It had all the makings of a bombshell “October Surprise”, said Gerard Baker in The Wall Street Journal. Just three weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the New York Post reported the discovery of a laptop belonging to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, in a repair shop in Delaware, which contained “all sorts of embarrassing emails”. They suggested he had been “selling his high-level family connections” while working for a Ukrainian energy firm, possibly even securing a cut for his father.
It should have been a huge story – it could have swung the election – but it died a death after the mainstream press and the tech firms dismissed it as Russian disinformation. It was nothing of the sort. Last week, The New York Times finally conceded the emails were authentic.
In fairness, journalists had every reason to be wary, said Philip Bump in The Washington Post. At the time the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post ran the report, Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had spent months openly digging for “dirt” on Hunter Biden. The Post refused to let other media organisations examine hard drives from the laptop, and no one could explain why the owner of the repair shop had ended up giving the laptop to Giuliani. Given Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the mainstream media understandably responded with suspicion.
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