ANALYSIS: Journalists Struggle To 'Speak Truth to Power' in Biden Era

Mainstream media outlets continue to ignore Hunter Biden corruption scandal

October 13, 2021

Professional journalists pride themselves in preserving democracy by "speaking truth to power," at least when Republicans are in charge. Their enthusiasm for public accountability wanes significantly when Democrats hold power.

President Joe Biden, for example.

According to a Washington Free Beacon analysis, journalists are struggling to "speak truth to power" in the Biden era. For example, most mainstream media outlets have refused to cover the burgeoning Hunter Biden corruption scandal, which would be front-page news if his dad weren't a Democrat.

Going against the grain, Insider dared to report on the First Son's problematic foreign entanglements. The story's headline, however, is so riddled with caveats it reads essentially as an apology to readers for the sin of criticizing a prominent Democrat:

"Hunter Biden isn't Trump, but what's he's up to is bad and deserves your attention—even if you hate Fox News."

"Republicans have certainly pounced on the younger Biden's business dealings in an attempt to cast doubt on his father's integrity," writes Insider correspondent Mattathias Schwartz. "The ferociously partisan nature of the issue, in turn, has made it easy for the mainstream media to effectively dismiss the entire Hunter imbroglio as a figment of the GOP's fevered imagination."

Indeed. The New York Times even went so far as to describe reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop as "unsubstantiated." (Fact check: Those reports are extensively substantiated.) In the eyes of the mainstream media, Republicans are always "pouncing" in a "ferociously partisan nature," which gives the media license to ignore them. Democrats, meanwhile, are reluctant to pounce on GOP scandals and averse to ferocious partisanship. Also, there's no Democratic equivalent to Fox News, which is partisan, unlike the studiously objective CNN.

In the manner of a parent patiently explaining right and wrong to a stubborn toddler, Schwartz implores Democratic supporters to care about blatant corruption. At the very least, he pleads, they should care about the troubling lack of transparency and accountability surrounding Hunter Biden, who has been "working to unwind" his ownership stake in a Chinese investment firm for almost a year, and plans to sell his amateur paintings for as much as $500,000 each to buyers whose identities won't be disclosed to the public.

"This doesn't approach Trump-level corruption," the journalist writes, cautiously. "But it still matters." Walter Shaub, a fierce Trump critic who served as director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, correctly described Hunter Biden's plan to sell exorbitantly priced art to secret donors as "objectively bad" and argued that "'less of a grifter than Trump' cannot become the standard" for evaluating corruption.

The Daily Mail on Wednesday published a damning report that suggests Joe Biden could become entangled in the FBI probe into Hunter's finances. The report included copies of emails indicating the father and son held shared bank accounts and paid each other's bills, as well as commentary from law enforcement experts. "The information available publicly is very worrisome, particularly in the areas of corruption," John Cassara, a former U.S. intelligence officer and Treasury special agent who specialized in money laundering investigations, told the Daily Mail.

By contrast, CNN's Brian Stelter was reminiscing about the "splashy" HBO premiere he attended Tuesday night, where he downed caviar and champagne while mingling with celebrities before he decamped to an after party that featured a full orchestra. "Everyone will have different moments that feel like life is returning to a pre-Covid normal, and this night was one of those moments for me," he wrote.