USA 2020 Elections: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Fri Oct 30 01:30:23 PDT 2020  FBI investigating Corrupt Bidens

The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald resigned from the outlet on
Thursday, after 'editors censored an article I wrote this week,
refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Joe
Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all Intercept editors
involved in this effort at suppression.' ...

I am posting here the most recent draft of my article about Joe and
Hunter Biden - the last one seen by Intercept editors before telling
me that they refuse to publish it absent major structural changes
involving the removal of all sections critical of Joe Biden, leaving
only a narrow article critiquing media outlets. I will also, in a
separate post, publish all communications I had with Intercept editors
surrounding this article so you can see the censorship in action and,
given the Intercept’s denials, decide for yourselves (this is the kind
of transparency responsible journalists provide, and which the
Intercept refuses to this day to provide regarding their conduct in
the Reality Winner story). This draft obviously would have gone
through one more round of proof-reading and editing by me - to shorten
it, fix typos, etc - but it’s important for the integrity of the
claims to publish the draft in unchanged form that Intercept editors
last saw, and announced that they would not “edit” but completely gut
as a condition to publication:

An attempt to assess the importance of the known evidence, and a
critique of media lies to protect their favored candidate, could not
be published at The Intercept


Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter
Biden's laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden's work in
Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the
Biden family's pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked
extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon
Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these

One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that
there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to
address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these
materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions --
the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a
presidential election -- journalists have instead led the way in
concocting excuses to justify his silence.

After the Post’s first article, both that newspaper and other news
outlets have published numerous other emails and texts purportedly
written to and from Hunter reflecting his efforts to induce his father
to take actions as Vice President beneficial to the Ukrainian energy
company Burisma, on whose board of directors Hunter sat for a monthly
payment of $50,000, as well as proposals for lucrative business deals
in China that traded on his influence with his father.

Individuals included in some of the email chains have confirmed the
contents' authenticity. One of Hunter’s former business partners, Tony
Bubolinski, has stepped forward on the record to confirm the
authenticity of many of the emails and to insist that Hunter along
with Joe Biden's brother Jim were planning on including the former
Vice President in at least one deal in China. And GOP pollster Frank
Luntz, who appeared in one of the published email chains, appeared to
confirm the authenticity as well, though he refused to answer
follow-up questions about it.

Thus far, no proof has been offered by Bubolinski that Biden ever
consummated his participation in any of those discussed deals. The
Wall Street Journal says that it found no corporate records reflecting
that a deal was finalized and that "text messages and emails related
to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski,
mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter
Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture."

But nobody claimed that any such deals had been consummated -- so the
conclusion that one had not been does not negate the story. Moreover,
some texts and emails whose authenticity has not been disputed state
that Hunter was adamant that any discussions about the involvement of
the Vice President be held only verbally and never put in writing.

Beyond that, the Journal's columnist Kimberly Strassel reviewed a
stash of documents and "found correspondence corroborates and expands
on emails recently published by the New York Post," including ones
where Hunter was insisting that it was his connection to his father
that was the greatest asset sought by the Chinese conglomerate with
whom they were negotiating. The New York Times on Sunday reached a
similar conclusion: while no documents prove that such a deal was
consummated, "records produced by Mr. Bobulinski show that in 2017,
Hunter Biden and James Biden were involved in negotiations about a
joint venture with a Chinese energy and finance company called CEFC
China Energy," and "make clear that Hunter Biden saw the family name
as a valuable asset, angrily citing his 'family’s brand' as a reason
he is valuable to the proposed venture."

These documents also demonstrate, reported the Times, "that the
countries that Hunter Biden, James Biden and their associates planned
to target for deals overlapped with nations where Joe Biden had
previously been involved as vice president." Strassel noted that "a
May 2017 'expectations' document shows Hunter receiving 20% of the
equity in the venture and holding another 10% for 'the big guy'—who
Mr. Bobulinski attests is Joe Biden." And the independent journalist
Matt Taibbi published an article on Sunday with ample documentation
suggesting that Biden's attempt to replace a Ukranian prosecutor in
2015 benefited Burisma.

