WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following last week’s release of the first batch of “Twitter Files” – documentation detailing the social media platform’s “free speech suppression” efforts over the years – much of the mainstream media that initially dismissed – or even outright blocked – the story of Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop is now facing their punishment.
Unfortunately, some experts are speculating that things won’t change, and that the media is unlikely to have even learned any lessons at all from the embarrassing gaffe.
Hunter Biden’s “Laptop from Hell” was left in a computer repair shop in Delaware in 2019 and eventually turned over to the FBI by the establishment’s owner; a subsequent report by The New York Post claiming that the contents of the laptop included emails, text messages, photos and financial documents documenting illicit and potentially illegal behavior was originally dismissed by major media groups as “Russian misinformation.”
However, the laptop and its contents were later verified by both The New York Times and Washington Post – two outlets who had initially derided it as “fake” – as being completely legitimate.
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Twitter CEO Elon Musk, upon releasing the Twitter Files Friday, said that the public “deserves to know” that the social media platform actively sought to suppress the laptop story when it was released prior to the 2020 presidential election, even going so far as to quickly agree to a request from the team of then-candidate Joe Biden to remove links to “unflattering” stories about his son.
To that end, Twitter would even go so far as to temporarily suspend the New York Post’s account and prevent users from being able to circulate the laptop story.
While the revelations contained in the first batch of Twitter Files – Musk has promised more to come – should have shamed the many mainstream news outlets that outright ignored the Hunter Biden story, experts are noting that appears to be far from the case, as many of said outlets today are not only eating crow, but actively defending their actions at the time.
A Washington Post source spoke to Fox News, saying that the decision to dismiss the story was understandable due to the involvement of Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who was thought to be unreliable.
“CIA types were saying it looked like Russian disinformation—which after 2016 sounded like a plausible concern. So, egg on our faces? No,” the WaPo source said. “Solid reasons to be very, very wary and skeptical. Were we wrong? Possibly– but we couldn’t know that at the time.”
In addition to WaPo, a plethora of other news organizations at the time dismissed or downplayed the story, including ABC, CBS, and NBC. However, another inside media source told Fox that if the laptop had belonged to a member of Trump’s family, the coverage would have been quite different.
“I tend to think that right before an election, especially, you need to be really cautious with late breaking revelations, October surprise type stuff,” the source said. “Obviously, I think it was a mistake for Twitter to suppress the New York Post story… And their reason obviously turned out to be entirely wrong.”
“I think that news organizations and reporters were obviously in hindsight too quick to believe that the laptop was a product of Russian misinformation, disinformation,” they continued. “That was kind of an assumption that was taken by a hell of a lot of reporters and news organizations… If it had been Don Jr’s laptop, it’s not too much of a stretch to think it would have been handled differently.”
Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson said that the media most likely learned that they can continue to get away with news suppression due to the lack of fallout over the laptop story.
“Unfortunately, in all likelihood the wrong lesson was learned, which is that concerted action by mainstream platforms and media outlets to help a Democrat candidate can work,” he said. “I doubt there are any regrets or that future such action will be deterred.”