Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Disinformation By Popular Demand: How The Authenticity of Hunter’s Laptop Became Immaterial

By Jonathan Turley - October 27, 2020 at 09:45AM

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Yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden was again insisting that the scandal involving Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation despite the direct refutation of that claim by the FBI. No mainstream reporter bothered to ask the simple question of whether this was his son’s laptop and emails, including emails clearly engaging in an influence peddling scheme and referring to Joe Biden’s knowledge. Instead, media has maintained a consistent and narrow focus. Indeed, in her interview, Leslie Stahl immediately dismissed any “scandal” involving Hunter in an interview with the President on 60 Minutes. It was an open example of what I previously noted in a column: “After all, an allegation is a scandal only if it is damaging. No coverage, no damage, no scandal.”

In her interview with Joe Biden, CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell did not push Biden to simply confirm that the emails were fake or whether he did in fact meet with Hunter’s associates (despite his prior denials). Instead O’Donnell asked: “Do you believe the recent leak of material allegedly from Hunter’s computer is part of a Russian disinformation campaign?”

Biden responded with the same answer that has gone unchallenged dozens of times:
From what I’ve read and know the intelligence community warned the president that Giuliani was being fed disinformation from the Russians. And we also know that Putin is trying very hard to spread disinformation about Joe Biden. And so when you put the combination of Russia, Giuliani– the president, together– it’s just what it is. It’s a smear campaign because he has nothing he wants to talk about. What is he running on? What is he running on?
It did not matter that the answer omitted the key assertion that this was not Hunter’s laptop or emails or that he did not leave the computer with this store.

Recently, Washington Post columnist Thomas Rid wrote the quiet part out loud by telling the media: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.”

Let that sink in for a second. It does not matter if these are real emails and not Russian disinformation. They probably are real but should be treated as disinformation even though American intelligence has repeatedly rebutted that claim. It does not even matter that the computer has seized the computer as evidence in a criminal fraud investigation or that a Biden confidant is now giving his allegations to the FBI under threat of criminal charges if he lies to investigators.

It simply does not matter. It is disinformation because it is simply inconvenient to treat it as real information.

Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.

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