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The MRC's Hunter Biden Derangement, Summer 2023

The Media Research Center spent the lazy summer months spreading lazy smears baselessly accusing Hunter Biden of stashing cocaine in the White House and exploiting his child for partisan purposes, as well as cheering the collapse of a plea deal.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 12/13/2023

It was a bit of a slow time for news around the Independence Day holiday, so when news of a small amount of cocaine being discovered in the White House was reported, the Media Research Center latched onto it like, well, an addict on a bender and -- as a manifestation of its Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome -- it rushed to blame Hunter for it despite having absolutely no evidence to support such a claim. Curtis Houck kicked off the madness in a July 5 post:
Believe it or not, but the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC each covered on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning the disturbing discovery of cocaine inside the West Wing of the White House with a news brief, partial segment, or full report. But despite the six minutes and 25 seconds of coverage and even a few jokes, there hasn’t been a mention of Hunter Biden.

CBS and NBC, however, have dutifully accepted the spin of the Biden regime put out in the press, which is the implication that the cocaine had to have been left by a tourist on a trip around the White House and not, say, the First Family, a staffer, or even — gasp — a journalist. If this happened under a Republican president, there’s no doubt this would be covered differently.

Later in the day, Ana Schau complained that CNN didn't treat the story with the gravity she insisted it deserved (and that it wouldn't rush to blame Hunter):

CNN News Central’s Wednesday morning coverage of the cocaine found at the White House over the weekend was short, but telling of their opinion of the matter. After anchor John Berman discussed selective aspects of the matter with White House correspondent Priscilla Alvarez, anchors Sara Sidner and Kate Bolduan joked about the matter and made light of it, saying that it’s not “too soon” for them to poke fun about it.

The segment began with Berman breaking the news of the lab confirmation that the white powdery substance discovered in the White House was, in fact, cocaine. He was quick to note, however, that President Biden was not present at the White House when it had been discovered, seeming to dismiss any relation between Biden and his family and the cocaine.


Considering that Hunter Biden, a known and self-acknowledged drug addict, had recently spent time at the White House before these drugs had been found, it seemed like it shouldn’t be too difficult to speculate where they may have come from. Something like this likely would have been their first guess if Donald Trump was still president.

P.J. Gladnick similarly groused there wasn't a rush to judgment on Hunter:

Gee! Isn't that a shame?

Despite the fact that the White House is probably the most intensely video-surveilled building on the planet, an official with the investigation wants us to believe that the public shouldn't expect the discovery of the culprit who left cocaine there just this past weekend. At least that is what the utterly skepticism-free Politico reporter Daniel Lippman is relaying to his readers on Wednesday in "White House cocaine culprit unlikely to be found: Law enforcement official."

While Gladnick didn't actually reference Hunter by name, his post was illustrated with a photo of Hunter and received a "Hunter Biden" tag.

Kevin Tober served up his own demand for a rush to judgment on Hunter:

After predictably ignoring Hunter’s possible role in the appearance of a small bag of cocaine found inside the West Wing of the White House, the “big three” evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC kept up their silence on Hunter Biden. Failing to mention his name once during each of their reports Wednesday evening. This was despite the fact that the son of the President was a well-known user of cocaine and was reported to be at the White House approximately 48 hours prior to the discovery. Despite the refusal to broach the subject of Biden’s crackhead son, there was plenty of water carrying for the Biden regime’s various explanations and speculation about how cocaine was brought into the White House.

Tober returned to whine in a post the next day:

Despite a new update Thursday in the ongoing "cocainegate" scandal in which a small bag of cocaine was left inside with West Wing of the White House in a different location than was originally reported, ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News both lost interest in the story, while NBC Nightly News only managed to dedicate 41 seconds during their evening newscast. The three networks often have a habit of moving on quickly from any scandals involving Democrats. You can be certain if Donald Trump Jr. was a well-known crackhead and a bag of cocaine was found in the Trump White House, this story would still be leading the three evening newscasts.

