the New York Post broke bombshell stories, derived from Hunter Biden's laptop, indicating that he was trading influence with his father for big paydays from companies in Ukraine and China. And that on at least one of the deals, 10% of the payments had been earmarked for "the big guy," which one of Hunter Biden's partners has said was a reference to Joe Biden.

The liberal media, including CNN, and Big Tech, including Facebook and Twitter, circled the wagons, dismissing the New York Post story as "Russian disinformation."

But—after the election—the Washington Post and the New York Times admitted that the information on Hunter's laptop was authentic—not Russian disinformation.

So . . . you'd think that Don Lemon would have the journalistic integrity to acknowledge that a congressional investigation into the matter is very much justified, and indeed, necessary.

But no. On today's CNN This Morning, CNN's Pamela Brown reported on her interview with Rep. James Comer, the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, who will be leading the investigation. Comer indicated that although Joe Biden will not be subpoenaed, this will be an investigation of the president.

Lemon, expressing skepticism, asked Brown whether there is any "there, there" to the investigation. Lemon suggested that the investigation is nothing more than "retribution" for the Democrats' investigations of Donald Trump.

And Lemon concluded the segment by scoffing at the importance of the investigation:

"The American people are dealing with a lot of things. I'm not sure this is one of them."

Right. Because who cares if the sitting President of the United States had been profiting from his son's influence-peddling?

Never mind, of course, that the Hunter laptop story looked enough like Russian disinformation for numerous intelligence officials to initially dismiss the story, coupled with the New York Post's failure to provide any initial independent verification. But in Finkelstein's eyes, that's not the Post's fault, apparently.

This Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome is so bad that the MRC childishly mocks anyone who did their homework to actually verify the story about his Hunter's laptop before running with it -- unlike, of course, the MRC's fellow residents of the right-wing media bubble, who decided it was too good to fact-check before relentlessly hyping the partisan story. We saw that immaturity in a Nov. 21 post by Curtis Houck:

With Democrats having secured the White House in 2020 and fared better than expected in the 2022 midterms, Monday’s CBS Mornings spent nearly six minutes (five minutes and 41 seconds) finally conceding something ludicrously obvious: Hunter Biden’s laptop from hell is real.

CBS let the intrepid Catherine Herridge out to report on a story purposefully censored by the liberal media and Big Tech. And, sure enough, Herridge commissioned an independent review of a “clean copy” from former Delaware laptop repair shop owner John Paul Mac Issac that found there’s no evidence it was tampered with.


Herridge shared “the laptop’s backstory” dating back to 2019 and then, in an attempt to excuse the media’s censorship campaign, fretted that “versions were widely shared by Republican operatives” in the 2020 election cycle and “questions were raised about whether additional files were added to those versions.”


Following clips of moderate Republican strategist Doug Heye warning investigations into Hunter could “backfire,” Herridge threw in a dismissal meant to suggest there’s no there there: “After two years of scrutiny, the laptop has not produced evidence President Biden directly benefited from his son's business deals.”

This all led co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King to fret: “Hmmm. Could be a lesson to pay your bills. $85 could have changed everything had the bill been paid.”

Where in the world was this take two years ago, Gayle?

As usual, Houck never explained why anyone should have trusted the story at face value when it came out, given that it came from a pro-Trump newspaper that offered no independent verification and even seasoned intelligence professionals said it looked like Russian disinformation. Instead, he took the lazy conspiracist's way out and claimed without evidence that the story was "purposefully censored."

This was followed by a mocking, unprofessional item later that day by Bill D'Agostino purporting to be "a list of things that somehow took less time than CBS took to finally admit to the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop."

Then, the next day, Houck went on Fox News to clown around over the story:

Making his latest appearance on the Fox News Channel’s Fox News @ Night, NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck and host Trace Gallagher slammed CBS News early Tuesday for having finally admitted 768 days after the New York Post’s first report to concede Hunter Biden’s laptop is real and anything but a conspiracy theory.

“And another black eye for CBS. After dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop as disinformation and unable to be verified, the network once called Tiffany now having an epiphany, yet sadly it comes two years too late,” said Gallagher in a tease.

