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Media Bubbles

Hunting for a Conspiracy

Last updated at 12/14/2020, 9:03:57 PM

Right now, the most important story in the world continues to be COVID-19. But after months of not being able to live normally and close to 300,000 deaths, I think it's safe to say people are tired of it. So last week, the media gave us what we all really want to distract us: a scandal! The Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating President-elect Joe Biden's son, Hunter! The investigation started in 2018, but now it's public and Hunter Biden confirmed it. Right-wing media made this their top story, and left-wing media made it one of theirs to criticize right-wing media for doing so. Here are some articles covering this from only the past several days. Sure, right now this only appears to be about reporting income for tax purposes, but this is the former vice president/current president-elect's son. He had business dealings in both China and Ukraine. The possibility of broader offenses makes for a great story. Unfortunately, part of what makes this a great story is it's really 2 stories with 2 very different sources of information being presented as 1 story:

  • (1) The DOJ probe into Hunter Biden's taxes
  • (2) Rudy Giuliani's search for dirt on Joe Biden and his family

The result of that second story (other than Donald Trump being impeached) was a laptop that may or may not belong Hunter Biden. This was talked and written about a lot a couple months ago, which means everyone has forgotten the details. This article from the Washington Post gives a good summary. The gist is Rudy Giuliani received a hard drive from the owner of a Delaware computer repair shop, who claimed it was from Hunter Biden's laptop. The hard drive contained incriminating emails and The New York Post published an article about it. The article was then blocked on several social media platforms because its claims had no supporting evidence. Fast forward back to today and here's where things get fun. Right-wing sources are arguing that the reveal of the DOJ investigation now validates the NY Post story and shows big tech and the mainstream media censored it. However, these are 2 completely separate things. There is still no evidence the laptop is really Hunter Biden's. What's worse is headlines covering these stories don't always provide context. NBC News (aka "the mainstream media") posted an article on Friday with this one:

Email to Hunter Biden raises fresh questions about his tax dealings

That sounds like important new information, but which source is it from? To find that, you'd need to read to the middle of the article:

"The email was made available by Rudy Giuliani’s attorney Robert Costello. Costello has said he was given a copy of one of Hunter Biden’s hard drives from the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware."

"NBC News could not independently verify whether the email is authentic and unaltered..."

Breitbart then published its own article, citing NBC News, but excluding the part about the email coming from Rudy Giuliani, NOT DOJ. The investigation into Hunter Biden is an important story, especially because these international business dealings occurred while his father was vice president. And he should be held accountable if he cheated on his taxes or committed other crimes. However, any media outlet presenting the 2 separate stories I've listed above as 1 story is spreading disinformation and doing a disservice its readers and/or viewers.