Nicholas Fondacaro somehow managed to avoid referencing Hunter in a July 7 post:

The White House is one of the most secure and surveilled facilities in America but apparently, the Secret Service may be unable to determine who left a baggie of cocaine in the West Wing. Being unable to determine who was responsible was an insane proposition that left CNN This Morning unfazed Friday as co-anchor Poppy Harlow and White House correspondent Priscilla Alvarez primed their viewers to not expect someone to be held accountable.

Needless to say, none of these writers provided a scintilla of evidence linking Hunter to the cocaine. That's irresponsible partisan activism, not "media research."

When the Secret Service stated it couldn't find the culprit and closed the investigation, the Tober invented a new conspiracy theory in a July 13 post -- that the Secret Service is covering up for the Biden White House:

On Thursday, the Secret Service announced that their investigation into the cocaine that was found in the West Wing of the White House had conveniently come up empty. Just like with the leaker of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, our so-called investigative agencies have failed us and proved once again that there’s a two-tiered system of justice in the United States.

Later Thursday evening, it appeared that ABC’s World News Tonight was unconcerned with the dual justice system in America since they were the only one of the three networks to ignore the news. Instead, anchor David Muir thought a report on an alligator attack in Florida was more newsworthy.


Meanwhile, over on NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell reported: “Officials said they used video and entrance logs to compile a list of more than 500 individuals who had access to the entrance in the days before it was found July 2nd. But without physical or video evidence officials could not connect the drug to any suspect.”

Was Hunter Biden one of the 500 listed? Did the Secret Service talk to him? Nobody in the leftist media wants to ask the question.

Not only did Tober not offer any evidence that Hunter Biden is involved in any of this, he offered no evidence that the Secret Service is on the take from the Bidens. He continued his conspiracy theory in another post later that day:

How bad did the United States Secret Service bungle their investigation into the bag of cocaine left in the West Wing? All you need to know is that even disgraced FBI bureaucrat and Russiagate hoaxer Andrew Weissmann is critical. During a Thursday night appearance on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour, Weissmann told host Stephanie Ruhle that “this is really just not a sufficient investigation.”

When asked for his thoughts on the results of the investigation into the bag of cocaine, Weissmann remarked: “To me, the Secret Service here looks like they can’t find a dead cow in a closet,” which credit where it’s due, is a funny line.

Again, Tober provided absolutely no evidence that anything was "bungled."

By contrast, Fondacaro called out what he considered another conspiracy theory (while being mad that GOP exploitation of the story was also called out):

Those stealthy Republican ninjas were at it again! Earlier this year, the Cackling Coven of ABC’s The View claimed Republicans were “behind” the classified documents found in President Biden’s Delaware garage. Now, on Friday, they were claimed Republicans infiltrated the White House and “planted” cocaine in the West Wing to “advance the Hunter Biden narrative.” At least that’s what Joy Behar and Ana Navarro wanted people to believe.

In an attempt to deflect attention away from the possibility that someone in the administration or the Biden family was the perpetrator, co-host Sunny Hostin claimed, without evidence, that the cocaine came from “a tourist, a stupid tourist, a guest, somebody like that.”

But while Hostin was quipping about how the person “left their stash,” Behar was busy wondering: "Maybe it was planted, or do I sound paranoid?”

At least she had a ting of self-awareness.

But after playing a clip of Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) pointing out the two-tiered justice system that benefits the Bidens, Behar whined that Cocainegate was just “more fodder for the Republican conspiracy machine.”

Helping Behar drive their own conspiracy machine, faux conservative Ana Navarro claimed, without evidence, that Republicans “planted” the cocaine so they could keep talking about Hunter Biden:

How ironic that Fondacaro complained that Hostin made a claim "without evidence" while he and his colleagues have been pushing conspiracy theories about the cocaine with a similar lack of evidence.

