I’ve been holding on to this post since Thursday evening, waiting for an answer to the key threshold ethics analysis question “What’s going on here?” Why, I’ve been wondering, have all of the conservative news media outlets been reporting that, as Fox News’ headline puts it, “Biden campaign, Blinken orchestrated intel letter to discredit Hunter Biden laptop story, ex-CIA official says” when none of the left-biased mainstream media sources—that is, the overwhelming majority—have reported on the story at all, with the sole exception of CBS? On memeorandum, a generally reliable news aggregator, the story didn’t appear at all until this morning (so at last I know where that site’s biases lie).
Well, now it’s Saturday, when visitors to Ethics Alarms are like tumbleweeds rolling through a Western ghost town, but I finally have enough information to discuss this mess, a continuation of the Hunter Biden laptop story suppression that is one of many reasons Donald Trump thinks the 2020 election was “stolen.” The other end of the media is finally weighing in, spinning the episode as hard as it can. As a result, it is impossible to tell what really happened, the pubic will be divided and confused, and we are left in the dark. Again.
The New York Post broke the story fittingly enough, since it also broke the laptop story and was quickly censored on Twitter and Facebook while the rest of the biased MSM buried the matter to make sure the Joe Biden had a clear route to election:
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign prompted former acting CIA Director Mike Morell to “help Biden” by organizing 50 colleagues to sign a letter in October 2020 falsely claiming that damning emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop published by The Post were Russian disinformation.
In private sworn testimony, Morell told the House Judiciary Committee that Antony Blinken, now secretary of state, was the senior campaign official who reached out to him “on or before” Oct. 17, 2020, three days after The Post published an email from the laptop suggesting Hunter had introduced his Ukrainian business partner to his father, then-Vice President Biden.
Morell, identified as a potential CIA director under Biden, said he organized the letter to “help Vice President Biden … because I wanted him to win the election.”
Until Blinken’s call, Morell told House investigators, he had no intention of writing any statement exonerating Biden.
But he agreed that the conversation with Blinken “triggered … that intent” in him.
At 10:53 p.m. the night of the call, Blinken emailed Morell a USA Today article claiming that the FBI was examining whether Hunter’s laptop was part of a “disinformation campaign.”
The rest of the right quickly followed suit: Fox, Washington Times, MSN, National Review, Washington Free Beacon, Washington Examiner, Breitbart, Instapundit, and so on. From the rest, crickets. House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) sent a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that included excerpts of the testimony from Michael Morell that supported the narrative. Apparently the White House and its allies needed a day or so to get its counter-narrative together.
The obvious crux of the initial report’s deceit is the use of the words that appear in various headlines. The Biden campaign “prompted the letter. “It “triggered” the letter. The Biden campaign “orchestrated” the letter. Morell “implied’ it was “behind” the letter. Newsweek said it “sparked” the effort. The National Review wrote that the Biden campaign “played an active role” in suppressing the laptop story.
The Washington Post was apparently selected to mount the counter-attack. The Post points out that…
- Jordan’s letter omitted whether Blinken actually pushed for such a statement. In an excerpt from Morell’s interview Jordan left out. Morell was asked whether Blinken had directed, suggested or insinuated that Morell should write the statement ultimately signed by the 51 CIA operatives, Morell said, “My memory is that he did not.”
- Twitter had apologized for its decision and said it had stopped blocking links to the story and documents by October 16, so, the Post reasons, the October 19th statement wasn’t responsible for suppressing the laptop story.
- The signed statement was more “nuanced” than it was initially described in the media and by Joe Biden in his debate with Trump. Though the statement said that the situation “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” it also said it didn’t have direct evidence that it was. The statement also conceded that the contents of the laptop could be genuine.
- It was that unreliable news media’s fault that Morell’s letter was used to bury the potentially explosive laptop story. For example, Politico headlined, , “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
The Post also tries mightily to minimize the fact that Biden stated unequivocally during the October 22 debate that the intelligence officials had said this was “a Russian plan.”
The rest of the MSM is dutifully treading where its masters steps have trod, and paroting the White House’s talking points as relayed by the Post. That’s sufficient, I’m sure, to totally muddy the story, frustrate readers, voters and engaged citizens, and sent the episode into the memory hole that Democrats have created for it. It’s all in confirmation bias territory now: those who think that Democrats used illicit measures and tactics to win in 2020 have enough to support that belief. Those who want to protect Biden at all costs have enough to plausibly claim that Republicans and conservatives are leaping to conclusions. In the meantime, American journalism has proven once again that it is useless as a reliable reporter of the facts.
We can’t be sure what happened. However, my analysis is this:
1. The laptop story was effectively suppressed, and news media outlets like the Post did not admit that it was not “Russian disinformation” until last year. Whatever the details are, the result was “Mission Accomplished!”
2. The fact that Blinken called Morell to discuss the laptop raises the rebuttable presumption that he knew that a little targeted nudging would prompt the ex-Obama CIA director to take affirmative steps to discredit the laptop story, which is what teh Biden campaign needed and wanted. My guess is that it was another, “Will nobody rid me of this troublesome priest?” situation, with the message being clearly relayed from Blinken’s boss. Can that be proven? No. That’s why things are done this way in Washington.
3. The Post takes a whopping 28 paragraphs before it states, “There is no question that the statement from the former intelligence officials was a key entry in the debate over the matter — and one that was exploited politically. Joe Biden mischaracterizing the statement at a debate was a significant moment.” Talk about burying the lede! Fact: Morell’s letter became a major weapon in the media and democratic effort to discredit the laptop story so its contents couldn’t hurt Biden’s candidacy. Everything else—well, you know, the Biden campaign didn’t specifically ask for Morell to organize his CIA buddies to sign the letter, and the letter was a bit more equivocal than it was made out to be, and anyway, some of the obstacles to the story being seen by the public had been removed by the time the letter was released, and you can’t blame the Biden campaign for how the Biden campaign-supporting news media hyped the letter, and so on—is deflection, spin and throwing dust in our eyes.
No, we don’t know exactly what happened, and will never know, unless years from now Blinken or someone else in the Biden cabal writes a Harry Reid-style “Trump lost, didn’t he?” tell-all book.
Good job, everybody.
3 thoughts on “Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Like A Functioning Democracy): The Letter From 51 Intelligence Officers Declaring The Hunter Biden Laptop To Be Fake”
I recognized the weasel word “earmarks” when the letter came out. Conservative journalists FAILED to ask specifically was it our was it not Russian disinformation.
We could just as easily state that it had the earmarks of American intelligence agencies which would paint Trump as an abuser of his office but doing so would besmirch the reputations of all those 50 ex-officials and would get rebutted by the intelligence gathering agencies.
The American people are also to blame for not taking the time to read the statement carefully enough to see that this was a politically based letter designed to protect one candidate.
Because we cannot trust senior officials in government we should not treat them as expert witnesses after they leave service.
Can these officials be prosecuted for violating campaign finance laws?
We’re almost done with “House of Cards” which we started watching in 2020. It’s taken so long because nearly every character on the show is an objectively awful person.
Right now, a real journalist is digging up all the skeletons in Frank Underwood’s messy rise to the Presidency. I hope he brings the jerk but it’s probably wishful thinking as the good guys winning is not what this show is about.
Even my no non-political husband is unnerved by how close to reality the show is getting.
It’s almost as if the writers of the show could write a book about current events blindfolded. I bet they could…but they probably are Biden supporters.
Which makes me both sad and afraid.