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Does all mainstream media have a duty to report on Hunter Biden email scandal?

Does all mainstream media have a duty to report on Hunter Biden email scandal?
WRITTEN BY
10/21/20
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Andrew (No)

Major news outlets are not 'required' to report any stories. They have editorial boards with the journalistic independence to decide what stories they publish. The only 'requirements' they have are to cover enough of the stories that people want to read that they can sell enough publications to stay in business. This means that all news outlets will not cover some stories that don't pass muster in terms of quality.

The so-called Biden email scandal is far too dubious of a story for many major news outlets to take it seriously. The story has a beyond sketchy backstory and has yet to be verified. Major news outlets not only don't have a duty to report on it; they have a duty not to since the story has too many factual problems. It would be irresponsible for reputable news outlets to report a story such as this without independently verifying the facts.

By not reporting on such a drummed-up, attempted political hit job, news outlets send a message that they will continue to investigate and not report on stories that are not newsworthy. Misinformation has been a major issue, particularly when it comes to political elections, and there have been many calls for news organizations to do something about fake news. There are plenty of outlets for unverified innuendo online; major news outlets are for real news. Major news outlets employ professional journalists with the independence and integrity to report factually on stories that matter. They are not required to report on every trumped-up political story and serve the public well when they do not.

 

Elizabeth (Yes)

Mainstream media needs to cover the NYPost Hunter Biden story, full stop. Yes, there are questions regarding the integrity of the story—questions that should be investigated by all journalists. The choice made by the majority of mainstream media to kill the story will undercut their efforts to make it go away.

We already know the younger Biden has made millions from his overseas 'business ventures.' We also know some about his other 'adventures' involving drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes. Not to mention the fact he's never served any time as other less well-connected Americans would have done. For the media to bury this latest allegation will do nothing to whitewash that history or make those already inclined to think ill of the former VP see him in a better light. What it will do is further convince Trump's supporters and possibly uncommitted voters that major media is all-in on minimizing a potential scandal to get Biden elected. People would be excused for thinking that. After all, had Trump exploded with the 'totally discredited' comment as Biden did at the debate, it would have been a four-alarm pants-on-fire moment for the president that the media would have fallen over themselves to cover.

Hunter Biden has long been a weight on his father's political aspirations. The media appears to be so committed to getting Trump out of office that they will memory-hole a story affecting Biden, whereas if the script was flipped, there would be no end to the breathless bloviating. If mainstream media wants people to stop fleeing to other sources for their news, then it needs to start doing its job of reporting the news fairly across all party lines.

Fact Box

  • Both Joe and Hunter Biden were investigated by a Republican team led by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Their efforts have been criticized by the Democrats as an attempt to push Trump's campaign.
  • On September 23, Senate Republicans released the 87-page report reviewing more than 45,000 pages of Obama administration records and interviewed eight witnesses, including former U.S. officials. 
  • On October 14, the New York Post published a report with a “smoking-gun email” between Hunter Biden and a Burisma board advisor about a meeting with Joe Biden. The report has been labeled as suspicious; there are doubts that the emails are legitimate. 
  • Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter limited the circulation of the post while their distributors fact checked the documents in question. The post has been shared 600,000 times on Facebook so far.
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