Tim Graham rehashed this in his July 14 podcast:

The Secret Service concluded on Thursday that they couldn’t locate a suspect for this baggy of illegal white powder -- it was cocaine, an illegal drug. MSNBC pundit Andrew Weissman colorfully remarked, the Secret Service looks like it "can't find a dead cow in a closet' – yes, that’s it! This doesn't have to be a Biden scandal story. It's a story of Secret Service incompetence.

ABC and NPR couldn't bother to care about the Secret Service when they could devote time to flooding in Vermont or an actors' strike in Hollywood. PBS did a bland 20 seconds....and then devoted 10 minutes and 43 seconds to The networks just can't find any energy on stories that could go south for Team Biden. [Gap in original.]

Meanwhile, Curtis Houck appeared on Fox News on July 16 to tout Tober's writeup of Weismann criticizing what Houck called "the so-called probe by the Secret Service into cocaine found in the West Wing."

One gets the feeling that any outcome that did not point the finger at Hunter would be seen by the MRC as Secret Service "incompetence" or failure -- never mind that, again, no MRC writer has provided even a smidgen of proof of anything that would prove the Secret Service wrong.

Exploitation of Hunter's child

The MRC obsesses over all things Hunter Biden if it thinks it can personally destroy him and -- more importantly -- his father, since it so fervently believes in the politics of personal destruction. Thus, the MRC felt the need to mock Hunter over a child custody dispute. Graham devoted his July 5 column to complaining how it was pointed out that he and his fellow right-wingers obsessed over it and -- more importantly -- that the controversy was driven by the mother's family trying to litigate the case in right-wing media:

In the July 2 New York Times, they suddenly decided to put the story of Hunter Biden’s controversial four-year-old daughter on the bottom of the front page of the Sunday paper.

The bizarre headline on a Katie Rogers piece: “Hunter Biden and the Politics of Paternity in the Media’s Glare.” There has been almost no media glare, at least on inside the Democrat media bubble. They lament the story’s “ubiquity” in conservative media.

The occasion for this sudden acknowledgment of reality was a child-support settlement after a “years-long court battle” – outside the media glare. Try finding any mention of the mother, Lunden Roberts, or the child, Navy Joan Roberts, in any “mainstream” media source. Searching for “Lunden Roberts” on the Times website gives you three results, two of them in the last few days. The name “Lunden Roberts” doesn’t appear until six paragraphs into the article, and only five paragraphs were on the front page.


It’s beyond ludicrous to assume that the Bidens aren’t “involved” in the politics of Hunter's messes. But of course, “Democratic groups dedicated to helping the Biden family have disseminated information about Mr. [Garrett] Ziegler and the Roberts family, seeking to highlight their Trump ties.”

Liberal journalists should acknowledge it’s natural that people wronged by the Bidens would be welcomed by the conservative media, just as Trump-haters (like angry niece Mary Trump) would be celebrated by the liberal media.

Graham laughably claimed that "there’s 'no evidence' this is being politicized" - even though he had just conceded that the mother's family was using political media to litigate it.

Graham concluded: "The Biden family is a sprawling reality show of misbehavior, like the Kennedys, and just like the Kennedys, the newspapers who boast they are the bold guardians of 'truth' are exposed as hardened partisan operatives." The Trump family is too, yet he whined that Mary Trump talked to the media about it; the MRC previously tried to discredit a book she wrote about her family that showed Donald Trump to be something of a sociopath.

Tober complained that Republican attacks over a child were called out in a July 9 post:

On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd took issue with Republicans criticizing Joe Biden for refusing to acknowledge his seventh grandchild who his son and well-known drug addict Hunter had with a stripper out of wedlock. To Todd, the issue was not that the Biden family have shunned the poor little girl Hunter and the stripper had together, it's Republicans who are the villains of the story in Todd's delusional mind.

"I think we all understand the personal challenge and concern and all of these things that the President has here, but his political foes see this and they're trying to exploit," Todd lashed out. "There’s no doubt, every day DeSantis or Trump tries to use Hunter to beat up Biden."