All of these new materials, the authenticity of which has never been
disputed by Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign, raise important
questions about whether the former Vice President and current
front-running presidential candidate was aware of efforts by his son
to peddle influence with the Vice President for profit, and also
whether the Vice President ever took actions in his official capacity
with the intention, at least in part, of benefitting his son's
business associates. But in the two weeks since the Post published its
initial story, a union of the nation's most powerful entities,
including its news media, have taken extraordinary steps to obscure
and bury these questions rather than try to provide answers to them.

The initial documents, claimed the New York Post, were obtained when
the laptops containing them were left at a Delaware repair shop with
water damage and never picked up, allowing the owner to access its
contents and then turn them over to both the FBI and a lawyer for
Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani. The repair store owner confirmed this
narrative in interviews with news outlets and then (under penalty of
prosecution) to a Senate Committee; he also provided the receipt
purportedly signed by Hunter. Neither Hunter nor the Biden campaign
has denied these claims.

Publication of that initial New York Post story provoked a highly
unusual censorship campaign by Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, through
a long-time former Democratic Party operative, vowed to suppress the
story pending its “fact-check,” one that has as of yet produced no
public conclusions. And while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for
Twitter’s handling of the censorship and reversed the policy that led
to the blocking of all links the story, the New York Post, the
nation’s fourth-largest newspaper, continues to be locked out of its
Twitter account, unable to post as the election approaches, for almost
two weeks.

After that initial censorship burst from Silicon Valley, whose
workforce and oligarchs have donated almost entirely to the Biden
campaign, it was the nation's media outlets and former CIA and other
intelligence officials who took the lead in constructing reasons why
the story should be dismissed, or at least treated with scorn. As
usual for the Trump era, the theme that took center stage to
accomplish this goal was an unsubstantiated claim about the Kremlin
responsibility for the story.

Numerous news outlets, including the Intercept, quickly cited a public
letter signed by former CIA officials and other agents of the security
state claiming that the documents have the “classic trademarks" of a
“Russian disinformation” plot. But, as media outlets and even
intelligence agencies are now slowly admitting, no evidence has ever
been presented to corroborate this assertion. On Friday, the New York
Times reported that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop
contains Russian disinformation” and the paper said even the FBI has
“acknowledged that it had not found any Russian disinformation on the

The Washington Post on Sunday published an op-ed -- by Thomas Rid, one
of those centrists establishmentarian professors whom media outlets
routinely use to provide the facade of expert approval for deranged
conspiracy theories -- that contained this extraordinary proclamation:
"We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign
intelligence operation — even if they probably aren't."

Even the letter from the former intelligence officials cited by The
Intercept and other outlets to insinuate that this was all part of
some “Russian disinformation” scheme explicitly admitted that “we do
not have evidence of Russian involvement,” though many media outlets
omitted that crucial acknowledgement when citing the letter in order
to disparage the story as a Kremlin plot:

Despite this complete lack of evidence, the Biden campaign adopted
this phrase used by intelligence officials and media outlets as its
mantra for why the materials should not be discussed and why they
would not answer basic questions about them. “I think we need to be
very, very clear that what he's doing here is amplifying Russian
misinformation," said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield
about the possibility that Trump would raise the Biden emails at
Thursday night’s debate. Biden’s senior advisor Symone Sanders
similarly warned on MSNBC: “if the president decides to amplify these
latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that
is Russian disinformation."

The few mainstream journalists who tried merely to discuss these
materials have been vilified. For the crime of simply noting it on
Twitter that first day, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had
her name trend all morning along with the derogatory nickname “MAGA
Haberman.” CBS News’ Bo Erickson was widely attacked even by his some
in the media simply for asking Biden what his response to the story
was. And Biden himself refused to answer, accusing Erickson of
spreading a "smear."

