The professional journos are at it again. A New York Post report on Hunter Biden's emails suggests the renegade son of the former vice president attempted to introduce his dad to a Ukrainian oil executive in 2015. Members of the news media seized on the report, urging "caution" and admonishing their colleagues for sharing it on social media.
Members of the media have not always displayed such skepticism when it comes to promoting salacious claims about a prominent political figure. The professional journos were not as hesitant, for example, to amplify outlandish (and false) accusations of gang rape against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 confirmation hearing.
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MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin spoke for many of his journo colleagues when he urged his followers not to share the New York Post report, which he said would amount to "amplifying what appears to be disinformation."
No one should link to or share that NY Post 'report'. You can discuss the obvious flaws and unanswerable questions in the report without amplifying what appears to be disinformation.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 14, 2020
Griffin and his boss, Lawrence O'Donnell, were less concerned with amplifying flawed accusations in 2018, when the MSNBC host interviewed media darling Michael Avenatti about his client, Julie Swetnick, whose lurid accusation against Kavanaugh fell apart upon minimal scrutiny.
Avenatti, who has since been convicted of fraud, and Swetnick were eventually referred to the Department of Justice for making "materially false claims" to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The media did not, to say the least, exercise caution when it came to amplifying their claims.
Now: Michael Avenatti on @TheLastWord on Julie Swetnick. Tune in now,
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 27, 2018
Washington Post "fact checker" Glenn Kessler alluded to the New York Post report by tweeting out the paper's policy on publishing "hacked or leaked material," and urging his followers to "be careful what is in your social media feeds."
In 2018, Kessler wrote a "fact checker" "analysis" of the accusations against Kavanaugh, which did not appear to check any facts or perform any sort of analysis. The piece did, however, repeat Swetnick's allegation that Kavanaugh had participated in a "gang rape."
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) September 27, 2018
CNN's Brian Stelter amplified Kessler's tweet advising caution. His network hasn't always followed that advice. For example, CNN published a story on a Kavanaugh allegation after the accuser had already recanted.
David Corn, an MSNBC analyst and D.C. bureau chief of Mother Jones, urged the media to "do better" when it comes to handling the allegations in the New York Post‘s story on Hunter Biden.
JUST POSTED: I explain how the NY Post embraced and promoted Russian disinformation with its supposed Biden bombshell. Will the rest of the media do better? Please read, RT, like, and share. https://t.co/712nUhM0fz
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) October 14, 2020
Corn reacted somewhat differently to Swetnick's allegations against Kavanaugh. Indeed, he simply posted the "new Avenatti declaration" that supposedly "raises serious new questions" about the Supreme Court nominee.
The new Avenatti declaration contains very significant allegations from a witness/victim named Julie Swetnick that raises serious new questions about Kavanaugh and that necessitates a more thorough investigation and the questioning of Mark Judge. pic.twitter.com/jPfCvZRVUI
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) September 26, 2018
Here's Daily Beast editor Molly Jong-Fast on the Hunter Biden story:
Here's Molly Jong-Fast on Julie Swetnick: "Swetnick accused Kavanaugh of running a ‘rape train,' getting girls drunk and participating in gang rapes. These are shocking accusations. But maybe we should have expected revelations about sexual misconduct from a Trump nominee."
Former CNN producer Steve Krakauer had the following, somewhat provocative, take on the matter:
I know this may come across as harsh, but if you think the journalism world should pretend the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story doesn’t exist, you don’t belong in the journalism world.
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) October 14, 2020