Todd or anyone else at NBC doesn't get to lecture or claim the moral high ground by talking about how the children of Presidents should be treated. Frequent NewsBusters readers will recall how NBC treated Ivanka Trump.

Tober seems to have forgotten that Ivanka worked as an adviser to her father, while Hunter plays no role in his father's administration.

In his daily hate-watch of "The View," Fondacaro spent a July 10 post whining that it was pointed out how the mother was exploiting the situation:

While ignoring the cocaine found in the White House last week and the new Axios report exposing President Biden as someone who verbally abuses his staff, the cackling coven of ABC’s The View defended the President for “following” his son’s “cue” and shunning the 4-year-old granddaughter his son Hunter fathered with a stripper. Together, the cast attacked the mother and demanded that everyone ignore how the President was mistreating his granddaughter.


Racist co-host Sunny Hostin said she was “split on this” because the child was born into the “circumstance” but attacked the mother, Lunden Roberts for attempting to “wedge herself into the [Biden] family.”

“And apparently, this was more of a one-night stand. It wasn’t like they had a relationship, he was in the throes of addiction when this woman became pregnant,” Hostin argued, decrying how the child was in a picture wearing “an Air Force One cap and at the Jefferson Memorial.”

Hostin went on to defend Biden’s shunning by saying he was “just following what his son has set in motion. And how do you fault any of that?”

Fondacaro absolutely would -- and does, since he can politically exploit it. (And, yes, he still thinks Hostin is "racist" because he doesn't understand how metaphors work.)

In a post the same day, Peter Kotara accused CNN of trying to deflect from the story:

On Monday’s episode of CNN’s Inside Politics with Dana Bash, the host and her panel discussed the surprisingly searing New York Times column that ripped into President Biden for denying the existence of Hunter Biden’s child. Despite CNN’s personality cult following of Biden, the panel found it extremely difficult to excuse his behavior.

Bash quoted from columnist Maureen Dowd: “According to the Times the President does not acknowledge the girl and he expects his staff to follow his lead. Quote, “In strategy meetings in recent years, aides have been told that the Bidens have six, not seven grandchildren, that’s according to two people familiar with the discussions.”

She continued, lamenting that “Republicans are using it and are going to take advantage of it in a way that is unfortunate inappropriate, but the reason they are doing it is because -and able to do that- is because of the brand and the kind of person that we all know and believe Joe Biden to be because it's who he says he is, and it's somebody who is a family man.”

Joe Biden was- not a family man? What a shock! It seemed the fact Biden denies the existence of his own grandchild was what it took to break through the liberal CNN bubble and get them to realize that he’s not some kind, gentle, family man. Republicans, of course, knew that from the beginning, and took the opportunity to support Lunden Roberts in her legal battles with Hunter. But the Democrats’ cult of personality support for the Bidens prevented them from seeing any possible flaw in them, until now.

Isn't also a cult of personality of sorts -- anti-personality, perhaps? -- that Republicans "took the opportunity to support Lunden Roberts" in order to make the Bidens look bad? Kotara was silent about that.

When President Biden did eventually acknowledge this grandchild, the MRC attacked that too. Fondacaro spent a July 28 post whining that it didn't lead every non-right-wing newscast:

President Joe Biden, who the liberal media told us was a man of decency fighting for the soul of America, finally admitted that he had seven and not six grandkids after he had to be (figuratively) dragged kicking and screaming to acknowledge his 4-year-old granddaughter Navy Joan Roberts, who his son Hunter Biden fathered out of wedlock. When it came to the broadcast networks covering this embarrassing Friday evening news dumb, ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News were still ignoring the child.

Biden’s reluctant acknowledgment of Navy came in the form of an exclusive statement to PEOPLE magazine.

Instead of covering Biden’s long-delayed admission of having seven grandkids, ABC hyped a crane collapse in Maryland despite no injuries. And over on CBS, they kept their airwaves clean for Biden by highlighting an elderly man trying to find a new home for his collection of antique and vintage washing machines.

