News and Commentary

Major Networks Follow Facebook, Twitter Lead Ignoring Hunter Biden Scandal
Stage preparation continues for tomorrow's Democratic presidential debate at Paris Las Vegas on February 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Major broadcast networks, as well as CNN and MSNBC, follow social media giants Twitter and Facebook’s lead in largely ignoring the New York Post story about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

The fact the media networks ignored a potentially explosive story about the Biden family’s corruption shows social media didn’t even need to suppress the story to prevent people from seeing it. As NewsBusters reported, in the two days after the Post story was published, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC collectively devoted a total of 9 minutes and 47 seconds to the scandal, which amounts to less than 0.2% of their airtime. ABC and CNN didn’t mention the story at all. NBC spent 45 seconds on the story, which was about emails from Hunter Biden allegedly showing his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, met with a top executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Hunter inexplicably worked.

CBS covered the scandal for four minutes, 28 seconds over the two days, while MSNBC dedicated four minutes, 34 seconds to the story over 36 hours, though as NewsBusters explained, the networks only covered it to claim it was discredited.

“On Thursday, CBS This Morning finally noticed story, but only to dismiss the report. ‘Plus, how the President is trying to revive an old attack line, using the Vice President’s son,’ co-host and Democratic Party donor Gayle King announced at the top of the show.  Moments later, her fellow co-host Anthony Mason repeated the claim of it being old news: ‘Yesterday, the President held a rally in Iowa, where he tried to revive an old line of attack against Joe Biden based on suspicious new claims linked to Rudy Giuliani,’” the outlet reported.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, without evidence, called the Post story “false.”

To figure out how little networks covered the story, NewsBusters analysts “looked at CNN and MSNBC’s broadcast days starting at 6am through 12 midnight ET on October 14 and October 15. Analysts also viewed ABC’s World News Tonight, Good Morning America and their 2-hour townhall event with Joe Biden; CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning; NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today show and the Today show Third Hour and their 1-hour townhall event with Donald Trump.”

In total, NewsBusters analysts looked at a total of 92 hours of programming.

As I wrote in an op-ed on Saturday, the media’s suppression of the Biden family story is a blatant double standard that is not applied to articles negative to President Donald Trump. For example, while Twitter claimed it blocked links to the Post story because it didn’t “want to incentivize hacking by allowing Twitter to be used as distribution for possibly illegally obtained materials,” no such action was taken when The New York Times illegally obtained President Donald Trump’s tax returns and published a report on them.

Media outlets also claimed, without evidence, that the Post story was part of a Russian disinformation program, yet Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe dismissed the claims.

“Let me be clear, the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that and we shared no intelligence with chairman Schiff or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliff told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. “It’s simply not true.”

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