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OPINION

News Nets Avoid Twitter Files Due to Their Suppression of the Hunter Laptop Fiasco

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File

It has barely been three days since Elon Musk sent the press industry into a shame spiral by releasing a series of documents exposing a rigged moderating system inside Twitter. There has been no shortage of journalists denying, deflecting, dismissing, or disparaging the effort by Musk. But even with all of the histrionics seen in the press, it has not been blanketed coverage by the news networks. 

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As the files sizzled across social media and biased journalists weighed in with wild defense strategies, many of the major news outlets refrained from even covering the story. The broadcast news divisions fell mute on the matter, and some of the major papers were also notably reticent in reporting. This alone is noteworthy, as these outlets rely on Twitter hysterics for clicks and spent years obsessing over President Trump's then-active account. 

But it is also understandable why these sources refrained from coverage. Most are culpable in their contribution to the main controversy in the Twitter document dump, namely the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story. For many of these outlets, reporting on the contents of Elon's files would mean they would be compelled to address the prior stances they took on the story.

Eventually, we were served select individuals making excuses for their employers. At National Public Radio, media correspondent David Folkenflik responded to a comment by Miranda Devine of the New York Post regarding the past non-coverage at NPR. "NPR actively & repeatedly sought the files said to be from the laptop from multiple sources," he claims. This, of course, flies in the face of the rather (in)famous stance of NPR at the time when the news division boldly proclaimed that they would not cover the Hunter laptop story out of deference of wasting the time of their listeners. 

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Folkenflik's quote also defies another source at NPR – himself. When the story was active, David was dismissive, taking the position that the laptop emanating from Rudy Giuliani was a sign of him "peddling stuff" and the evidence said to be "allegedly" originating from Hunter Biden. The sheer lack of curiosity would explain why they never obtained direct evidence. 

The New York Times is also understandably quiet on the news, given they, too, were adherents of the laptop being not worth their while. Townhall's friend from Newsbusters, Tim Graham, brought up a video put out by The Times' editorial division which explained that Jose Biden had prevailed in the election by not engaging in the "nuttiness" of the "conspiracy," rising above the scurrilous narrative of the laptop, as they described it as a "boobytrap."

This was released three months after the election, showing just how long The Paper Of Record would cling to the false presentation of this news item. It would not be for another full year before The Times would confirm the contents of the computer were legitimate. Certainly, with that record – or the lack thereof – the resistance to revisiting the coverage makes sense.

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Making less sense, out of a sense of desperation, is the fact-finding duo at the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler and Philip Bump. In attempting to explain away the Post showing distinct avoidance of the laptop, Bump states that what was holding them back was a lack of obtaining physical evidence: A major reason why other outlets didn't match the NY Post's original laptop story: they weren't given access to the laptop data! Bump sounds ridiculous while pretending that news outlets do not run unverified stories from other outlets regularly, if not daily.

Kessler, the fact-checking authority at the paper, joined in to support his cohort on this daft approach. Even if the claim was accurate when he stated the Post obtained the evidence, they did not publicly confirm things until this March, and the ensuing coverage of the contents has not been especially energetic. 

One aspect stands out in Philip Bump's insistence that they were merely adhering to strict editorial standards. His call for firm evidence before reporting did not extend to his approach of the storyline that the laptop contents were the work of Russian disinformation. It is apparent that Bump's requirement to be in possession of definable evidence evaporated when this component of the storyline appeared.

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To this day, there exists absolutely nothing in terms of evidence or proof that a Russian disinformation program was behind the laptop story or its contents. The appearance of physical evidence did not warrant coverage of the story, but with nothing more than a contrived letter from the partisan intelligence community that all but said, "Well…it feels like Russian disinformation," journalists felt they were cleared from having to cover the story. 

Now, once again, these outlets are presented with tangible evidence, and they are behaving in exactly the same manner. Rather than searching through the filings, they search for excuses for not reporting on the files. Once again, we have our media complex dispatching "The 5 Ws" and instead resting upon "The Big H": How can we justify not doing our jobs?

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