Is the media ignoring the Biden whistleblower story?
Has the story about the FBI having a document in which someone alleges Joe Biden participated in a bribery scheme been “ignored” by the mainstream media?
Fox News says they are, but it’s not clear that there’s anything to the story.
Joe Biden: Getting Saved By the Media?
Republicans in Congress, and the media, are pushing a story that says the FBI possesses a document in which an unknown whistleblower has accused President Biden of taking part in a foreign bribery scheme when he was vice president.
The latest development is that the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee were able to view the document on Monday, although the FBI has not handed possession of the document to Congress, which has led Republicans to threaten FBI Director Christopher Wray with charges of contempt of Congress.
Now, Fox News has aired a segment that alleges that “Mainstream media completely ignores [the] latest development in Hunter Biden probe.”
In the segment, Fox had on Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), a member of the Oversight Committee. The anchor of the segment stated that “this story didn’t even register a blip on the nightly news last evening.” Biggs himself alleged a “media conspiracy with the White House.”
The idea that the media has ignored the story is wrong for two reasons.
One is that the media has very much not ignored any of these events. NBC News has covered it, as have CBS News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Sure, the three nightly newscasts might not have devoted time to it, but those newscasts are far from the entirety of the news media at this point. Claiming media bias by measuring time on the network newscasts is a trick Fox News has been pulling since the Clinton Administration.
But the more salient point is that there’s little reason to think, based on what is known so far, that there is anything major about this story. All it appears has been confirmed is that someone, in the past, made an accusation that Biden participated in a bribery scheme- and not that the accusation has any truth to it.
If the president of the United States had engaged in a conspiracy of bribery while he was vice president, that would be a pretty big deal. But based on what is known currently, it’s an extreme long shot that that’s actually what happened.
“The FBI has continually demonstrated its commitment to accommodate the committee’s request, including by producing the document in a reading room at the U.S. Capitol,” the FBI said in a statement to CNN this week.
‘This commonsense safeguard is often employed in response to congressional requests and in court proceedings to protect important concerns, such as the physical safety of sources and the integrity of investigations. The escalation to a contempt vote under these circumstances is unwarranted.”
According to most recent reporting, the document first surfaced years ago, in 2020, when Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was seeking to feed stories to the Trump-era Justice Department. During an election year, when the Justice Department was allied with the Republican candidate, William Barr’s DOJ did not do anything with the document.
“The FBI and Department of Justice under Attorney General Barr and Scott Brady terminated the investigation. They said there were no grounds for further investigative steps,” ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said Monday, according to CNN. “My understanding is there is an ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden relating to gun charges and one or two other things taking place in Delaware. But I don’t know of any connection between that criminal investigation and the document that we saw today.”
“What we’re talking about here is a confidential human source reporting a conversation with someone else. So we’re talking about is secondhand hearsay,” Raskin added. That seemed to echo comments by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who has said more than once in interviews that the GOP’s quest in this matter is less about the accusations being true and more about obtaining the document.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.