Four summers ago, the network evening news shows obsessed over Donald Trump Jr. attending a brief and ineffective meeting with Russians at Trump Tower in 2016. He hoped to get "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, but nothing came of it. ABC, CBS and NBC offered viewers more than 62 minutes of coverage energetically speculating over collusion with the Russians in just four nights in July.
On Aug. 11, the Daily Mail reported, "Hunter Biden claimed Russians stole another one of his laptops for blackmail while he was close to overdosing in a Las Vegas hotel room." Coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC? Nothing. Zero. The story underlined this alleged theft "would mean Hunter lost a total of three computers -- the first abandoned at a Delaware computer store and the second seized by federal agents."
On video, Biden claimed he had a laptop loaded with his sex videos that were taken by a drug dealer and a Russian hooker; a "really nice, pure brunette." So, a reporter could take his tale with a grain of salt. But there's no salt needed. Reporters are aggressively incurious. There's no sign they have spent five minutes with any evidence.
The Daily Mail and the New York Post have reported quite a bit on Biden's computers and the scandalous videos and emails that were found on them. But the "news" gatekeepers have tried to squash all of this content as somehow "fake news." The definition of "mainstream media" is "refuses to acknowledge any evidence of Hunter Biden's dissolute life, lobbying and buckraking as authentic."
You can see it discussed on Fox News or other conservative networks, but not much else. On his HBO show, Bill Maher joked that Biden only has sex when he records it on his laptop. He said other people orgasm yelling, "Oh God," while Biden says, "Like, comment and share."
The networks are mostly bored senseless at Biden's scandalous plans to sell his "novice" paintings for as much as $500,000. NBC's Stephanie Gosk filled one report with skeptical art critics and ethics watchdogs on July 12. ABC and CBS skipped it, as did CNN, MSNBC and PBS. Somehow, the pro-Biden networks that pompously declare they "hold government accountable" are bored senseless by the Biden art sale.
On Aug. 13, the New York Times gently reported on the high expected prices, and wondered if it's not all about the artist's fame (or infamy). Cristin Tierney, a New York gallerist, told the paper, "I have artists who have very real careers who might not sell that much in dollar terms cumulatively over 10 years."
Art history professor Joan Kee warned, "We have a situation in which the White House is essentially giving a private gallerist that no one has ever heard of a political position."
The unknown gallery owner, Georges Berges, touted Biden's "authenticity" as an artist after grappling with addiction. "I saw a lot of the positive qualities that have defined his life in his art -- the heroic journey that comes from stumbling and falling and then rising up; his art is full of hope."
The real "hope" here is that Biden can score some more money off his famous father, knowing that the press will act more like bodyguards than investigators -- more like enablers than watchdogs. The rest of us have no hope that the establishment media will play any role in it. They say democracy dies in darkness, but Biden thrives in their darkness.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.