That it is irresponsible and even unethical to mention these documents
became a pervasive view in mainstream journalism. The NPR Public
Editor, in an anazing statement representative of much of the
prevailing media mentality, explicitly justified NPR’s refusal to
cover the story on the ground that “we do not want to waste our time
on stories that are not really stories . . . [or] waste the readers’
and listeners’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

    Why haven't you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post's
Hunter Biden story? Read more in this week's newsletter➡️
    — NPR Public Editor (@NPRpubliceditor) October 22, 2020

To justify her own show’s failure to cover the story, 60 Minutes’
Leslie Stahl resorted to an entirely different justification. “It
can’t be verified,” the CBS reporter claimed when confronted by
President Trump in an interview about her program’s failure to cover
the Hunter Biden documents. When Trump insisted there were multiple
ways to verify the materials on the laptop, Stahl simply repeated the
same phrase: “it can’t be verified.”

After the final presidential debate on Thursday night, a CNN panel
mocked the story as too complex and obscure for anyone to follow -- a
self-fulfilling prophecy given that, as the network's media reporter
Brian Stelter noted with pride, the story has barely been mentioned
either on CNN or MSNBC. As the New York Times noted on Friday: "most
viewers of CNN and MSNBC would not have heard much about the
unconfirmed Hunter Biden emails.... CNN’s mentions of “Hunter” peaked
at 20 seconds and MSNBC’s at 24 seconds one day last week."

On Sunday, CNN's Christiane Amanpour barely pretended to be interested
in any journalism surrounding the story, scoffing during an interview
at requests from the RNC's Elizabeth Harrington to cover the story and
verify the documents by telling her: "We're not going to do your work
for you." Watch how the U.S.'s most mainstream journalists are openly
announcing their refusal to even consider what these documents might
reflect about the Democratic front-runner:

These journalists are desperate not to know. As Taibbi wrote on Sunday
about this tawdry press spectacle: " The least curious people in the
country right now appear to be the credentialed news media, a
situation normally unique to tinpot authoritarian societies."

All of those excuses and pretexts — emanating largely from a national
media that is all but explicit in their eagerness for Biden to win —
served for the first week or more after the Post story to create a
cone of silence around this story and, to this very day, a protective
shield for Biden. As a result, the front-running presidential
candidate knows that he does not have to answer even the most basic
questions about these documents because most of the national press has
already signaled that they will not press him to do so; to the
contrary, they will concoct defenses on his behalf to avoid discussing

The relevant questions for Biden raised by this new reporting are as
glaring as they are important. Yet Biden has had to answer very few of
them yet because he has not been asked and, when he has, media outlets
have justified his refusal to answer rather than demand that he do so.
We submitted nine questions to his campaign about these documents that
the public has the absolute right to know, including:

    whether he claims any the emails or texts are fabricated (and, if
so, which specific ones);

    whether he knows if Hunter did indeed drop off laptops at the
Delaware repair store;

    whether Hunter ever asked him to meet with Burisma executives or
whether he in fact did so;

    whether Biden ever knew about business proposals in Ukraine or
China being pursued by his son and brother in which Biden was a
proposed participant and,

    how Biden could justify expending so much energy as Vice President
demanding that the Ukrainian General Prosecutor be fired, and why the
replacement — Yuriy Lutsenko, someone who had no experience in law;
was a crony of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko; and himself had a
history of corruption allegations — was acceptable if Biden’s goal
really was to fight corruption in Ukraine rather than benefit Burisma
or control Ukrainian internal affairs for some other objective.

Though the Biden campaign indicated that they would respond to the
Intercept’s questions, they have not done so. A statement they
released to other outlets contains no answers to any of these
questions except to claim that Biden “has never even considered being
involved in business with his family, nor in any business overseas.”
To date, even as the Biden campaign echoes the baseless claims of
media outlets that anyone discussing this story is “amplifying Russian
disinformation,” neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign have even
said whether they claim the emails and other documents -- which they
and the press continue to label "Russian disinformation" -- are
forgeries or whether they are authentic.

