Gee, it's almost like The New York Times hasn't learned the lessons of 2016, or maybe it doesn't care to. One of their top reporters, Ken Vogel, is on the airwaves trying his hardest to revive his story about Joe Biden's son Hunter doing something improper or corrupt by way of business dealings in Ukraine, and turn that into something that can be used against not-the-same-person-as-Hunter-Biden, Democratic candidate for president, Joe Biden. Myriad problems surround this, not the least of which is the level of importance they afford it in their coverage, but also the fact that the story has been investigated and debunked.
Joy Reid and Eric Boehlert had a brilliant segment on AM Joy this morning taking apart the methods and madness of the media's pathological impulse to scratch the "Both Sides" itch, at the expense of the gaping wounds it creates in our democracy.
It began to take shape as a New York Times problem for candidate Joe Biden. It is a familiar problem for anyone who has recently been a Democratic nominee. Now, when it was Hillary Clinton, The New York Times published this report, based on clips from a partisan book by a former partner of Mike Breitbart, the home of the white nationalist alt-right Steve Bannon, a guy named Peter Schweizer. The New York Times picked up his narrative and spent the rest of the election zeroed in on Hillary Clinton and her e-mails. Well now, The Times has a new narrative, which is that this time Biden is the one with a problem that now needs to be paid attention to, that is EQUAL to the scrutiny that is afforded to Donald Trump. You know, the president who allegedly rang up the president of Ukraine to possibly tip the scales of the 2020 election and then, might have tipped the scale again to cover it all up? Actions that came after a special counsel investigation into Russia's decision to tip the 2016 election in his favor? Yeah, that guy.
This week, reporter Ken Vogel, as we just saw, picked up that narrative which he put into paper back in May, and it is now running with. The problem is this narrative is ALSO a Peter Schweizer joint. We are not going to read any of that story because we do not want to advance it on this show. The Republicans had been quick to seize the anti-Biden narrative and spin it into what they hope will be a winning 2020 strategy that mirrors Trump and Russia's gambit in 2016. Making "both sides" look equally corrupt, and getting the media to kick into "both sides" mode, so that anything negative about Trump seems, well, not so bad because "on the other side."
On Saturday morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to weaponize the Ukraine story, that, again, is HIS scandal, in an effort to turn Joe Biden 2020 into Hillary Clinton 2016. But Biden, in almost uncharacteristic fashion for a Democrat, punched back.
She showed the video of Biden in Iowa being asked about Vogel's story, and him rightly turning it all back on Trump, saying TRUMP is the one that should be investigated. Then echoing fellow candidate Beto O'Rourke, he reprimanded the reporters, telling them that THEY need to "ask the right questions."
After introducing her panel, she turned to media analyst Eric Boehlert and said, "It is like a rerun, here, trying to make it like whatever Donald Trump has done that can be classed as corruption is leveled out, at least in the media, by zeroing in on something about his potential opponent." Boehlert agreed, and went even further, explaining why this was even worse than 2016.
And quick point, people say, "Well, this is like the e-mails." It's WORSE! We are not going to go into the details, we're not gonna give Trump the pleasure of rehashing all this stuff. But, there is nothing there. The timeline doesn't add up. The facts don't add up. There is nothing there. And he's still able to float it around.
All we can hope is that readers and voters have learned more than The New York Times gives them credit for. If they watch AM Joy, they have learned, at least.