Fondacaro then gave a cookie to the right-wing outlet that did follow his narrative: "Over on Fox News Channel’s Special Report, White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich noted that the Biden administration had, up until Friday, strict rules for staff when speaking about the President’s family.

Fondacaro whined again in a July 31 post that non-right-wing media coverage wasn't sufficiently hateful of the Bidens:

NBC News has parlayed being the first of the broadcast networks to report on President Joe Biden finally acknowledging his 4-year-old granddaughter into lionizing him Monday morning for taking that long and withstanding the criticism. Meanwhile, ABC and CBS didn’t want to stick their necks out that far as they spent barely over a minute (64 seconds) of combined time on the story over the weekend, taking 24 hours before they mentioned it.

After being the only broadcast network to cover how the Biden clan would finally acknowledge the little girl as one of their own, NBC only talked about it selectively on Saturday’s NBC Nightly News and Monday’s Today show. It was on the Today show that they really took up the task of trying to spin Biden’s long-time callousness against his granddaughter, Navy Joan Roberts, into him being thoughtful.


[Kelly] O’Donnell suggested that it took Biden almost five years to acknowledge his granddaughter (her birthday is in August) because of the legal and paternal battle between her mother, Lunden Roberts, and Hunter and not the bad polling the family was getting.

Fondacaro offered no evidence to back up his cynical accusation that the family recognized the child solely because of "bad polling." Still, he regurgitated all this whining in the July 31 NewsBusters podcast.

Plea deal collapse

The MRC experienced a widespread outbreak of Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome when a proposed plea deal regarding various charges he faced came to light. When that plea deal collapsed, the MRC was filled with schadenfreude. A July 26 post by Mark Finkelstein hyped an MSNBC analyst who criticized the alleged sweetheart nature of the deal. That was followed by a post from Curtis Houck complaining (as it usually does) that the right-wing obsession with Hunter was called out once again:

Ahead of what was supposed to be Hunter Biden’s Wednesday morning court appearance to plead guilty to tax charges and instead turned into a not guilty plea due to a stunning breakdown between the legal teams and the judge, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today were in full spin mode for the Biden family and the Biden 2024 campaign and thus engaging in election interference by misleading voters.

Not surprisingly, they trashed Republicans for not being “ready to move on” from a “painful” and “dark chapter” in the Biden family’s history and insisting there hasn’t been “any evidence...of wrongdoing” regarding the Biden family’s overseas business dealings.

Also of note, we saw ABC finally arrive on scene with coverage on a flagship newscast of the IRS whistleblower hearing and a network mention of Hunter’s love child with a former stripper.

The MRC, of course, have no problem exploiting Hunter's child for political purposes. Tober complained that non-right-wing media weren't expressing the same sinister glee over the plea deal collapse that the MRC was:

To paraphrase the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld: No plea deal for you! Sorry, Hunter! That was the end result of a tumultuous day in a Wilmington courtroom Wednesday where President Joe Biden’s criminal drug addict son Hunter Biden was stripped of his plea deal and forced to plead not guilty to tax fraud charges. On Wednesday evening, the big three evening news broadcasts had the sads over Hunter’s latest legal woes.

All three networks ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News kicked off their newscasts with the Hunter news. On ABC, justice correspondent Terry Moran fretted that “Hunter Biden came to the federal courthouse in Wilmington this morning expecting to put his legal troubles behind him, but it was a day of unexpected courtroom drama and an unforeseen twist.”

Moran even insisted on labeling Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who oversaw the Hunter Biden probe as someone “appointed by Donald Trump.” While that was technically true, Weiss was recommended by both Democrat Senators in the state. If he was a man fully committed to the rule of law, the Democrats would have bitterly opposed him.

He didn’t stop there, he even labeled the judge as well. Claiming she was “appointed by President Trump,” and complained she “peppered lawyers on both sides with questions, and repeatedly took issue with the negotiated plea deal, calling it, ‘not straightforward,’ ‘atypical.’ Saying she would not ‘rubber stamp’ it. And asking, ‘is this even constitutional?’"