The Biden campaign clearly believes it has no need to answer any of
these questions by virtue of a panoply of media excuses offered on its
behalf that collapse upon the most minimal scrutiny:

First, the claim that the material is of suspect authenticity or
cannot be verified -- the excuse used on behalf of Biden by Leslie
Stahl and Christiane Amanpour, among others -- is blatantly false for
numerous reasons. As someone who has reported similar large archives
in partnership with numerous media outlets around the world (including
the Snowden archive in 2014 and the Intercept’s Brazil Archive over
the last year showing corruption by high-level Bolsonaro officials),
and who also covered the reporting of similar archives by other
outlets (the Panama Papers, the WikiLeaks war logs of 2010 and
DNC/Podesta emails of 2016), it is clear to me that the trove of
documents from Hunter Biden’s emails has been verified in ways quite
similar to those.

With an archive of this size, one can never independently authenticate
every word in every last document unless the subject of the reporting
voluntarily confirms it in advance, which they rarely do. What has
been done with similar archives is journalists obtain enough
verification to create high levels of journalistic confidence in the
materials. Some of the materials provided by the source can be
independently confirmed, proving genuine access by the source to a
hard drive, a telephone, or a database. Other parties in email chains
can confirm the authenticity of the email or text conversations in
which they participated. One investigates non-public facts contained
in the documents to determine that they conform to what the documents
reflect. Technology specialists can examine the materials to ensure no
signs of forgeries are detected.

This is the process that enabled the largest and most established
media outlets around the world to report similar large archives
obtained without authorization. In those other cases, no media outlet
was able to verify every word of every document prior to publication.
There was no way to prove the negative that the source or someone else
had not altered or forged some of the material. That level of
verification is both unattainable and unnecessary. What is needed is
substantial evidence to create high confidence in the authentication

The Hunter Biden documents have at least as much verification as those
other archives that were widely reported. There are sources in the
email chains who have verified that the published emails are accurate.
The archive contains private photos and videos of Hunter whose
authenticity is not in doubt. A former business partner of Hunter has
stated, unequivocally and on the record, that not only are the emails
authentic but they describe events accurately, including proposed
participation by the former Vice President in at least one deal Hunter
and Jim Biden were pursuing in China. And, most importantly of all,
neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign has even suggested, let
alone claimed, that a single email or text is fake.

Why is the failure of the Bidens to claim that these emails are forged
so significant? Because when journalists report on a massive archive,
they know that the most important event in the reporting's
authentication process comes when the subjects of the reporting have
an opportunity to deny that the materials are genuine. Of course that
is what someone would do if major media outlets were preparing to
publish, or in fact were publishing, fabricated or forged materials in
their names; they would say so in order to sow doubt about the
materials if not kill the credibility of the reporting.

The silence of the Bidens may not be dispositive on the question of
the material’s authenticity, but when added to the mountain of other
authentication evidence, it is quite convincing: at least equal to the
authentication evidence in other reporting on similarly large

Second, the oft-repeated claim from news outlets and CIA operatives
that the published emails and texts were “Russian disinformation” was,
from the start, obviously baseless and reckless. No evidence —
literally none — has been presented to suggest involvement by any
Russians in the dissemination of these materials, let alone that it
was part of some official plot by Moscow. As always, anything is
possible — when one does not know for certain what the provenance of
materials is, nothing can be ruled out — but in journalism, evidence
is required before news outlets can validly start blaming some foreign
government for the release of information. And none has ever been
presented. Yet the claim that this was "Russian disinformation" was
published in countless news outlets, television broadcasts, and the
social media accounts of journalists, typically by pointing to the
evidence-free claims of ex-CIA officials.

Worse is the “disinformation” part of the media’s equation. How can
these materials constitute “disinformation” if they are authentic
emails and texts actually sent to and from Hunter Biden? The ease with
which news outlets that are supposed to be skeptical of evidence-free
pronouncements by the intelligence community instead printed their
assertions about "Russian disinformation" is alarming in the extreme.
But they did it because they instinctively wanted to find a reason to
justify ignoring the contents of these emails, so claiming that Russia
was behind it, and that the materials were "disinformation," became
their placeholder until they could figure out what else they should
say to justify ignoring these documents.