Going later to Houck, he noted that “the phrase better late than never...might not apply this time” with CBS waiting until two major elections passed to consider the laptop’s “authenticity” as well as the fact that CBS’s 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl mocked the idea it was real in an October 2020 interview with then-President Trump.

Note that Gallagher unironicially complained that CBS had "dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop as disinformation and unable to be verified" -- even though that was exactly the case. Gallagher certainly didn't criticize the New York Post for not providing any independent verification at the time.

Houck went conspiratorial here too: "Houck later agreed with Gallagher’s recognition that CBS made this call in order 'to get ahead of' next year’s House probes, adding it could be that as well as simply being 'on the other side the midterm elections, but I think it's definitely more about wanting to get ahead of the House Oversight Committee'."

It's immature and totally rehearsed, but it got Houck on TV, right? Getting TV hits and website clicks is much more important than legitimate "media research" at the MRC these days. This is how desperate the MRC wants to take down President Biden, that it feels it must destroy his son in order to make that happen.

Republicans taking control of the House in the midterm elections had the MRC licking its chops at the prospect of GOP investigations designed to further smear him and, by association, the president. Which means it spent a lot of time after the election complaining that people were pointing out this Republican bloodlust. A Nov. 20 post by Kevin Tober lashed out at an ABC reporter for noting this:

After spending the past year cheering on Congressional Democrats in their seemingly never ending quest to investigate former President Donald Trump and his actions on and leading up to the January 6 riots, including the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and presumably prosecute Trump, suddenly investigations and oversight are bad since it’s the GOP’s turn to conduct them.

The leftist media’s blatant and shameless hypocrisy was on full display during Sunday’s This Week on ABC when fill-in host Jon Karl interviewed former Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan about his take on politics and his new book which outlines solutions to America’s fiscal problems.

Karl fretted to Ryan that his book “which looks at the financial issues facing the country,” was “not part of this campaign.” Yet if it were part of the 2022 midterms, Karl would’ve tried his hardest behind the ABC News anchor desk to demonize his policy solutions just like the media did in 2012 when Ryan was the GOP Vice Presidential nominee.

Instead, Karl bemoaned how Republicans are talking about oversight investigations into Hunter Biden’s corruption and other reportedly illegal activities by the Biden crime family.


Karl then jumped in to smear the GOP once more before the show ended: “those that are saying hell no, they won't vote for Kevin McCarthy, they like chaos. I mean, that's not an argument against it. I mean, they want chaos.”

Tober didn't disprove anything Karl said.

Mark Finkelstein spent a Nov. 22 post trying to legitimize GOP probes of the Bidens after MSNBC host Joe Scarborough "suggested that today's Republicans are making a similar mistake in investigating what he repeatedly called "Hunter Biden's laptop.'":

That was a blatant mischaracterization. As Rep. James Comer, the chairman of the House oversight committee that will be conducting the investigation has made clear, this is an investigation of Joe Biden. The question is whether Biden was indeed "the big guy" who was skimming a share of the ill-gotten proceeds that Hunter obtained through his influence-peddling schemes.

Scarborough told Republicans "they're going to waste two years and lose big in '24."

It's through that lens that we therefore have to ask: why is the liberal media so intent on trying to dissuade the Republicans from investigating Hunter Biden's dealings and the possible connections to Joe Biden? One thing is certain: it's not out of MSM concern that by investigating, the Republicans will be hurting themselves politically! We all know that old adage about not stopping an enemy when he's in the process of destroying himself!


Note: as for Scarborough's claim that Republicans are exclusively focused on "Hunter Biden's laptop," to the exclusion of addressing issues of concern like crime, inflation, and the border. Comer made the point that Republicans can walk and chew gum at the same time, and that the great majority of House Republicans are not on the Oversight committee and will be addressing those other issues.

Alex Christy was similarly defensive in a Dec. 7 post: "House Republicans have not even taken the gavels yet and CNN’s Inside Politics warned them Wednesday not step out of line with voters by investigating Hunter Biden or wokeness. If only CNN had this segment when Democrats were pursuing Donald Trump’s taxes.

