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