Third, the media rush to exonerate Biden on the question of whether he
engaged in corruption vis-a-vis Ukraine and Burisma rested on what
are, at best, factually dubious defenses of the former Vice President.
Much of this controversy centers on Biden's aggressive efforts while
Vice President in late 2015 to force the Ukrainian government to fire
its Chief Prosecutor, Viktor Shokhin, and replace him with someone
acceptable to the U.S., which turned out to be Yuriy Lutsenko. These
events are undisputed by virtue of a video of Biden boasting in front
of an audience of how he flew to Kiev and forced the Ukrainians to
fire Shokhin, upon pain of losing $1 billion in aid.

But two towering questions have long been prompted by these events,
and the recently published emails make them more urgent than ever: 1)
was the firing of the Ukrainian General Prosecutor such a high
priority for Biden as Vice President of the U.S. because of his son's
highly lucrative role on the board of Burisma, and 2) if that was not
the motive, why was it so important for Biden to dictate who the chief
prosecutor of Ukraine was?

The standard answer to the question about Biden's motive -- offered
both by Biden and his media defenders -- is that he, along with the
IMF and EU, wanted Shokhin fired because the U.S. and its allies were
eager to clean up Ukraine, and they viewed Shokhin as insufficiently
vigilant in fighting corruption.

“Biden’s brief was to sweet-talk and jawbone Poroshenko into making
reforms that Ukraine’s Western benefactors wanted to see as,” wrote
the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler in what the Post calls a
“fact-check.” Kessler also endorsed the key defense of Biden: that the
firing of Shokhin was bad for Burima, not good for it. “The United
States viewed [Shokhin] as ineffective and beholden to Poroshenko and
Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchs. In particular, Shokin had failed to
pursue an investigation of the founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky,”
Kessler claims.

But that claim does not even pass the laugh test. The U.S. and its
European allies are not opposed to corruption by their puppet regimes.
They are allies with the most corrupt regimes on the planet, from
Riyadh to Cairo, and always have been. Since when does the U.S. devote
itself to ensuring good government in the nations it is trying to
control? If anything, allowing corruption to flourish has been a key
tool in enabling the U.S. to exert power in other countries and to
open up their markets to U.S. companies.

Beyond that, if increasing prosecutorial independence and
strengthening anti-corruption vigilance were really Biden's goal in
working to demand the firing of the Ukrainian chief prosecutor, why
would the successor to Shokhin, Yuriy Lutsenko, possibly be
acceptable? Lutsenko, after all, had "no legal background as general
prosecutor," was principally known only as a lackey of Ukrainian
President Petro Poroshenko, was forced in 2009 to "resign as interior
minister after being detained by police at Frankfurt airport for being
drunk and disorderly," and "was subsequently jailed for embezzlement
and abuse of office, though his defenders said the sentence was
politically motivated."

Is it remotely convincing to you that Biden would have accepted
someone like Lutsenko if his motive really were to fortify
anti-corruption prosecutions in Ukraine? Yet that's exactly what Biden
did: he personally told Poroshenko that Lutsenko was an acceptable
alternative and promptly released the $1 billion after his appointment
was announced. Whatever Biden's motive was in using his power as U.S.
Vice President to change the prosecutor in Ukraine, his acceptance of
someone like Lutsenko strongly suggests that combatting Ukrainian
corruption was not it.

As for the other claim on which Biden and his media allies have
heavily relied — that firing Shokhin was not a favor for Burisma
because Shokhin was not pursuing any investigations against Burisma —
the evidence does not justify that assertion.

It is true that no evidence, including these new emails, constitute
proof that Biden's motive in demanding Shokhin's termination was to
benefit Burisma. But nothing demonstrates that Shokhin was impeding
investigations into Burisma. Indeed, the New York Times in 2019
published one of the most comprehensive investigations to date of the
claims made in defense of Biden when it comes to Ukraine and the
firing of this prosecutor, and, while noting that "no evidence has
surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help
his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal," this is
what its reporters concluded about Shokhin and Burisma:

    [Biden's] pressure campaign eventually worked. The prosecutor
general, long a target of criticism from other Western nations and
international lenders, was voted out months later by the Ukrainian

    Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr.
Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy
company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of
the fired prosecutor general.