Mad that Hunter's fighting back

Having spent years treating Hunter Biden as a partisan punching bag with impunity, the MRC has gotten mad that people are starting to fight back on his behalf. Finkelstein whined in a Dec. 11 post:

Liberal slime merchant David Brock has emerged from the woodwork again. This time, he's leading a counter-attack on the GOP-majority House committee that will be investigating Hunter Biden's influence-peddling schemes and the possible connections to his father the president.

They call their new group "Facts First USA." Did that verbiage work to make CNN sound less partisan?

Brock appeared on MSNBC's The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart. The host claimed maybe he's watched too much House of Cards and is a big Scandal fan, but when he heard Brock say that he is going on "offense" he wondered just how far Brock would go, and whether it would include "focusing in on the people who are leading [the investigations] and running them?"

Brock assured him:

"We're going to go on offense. Are we going to expose some of the Republicans on the committee? Sure we are."

Translation:Brock and his Democrat buddies will be turning up their anti-Republican scandal-mongering machine to 11. Capehart sounded thrilled: "You're going to have to come back to the Sunday Show and tell us, preview what you got!"

Finkelstein didn't explain how these tactics are any different from standard Republican (or even overall political) opposition research, or even exactly what Brock did to receive that "liberal slime merchant" title.

A post the same day from Tim Graham similarly complained that Brock's group is fighting back on Hunter's behalf:
The Page One story at top left of the Sunday Washington Post was headlined "Hunter Biden allies set to battle accusers: Some urge counterattack defense as GOP prepares to launch investigations." Political reporters Matt Viser and Michael Scherer quote from a mostly anonymous pile of Democrats debating how to respond to the heightened visibility of Hunter Biden's global buckraking off his father's name. And whether his father got a "cut."

Democrat groups feel the urgent need for a "counter-narrative," which is mildly amusing since they've all been quiet as church mice for two years until the Republicans retook the House. Behind the scenes, Hunter Biden and his pal Kevin Morris -- who they noted gave Hunter $1 million to pay some of his unpaid taxes -- are meeting with partisans who are aiming to discredit any Republican fact-finding mission.

You may point and laugh that they're going to call it a "partisan exercise." And somehow, the last two years of the Pelosi-Picked Panel on January 6 was never partisan.


Somehow this vast left-wing conspiracy is run by "Democratic-leaning groups." Leaning? They all tell themselves it will be find that swing voters see this as "political stunts." Democrats never pull those?
Graham didn't mention that his MRC was part of the right-wing noise machine that tried to discredit the January 6 committee, nor did he explain how those efforts are any different from what Brock is doing.

Graham also whined about this in his Dec. 12 podcast.

Finkelstein and Graham seem a little upset that their days of bashing Hunter Biden without consequences appear to be over -- and they're not happy about the impending realization that what goes around comes around.

(Disclosure: We used to work for Media Matters, which Brock founded.)

Finkelstein returned for a Dec. 12 post attacking "Morning Joe" again for questioning the validity of the investigation:

Mika Brzezinski broke out her violin, lamenting that Republicans are "going after Joe Biden's remaining son," and skeptically saying, "we've gone through this. Haven't we gone through this?"

Scarborough claimed "Every time they go down this path, and they want to investigate the investigators, they want to attack the FBI, they want to attack the CIA, they want to attack the intel community. It never pays off for them." So what Team Scarborough is doing now is just mocking the investigators, facts be damned.

Democrat apparatchik Adrienne Elrod even claimed that Hunter Biden's laptop is a "frivolous" and "meritless" matter and claimed Biden's approval rating will go up because he's "delivering for the American people." Question for Adrienne: if the Hunter laptop matter is so "frivolous" and "meritless," why have your fellow Democrats brought in slime merchant David Brock to threaten members of the Republican committee investing the matter with dishing dirt on them?

So, go ahead, liberal media. Keep trying to whistle past the graveyard of Hunter Biden's laptop. We'll see who's laughing when the investigations are done.

But if those committee members have nothing to hide, why is Finkelstein complaining about Brock investigating the investigators when it loudly cheered GOP special counsel John Durham for doing basically the same thing?