Bill D'Agostino further harped on the fact that the judge who rejected the plea deal was accurately identified as a Trump appointee:

Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal was rejected on Wednesday by Federal Judge Maryellen Norieka, who found major inconsistencies between how the prosecution and the defense had framed the agreement. The ensuing coverage contained a lot of theatrical head-scratching, as well as routine mentions that Norieka was appointed by former President Trump.

In fact, the TV news media can hardly even mention about Hunter Biden’s failed plea agreement without making really, really sure that absolutely everyone knows that the judge who tossed it was appointed by Trump. Just look at them go:

During the 2 p.m. Eastern hour of CNN News Central on Wednesday, CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen pretended to be baffled by Norieka’s misgivings with the deal: “I think everyone is scratching their head a little bit.”

He then called Norieka’s partiality into question on the grounds that she was appointed by Trump:
This is the same MRC, mind you, that was obsessed with labeling one prosecutor of Donald Trump as linked to George Soros.

D'Agostino then harrumphed: "There are already plenty of quality legal analyses out there explaining the concerns raised by Norieka. It’d be great if the liberal TV news networks would bother sharing some of those perspectives with their viewers." But as an example, he supplied a link from the partisan right-wing site the Federalist, no normal person's idea of a source for "quality legal analyses."

Tober returned to complain that the non-right-wing media are nowhere near as obsessed with Hunter as he is:

It didn’t take long for CBS and NBC to move on from the collapse of President Joe Biden’s criminal son Hunter’s plea deal. In fact, just 24 hours after all three networks led their respective evening newscasts with the news, only ABC’s World News Tonight stuck with the story and kept their viewers in the loop about the new revelations. Including what was actually in the plea agreement, as well as details about Hunter’s shakedown of foreign governments for millions of dollars.

CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News apparently had better things to do like cover the New York City crane collapse for the second night in a row (CBS) or complain about the July summer heatwave (NBC).

Sticking with the story and performing a random act of journalism, ABC’s justice correspondent Terry Moran kept on the story for his network. He did get in the obligatory partisan labeling and crying about how Hunter was a victim.

Cassandra DeVries groused that it was pointed out that right-wingers favor preconceived narratives to facts when it comes to Hunter:

On Thursday, CNN This Morning covered Judge Maryellen Noreika’s dismissal of the Hunter Biden plea deal. The defense and prosecution teams appeared before the judge claiming a deal, but the parties disagreed on what Hunter could be charged with in the future. CNN assumed prosecutors lacked adequate evidence to win a trial and warned viewers not to “expect Republicans to have fidelity to the facts of the case over the narrative they're trying to pursue.”


“There was sort of a little win in this pause for both sides,” host Erica Hill said. “Yes, Republicans can continue to talk about it. But the fact too that this is an ongoing investigation, that may actually make it harder in some cases for Republicans to get some of the information that they're after.”

Hill dismissed the Hunter Biden case as political fodder for Republicans. Still, her referral to a lack of transparency as a small win for Democrats made one wonder what information she thought they might find.

A July 28 post by Houck touted how "On Friday morning, NBC’s Today was the lone flagship broadcast network news show to keep alive coverage of Hunter Biden, his life of corruption, and the shocking collapse of his shady plea deal with his father’s Justice Department." He offered no evidence that the plea deal was "shady." Tober hyped a right-wing smear of Hunter in a July 30 post:

CNN's senior political commentator and Republican political strategist Scott Jennings did not play around during his appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. During the panel discussion, the topic inevitably turned to the news that broke Friday night that Joe Biden had finally acknowledged his seventh grandchild whom his drug addict son Hunter had with a stripper in Arkansas. After his fellow panelist and Democrat strategist Michael LaRosa tried to accuse Republicans of playing politics with the Biden grandchild, Jennings took the gloves off and said: "It's not Republicans, with all due respect, who made Hunter Biden into a complete scumbag on this and other issues."

We don't recall the MRC condoning this same argument when applied to Donald Trump.

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