The Times added: "Mr. Shokhin’s office had oversight of investigations
into [Burisma's billionaire founder] Zlochevsky and his businesses,
including Burisma." By contrast, they said, Lutsenko, the replacement
approved by Vice President Biden, "initially continued investigating
Mr. Zlochevsky and Burisma, but cleared him of all charges within 10
months of taking office."

So whether or not it was Biden's intention to confer benefits on
Burisma by demanding Shokhin's firing, it ended up quite favorable for
Burisma given that the utterly inexperienced Lutesenko "cleared
[Burisma's founder] of all charges within 10 months of taking office."

The new comprehensive report from journalist Taibbi on Sunday also
strongly supports the view that there were clear antagonisms between
Shokhin and Burisma, such that firing the Ukrainian prosecutor would
have been beneficial for Burisma. Taibbi, who reported for many years
while based in Russia and remains very well-sourced in the region,

    For all the negative press about Shokhin, there’s no doubt that
there were multiple active cases involving Zlochevsky/Burisma during
his short tenure. This was even once admitted by American reporters,
before it became taboo to describe such cases untethered to words like
“dormant.” Here’s how Ken Vogel at the New York Times put it in May of

    "When Mr. Shokhin became prosecutor general in February 2015, he
inherited several investigations into the company and Mr. Zlochevsky,
including for suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering. Mr.
Shokin also opened an investigation into the granting of lucrative gas
licenses to companies owned by Mr. Zlochevsky when he was the head of
the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources."

    Ukrainian officials I reached this week confirmed that multiple
cases were active during that time.

    “There were different numbers, but from 7 to 14,” says Serhii
Horbatiuk, former head of the special investigations department for
the Prosecutor General’s Office, when asked how many Burisma cases
there were.

    “There may have been two to three episodes combined, and some have
already been closed, so I don't know the exact amount." But, Horbatiuk
insists, there were many cases, most of them technically started under
Yarema, but at least active under Shokin.

    The numbers quoted by Horbatiuk gibe with those offered by more
recent General Prosecutor Rulsan Ryaboshapka, who last year said there
were at one time or another “13 or 14” cases in existence involving
Burisma or Zlochevsky.

Taibbi reviews real-time reporting in both Ukraine and the U.S. to
document several other pending investigations against Burisma and
Zlochevsky that was overseen by the prosecutor whose firing Biden
demanded. He notes that Shokhin himself has repeatedly said he was
pursuing several investigations against Zlochevsky at the time Biden
demanded his firing. In sum, Taibbi concludes, "one can’t say there’s
no evidence of active Burisma cases even during the last days of
Shokin, who says that it was the February, 2016 seizure order [against
Zlochevsky's assets] that got him fired."

And, Taibbi notes, "the story looks even odder when one wonders why
the United States would exercise so much foreign policy muscle to get
Shokin fired, only to allow in a replacement — Yuri Lutsenko — who by
all accounts was a spectacularly bigger failure in the battle against
corruption in general, and Zlochevsky in particular." In sum: "it’s
unquestionable that the cases against Burisma were all closed by
Shokin’s successor, chosen in consultation with Joe Biden, whose son
remained on the board of said company for three more years, earning
upwards of $50,000 per month."

The publicly known facts, augmented by the recent emails, texts and
on-the-record accounts, suggest serious sleaze by Joe Biden’s son
Hunter in trying to peddle his influence with the Vice President for
profit. But they also raise real questions about whether Joe Biden
knew about and even himself engaged in a form of legalized corruption.
Specifically, these newly revealed information suggest Biden was using
his power to benefit his son’s business Ukrainian associates, and
allowing his name to be traded on while Vice President for his son and
brother to pursue business opportunities in China. These are questions
which a minimally healthy press would want answered, not buried —
regardless of how many similar or worse scandals the Trump family has.