Apparently remaining in flip-flop mode over polls, Tober hyped one that fit the narrative in a Dec. 15 post:

According to a Fox News poll released late Thursday evening, voters in both parties support an investigation by the Justice Department into Hunter Biden's business dealings with foreign governments.

According to Fox News Digital, "Recent revelations about social media companies tamping down the story in the run-up to the 2020 election have not changed voters' opinions — just as many feel it is important to investigate Hunter Biden now as they did this past August."


The question remains, will the networks eventually cover this poll? Probably not considering the narrative that's been set that only Republicans care about Hunter Biden's crimes. This poll has set another leftist media narrative crumbling to the ground.

As we've documented, the MRC hyped numerous narrative-advancing polls prior to the midterm elections -- despite libelously accusing the media of fabricating polls in the 2020 election -- as evidence that "leftist media narratives" were being crumbled, only to have the midterms reveal much reduced support for Republican narratives then it thought. And, no, it's not accusing those pollsters of fabricating their numbers like it did in 2020.

Smearing Hunter's daughter

How deep does the MRC's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome run? It even smeared him and his daughter over her wedding. Houck huffed in a Nov. 18 post:

On Friday, NBC’s Today wasted away three minutes and 18 seconds (plus a tease) in its second hour gushing over Saturday’s White House wedding of Naomi Biden (whom the Free Beacon described as “the oldest legitimate daughter of amateur adult film star Hunter Biden”) and her fiancé Peter despite the fact that, as would later be detailed in the White House press briefing, one in which cameras and press coverage are banned.

And, in news the liberal media revealed on Friday, Hunter’s eldest and her fiancé having been lived on the taxpayer’s dime at the White House with their grandparents.

As if a president's extended family members have never lived in the White House before. Indeed, Melania Trump's parents lived in the White House while she was first lady, and we don't recall the MRC complaining about them grifting "on the taxpayer's dime." There's also the small matter of the years of demonization of Hunter Biden by right-wingers like the MRC, which have almost certainly resulted in threats against his life and safety -- which makes the quite secure White House the best logical place to protect his life. Not that Houck cares about Hunter's life, of course; as an own-the-libs kind of guy, he'd love to see him killed or to commit suicide.

Houck whined further about the wedding:

Chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker had the story and noted right off the top that she’s the “daughter of Hunter Biden” and “about to join a small club of brides who’ve gotten married here at the White House” as “[o]nly 18 couples have said I do here”

Welker laid it on thick:
But this will be the first wedding on the South Lawn. Naomi is incredibly close with her grandfather who she calls pop. A wedding fit for a First Granddaughter in the ultimate venue. Instead of saying “Hail to the Chief,” they are saying “Here Comes the Bride” at the White House this weekend. 28-year-old Naomi Biden, the first granddaughter of the President and First Lady, is about to say I do to her long-time love, 25-year-old Peter Neal.
After a soundbite from pathetic Biden spinster Michael LaRosa that the wedding would be “infused with a lot of love, a lot of laughter, and traditions,” Welker ran through a portion of the history of White House weddings with the last having come in June 1971 when President Nixon’s eldest daughter Tricia married Edward Cox

Welker also paid homage to the weddings of Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth in 1906 and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s oldest Lynda Bird Johnson Rob in 1967 and ran a soundbite for former First Lady Laura Bush Chief of Staff Anita McBride as having said that “[n]o matter how you may feel about a particular administration, you can't help but be happy” for anyone who gets married by becoming such a “unique and special part of history.”

Tossing back to Melvin, Welker noted the couple “already live[s] here at the White House” and passed along the claim that “the Bidens are paying for all of the festivities.”

Fast-forward a few hours to the White House briefing and ABC’s MaryAlice Parks dropped this key detail: “Why is the White House going against precedent and not letting any journalists cover a bit of this wedding that is taking place here at the people's house?”

If this had been Republican President having their granddaughter or child married and they shooed away journalists, we know this would be front-page news with cringeworthy panels on CNN and MSNBC.

And Houck would be vociferously defending that Republican and treating his family with respect -- the exact opposite of what he's doing here. He thinks he's being cute and clever by attacking Hunter and smearing his daughter, but he's only demonstrating how little regard he has for the basic humanity of people he is paid to attack and destroy.

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