It’s hard to read Anne Applebaum’s recent article on the Hunter Biden scandal at The Atlantic without guffawing at the outlandishness of her argument, which is that the whole thing amounts to a shadowy “psy-op” that’s too complicated to understand—a “miasma” conjured up by unreliable Fox News characters trying to create a “foggy world in which misdeeds might have taken place, and in which corruption might have happened.”
Applebaum’s approach is emblematic of the mainstream media’s collective refusal to cover the Hunter Biden story. She spends zero time discussing the actual facts that have come to light through the reporting of the New York Post and a handful of other news outlets, and instead opens her essay with a lengthy anecdote about herself that serves as an ad hominem attack on a reporter she dislikes.
We are meant to understand that this reporter, Matthew Tyrmand, is a creep, not a real journalist, and not to be trusted. For this reason, Applebaum tells us, you can ignore the trove of emails Tyrmand got from an erstwhile business partner of Hunter Biden’s that implicate former Vice President Joe Biden in foreign influence-peddling schemes similar to those uncovered by the Post.
The idea is to disparage the source of the information rather than grapple with what the information reveals. This of course has been the media’s posture toward the Post’s reporting from the outset: pay no mind to the laptop or the emails, uniformly referred to as “documents of questionable provenance,” because it all came from Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, and they aren’t trustworthy. Real journalists, you see, only investigate and report on information that’s verified and trustworthy — you know, like the Steele dossier.