But the real scandal that has been proven is not the former Vice
President’s misconduct but that of his supporters and allies in the
U.S. media. As Taibbi’s headline put it: “With the Hunter Biden
Exposé, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than the Actual Story.”

The reality is the U.S. press has been planning for this moment for
four years — cooking up justifications for refusing to report on
newsworthy material that might help Donald Trump get re-elected. One
major factor is the undeniable truth that journalists with national
outlets based in New York, Washington and West Coast cities
overwhelmingly not just favor Joe Biden but are desperate to see
Donald Trump defeated.

It takes an enormous amount of gullibility to believe that any humans
are capable of separating such an intense partisan preference from
their journalistic judgment. Many barely even bother to pretend:
critiques of Joe Biden are often attacked first not by Biden campaign
operatives but by political reporters at national news outlets who
make little secret of their eagerness to help Biden win.

But much of this has to do with the fallout from the 2016 election.
During that campaign, news outlets, including The Intercept, did their
jobs as journalists by reporting on the contents of newsworthy,
authentic documents: namely, the emails published by WikiLeaks from
the John Podesta and DNC inboxes which, among other things, revealed
corruption so severe that it forced the resignation of the top five
officials of the DNC. That the materials were hacked, and that
intelligence agencies were suggesting Russia was responsible, not
negate the newsworthiness of the documents, which is why media outlets
across the country repeatedly reported on their contents.

Nonetheless, journalists have spent four years being attacked as Trump
enablers in their overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal cultural
circles: the cities in which they live are overwhelmingly Democratic,
and their demographic — large-city, college-educated professionals —
has vanishingly little Trump support. A New York Times survey of
campaign data from Monday tells just a part of this story of cultural
insularity and homogeniety:

    Joe Biden has outraised President Trump on the strength of some of
the wealthiest and most educated ZIP codes in the United States,
running up the fund-raising score in cities and suburbs so
resoundingly that he collected more money than Mr. Trump on all but
two days in the last two months....It is not just that much of Mr.
Biden’s strongest support comes overwhelmingly from the two coasts,
which it does.... [U]nder Mr. Trump, Republicans have hemorrhaged
support from white voters with college degrees. In ZIP codes with a
median household income of at least $100,000, Mr. Biden smashed Mr.
Trump in fund-raising, $486 million to only $167 million — accounting
for almost his entire financial edge....One Upper West Side ZIP code —
10024 — accounted for more than $8 million for Mr. Biden, and New York
City in total delivered $85.6 million for him — more than he raised in
every state other than California....

    The median household in the United States was $68,703 in 2019. In
ZIP codes above that level, Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump by $389.1
million. Below that level, Mr. Trump was actually ahead by $53.4

Wanting to avoid a repeat of feeling scorn and shunning in their own
extremely pro-Democratic, anti-Trump circles, national media outlets
have spent four years inventing standards for election-year reporting
on hacked materials that never previously existed and that are utterly
anathema to the core journalistic function. The Washington Post's
Executive Editor Marty Baron, for instance, issued a memo full of
cautions about how Post reporters should, or should not, discuss
hacked materials even if their authenticity is not in doubt.

That a media outlet should even consider refraining from reporting on
materials they know to be authentic and in the public interest because
of questions about their provenance is the opposite of how journalism
has been practiced. In the days before the 2016 election, for
instance, the New York Times received by mail one year of Donald
Trump's tax returns and -- despite having no idea who sent it to them
or how that person obtained it: was is stolen or hacked by a foreign
power? -- the Times reported on its contents.

When asked by NPR why they would report on documents when they do not
know the source let alone the source's motives in providing them,
two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow compellingly explained
what had always been the core principle of journalism: namely, a
journalist only cares about two questions -- (1) are documents
authentic and (2) are they in the public interest? -- but does not
care about what motives a source has in providing the documents or how
they were obtained when deciding whether to reporting them:

    Why NYT's David Barstow does not care who leaked us Trump's tax
return, or what the motivation was. Listen:
    — Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) October 4, 2016

The U.S. media often laments that people have lost faith in its
pronouncements, that they are increasingly viewed as untrustworthy and
that many people view Fake News sites are more reliable than
established news outlets. They are good at complaining about this, but
very bad at asking whether any of their own conduct is responsible for

A media outlet that renounces its core function -- pursuing answers to
relevant questions about powerful people -- is one that deserves to
lose the public's faith and confidence. And that is exactly what the
U.S. media, with some exceptions, attempted to do with this story:
they took the lead not in investigating these documents but in
concocting excuses for why they should be ignored.

