Since the New York Post dropped a whopper of an attempted hit job on Joe Biden, mainstream conservatives have circled together to create an echo chamber to promote the article.
Nothing in the story – from premise to conclusion – adds up, and it fails on its own terms. Even the person that Biden was alleged to have met with publicly said last year that he met with Kurt Volker, President Trump’s top envoy for the Ukraine crisis.
Separately, the New York Times reported on Wednesday that American spooks have been contacting people with knowledge of a hack attack on Burisma last year after “picking up chatter that stolen Burisma emails would be leaked in the form of an ‘October surprise.'”
All of this has since become mixed up in part with conservative faux concern around the legitimate question of whether massive platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be able to throttle access to the story.
That’s a complicated question worthy of discussion, none of which you will find on what’s below: a list of the most shameless promoters of the New York Post’s bizarre Ukraine disinformation dump.
The biggest offender here is the big boy himself: President Trump.
As if on cue, President Trump called the story a “smoking gun,” though it’s not clear of what wrongdoing, and also promoted a Fox News segment that regurgitated the story’s allegations.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2020
So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of “Smoking Gun” emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!! https://t.co/g1RJFpIVUZ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2020
He also made the story a centerpiece of his Iowa campaign rally Wednesday night.
Trump used the article as the basis for a charge that Biden is “a corrupt politician who shouldn’t even be allowed to run for the presidency.”
Other big promoters are the chief instigators of the story: Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon.
Remember, it was Bannon who tipped the Post off to the existence of the supposed hard drive, and Giuliani who gave the paper a copy.
The indicted Bannon has used his daily show – War Room: Pandemic – to relentlessly promote the story. The former Trump campaign chairman, who once derided Don Trump Jr. as “someone who believes everything he reads on Breitbart,” asked viewers with a slight grin whether they believed that the New York Post wouldn’t have gone through the story “with a fine-toothed comb before publishing.”
#SteveBannon: Does Facebook really think Rupert Murdoch-owned @nypost didn't go through #HunterBiden email story with a fine-toothed comb before publishing?#WarRoomPandemic @WarRoom2020 pic.twitter.com/tA0aKvod7y
— War Room: Pandemic ☣️ (@WarRoomPandemic) October 14, 2020
Giuliani, predictably, has hyped the story and played into the drip-drip notion of the reporting, saying that there’s “much more to come” with the election three weeks away.
The Congressional GOP
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), a chief promoter of disinformation that helps the President, told Fox News on Wednesday that his committee considered the source of the story a “whistleblower,” and said that his staff was “in the process of validating the information he provided.”
Separately, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has boosted the story online, including one comment saying that it reveals “graft in the Biden dynasty.”
But he has taken it a step further with complaints that Twitter blocked access to the link, vowing to keep the story alive by issuing a subpoena to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Friday.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 15, 2020
Over in the House, the situation is much the same.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) of House Intelligence Committee fame retweeted the story, while Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) expressed outrage over Facebook limiting access to the story. In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Jordan described the article as “explosive” and relevant to “the upcoming presidential election,” demanding answers from Zuckerberg over the decision to throttle access.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 14, 2020
White House press shop
McEnany has also used the social media platforms’ decision to limit access to the story as a way of keeping it alive, suggesting that it makes Silicon Valley look like Pyongyang.
Censoring political speech is what you’d expect in countries like China, North Korea, or Iran — NOT America.
This should scare every single American who values free and open discourse. Do NOT let Big Tech silence YOU‼️#TwitterCensorship
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 15, 2020
Separately, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Wednesday that “there is plenty of evidence to suggest Joe Biden knew good and well what Hunter Biden was doing—using his connections to enrich himself and the Biden family” – a comment retweeted by White House communications director Alyssa Farah.
The Trump campaign
The Trump campaign immediately pushed outgot
a video encapsulating the story’s conclusions, asking the bogus (and un-premised) question of “Why did you let Hunter do it?”
As scandal grows, we're asking Joe Biden: Why did you let Hunter do it? pic.twitter.com/QZopjLNuCs
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) October 15, 2020
Separately, Trump campaign comms director Tim Murtagh boosted the story in a somewhat subtler way, playing into Politico’s write-up to keep the story moving.
Politico: "Biden’s campaign would not rule out the possibility that the former VP had some kind of informal interaction with Pozharskyi" pic.twitter.com/ulCv3hgCIO
— Tim Murtaugh – Download the Trump 2020 app today! (@TimMurtaugh) October 14, 2020
It remains unclear whether the emails in question are real or not and, if they’re authentic, what exactly it is that they prove.
But the cherry on the cake here are the D.C. professional conservatives who keep the whole show running: justifying the current administration while wielding it as a tool to achieve their judicial goals.
Take Hugh Hewitt, who anticipated the story’s path by initially promoting it as a question about how people reacted.
This is a blockbuster story from @nypost. Watch and see if any cable news channels carry it: https://t.co/gd2baCW51h There will be questions and caution about authentication, but if @nytimes can run w/ pilfered bits of @realDonaldTrump tax returns, @NYPost can run w/this.
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) October 14, 2020
Similarly, National Review editor Rich Lowry appears to have commissioned a write-up of the story’s conclusions in part as a way around the platforms’ decision to throttle access. Here he is promoting it below:
You can still tweet the NR write-up of the story
Hunter Biden Offered $10 Million Annually by Chinese Energy Firm for ‘Introductions Alone,’ Email Shows https://t.co/064Rx0MXAv
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) October 15, 2020