Hunter Biden questions are too important for the media to dismiss
National Public Radio (NPR) explained last Thursday why it refuses on principle to cover the New York Post’s reporting on the potentially problematic financial dealings of Hunter Biden and the Biden family. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories,” said Terence Samuels, NPR’s managing editor for news, “and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”
This sentiment was echoed shortly thereafter by Leslie Stahl of CBS’s “60 Minutes,” who claimed she would not cover the story because it “can’t be verified.”
Forget for a moment that it is the job of journalists to verify stories. Also forget that, in this instance, a taxpayer-funded media institution such as NPR is trying to unilaterally discredit the journalistic integrity of a major media outlet without attempting to provide any evidence, and that it did so by issuing a statement that reads like it was written by Joe Biden’s campaign.
Instead, consider what all of this says about one of our country’s most important institutions — a free press — and, far more importantly, what it may mean for the leadership and the security of our nation.
Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings have raised serious questions in many minds for years. It occurred while his father was vice president during the Obama administration, when some State Department figures raised concerns. And it remains so today, when the focus now is on his involvement with Chinese businesses largely controlled by the Chinese government.
Whatever the truth and the legal or ethical implications of Hunter Biden’s business relationships, what should worry Americans most is the extraordinary financial leverage that Hunter Biden’s investment activities, if they are as reported, could potentially give the Chinese government over the family of the man who now wants to be our next president — and why the media isn’t rushing to prove or to disprove it.
On Tuesday, for example, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson interviewed Tony Bobulinski, Hunter Biden’s former business partner. In the 45-minute interview, Bobulinski spoke in detail about the Biden family’s business dealings, his own interactions with the former vice president, his own eyebrow-raising email and text exchanges with Hunter Biden and his associates, and other disturbing elements of the stories previously reported by the New York Post. Yet, Carlson seems to be virtually alone among media figures in pursuing this angle, and Bobulinski’s statements are being widely ignored by other media outlets.
Either Joe Biden was aware of the details of his son’s financial involvement in China or, as he has insisted repeatedly, he was not. Neither NPR, nor CBS, nor any other media organization ought to simply and summarily dismiss these questions as the product of Russian hacking or political propaganda, as was done with the New York Post’s reporting. Instead, given the potential consequences for the country, it should be a priority and a responsibility of the media to investigate these allegations thoroughly, to resolve the issue factually either way. No one should hold their breath on that happening until after the election, however.
In the final presidential debate last Thursday, Joe Biden swore once again that in Hunter Biden’s business dealings, “Nothing was unethical. … My son has not made money from China.” Mainstream media organizations are either taking the claims of a former public official at face value — something they have not done, and never will do, with President Trump — or they know better and refuse to follow up for fear of throwing the election to a political rival. The Hunter Biden story not only raises important questions about the Democratic presidential nominee; it has exposed just how far America’s media has gone in transforming itself from objective seekers of truth into an operational wing of the Democratic Party.
Richard Grenell is a senior fellow of Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy. He is a senior adviser on LGBT outreach to the Republican National Committee. He served more than 10 years in the U.S. Department of State, including as U.S. ambassador to Germany, 2018-2020, and as a spokesman at the United Nations, and served briefly as acting director of national intelligence (DNI).