As my colleague Lee Fang put it on Sunday: "The partisan double
standards in the media are mind boggling this year, and much of the
supposedly left independent media is just as cowardly and conformist
as the mainstream corporate media. Everyone is reading the room and
acting out of fear." Discussing his story from Sunday, Taibbi summed
up the most important point this way: "The whole point is that the
press loses its way when it cares more about who benefits from
information than whether it's true."

Update 1650ET: In a post with comments disabled, the editors of The
Intercept have responded to Greenwald's decision to leave - writing
"The narrative Glenn presents about his departure is teeming with
distortions and inaccuracies — all of them designed to make him appear
as a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum."

They suggest that Greenwald was "attempting to recycle the dubious
claims of a political campaign — the Trump campaign — and launder them
as journalism."

We assume they're referring to the undisputed contents of the Hunter
Biden laptop, along with evidence from two former Biden associates,
implicating Joe Biden in numerous corrupt acts involving his son

The Intercept includes several low-blows in their response;

"We have the greatest respect for the journalist Glenn Greenwald used to be"

"We have no doubt that Glenn will go on to launch a new media venture
where he will face no collaboration with editors... — such is the era
of Substack and Patreon "

Read it here.

Perhaps allowing divergent opinions would help the beleaguered
outlet's traffic, which appears to have been cut in half over the last
six months.

*  *  *

The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald resigned from the outlet on
Thursday, after 'editors censored an article I wrote this week,
refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Joe
Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all Intercept editors
involved in this effort at suppression.'

    "The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors
censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I
remove all sections critical of Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently
supported by all Intercept editors involved in this effort at
    — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 29, 2020


    3) Given their claims, I'm going to publish -- along with the
censored article -- the emails about it so people can decide for
themselves if it was censored.

    4) I understand TI's editors will slam my journalism as "changed";
I wish they had had the courage to do it before today.
    — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 29, 2020

    5) Like I said in my statement, The Intercept does still have some
great journalists and publishes good things. I hope they can figure
out how to induce some people to read it.

    6) This is the CIA-mimicking paragraph I referenced that I was
shocked to see at The Intercept:
    — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 29, 2020

Greenwald writes at his new home (

    The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and
witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct.
Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media
outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I
refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this
article with any other publication.

    I had no objection to their disagreement with my views of what
this Biden evidence shows: as a last-ditch attempt to avoid being
censored, I encouraged them to air their disagreements with me by
writing their own articles that critique my perspectives and letting
readers decide who is right, the way any confident and healthy media
outlet would. But modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash
it. So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was
the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.

Apparently he's also blocked from publishing the article elsewhere,
though he's "asked my lawyer to get in touch with FLM to discuss how
best to terminate my contract."

What did The Intercept do in response to Greenwald leaving? They're
attempting to raise money off of it!

Greenwald has found support across the political spectrum for his
decision to walk.

    . at ggreenwald and i have disagreed about lots of things over the
years -- he's taken shots at me and vice versa -- but i have always
respected his mind, courage and voice. today, i respect him even more.
    — Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) October 29, 2020

    Much respect for the principled move, Glenn.

    It's been a tragedy to see The Intercept increasingly abandon
adversarial reporting and adopt Democratic orthodoxy, especially in
its international coverage of Washington-appointed bogeymen.

    I look forward to seeing your future work.
    — Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) October 29, 2020

    It's sad that it's come to this. As I've said, I do not always
agree with you, but you are one of very few people who says exactly
what they believe and can be trusted to call things exactly how you
see them without fear or favor. That is rare and vital. I wish you all
the best.
    — Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) October 29, 2020

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