GOP's BUT HIS EMAILS Bombshell Fails To Detonate
This is a story about Rudy Giuliani busting in like the Kool-Aid Man and blowing up Donald Trump's last, best chance to ratfuck this election with Hunter Biden's buttery, buttery emails. But at least he kept his chram in his pants this time.
New York Times media columnist Ben Smith reports that Rudy Giuliani wasn't the first one who tried to get a Rupert Murdoch publication to run with Hunter Biden's emails. In early October, MAGA troll Arthur Schwartz invited White House lawyer Eric Hirschman and former deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino to his McLean, Virginia, home to pitch the Wall Street Journal on a story. The team had "a cache of emails detailing Hunter Biden's business activities" and Tony Bobulinski on speakerphone swearing Joe Biden was a silent partner in all his son's business deals.
Note that these emails were not attached to any laptop "abandoned" at a random Delaware computer repair shop. Note also that the younger Biden's emails and photos had been circulating in Ukraine in the fall of 2019, with a price tag of $5 million, according to Time. Giuliani himself passed up on the same stuff in May, deeming it too sketchy, according to Salon. (And when something is too sketchy for Rudy Giuliani ...)
Nonetheless, the GOP brain trust congratulated itself on its foolproof plan to steal another election with an apparently hacked set of emails. Hooray!
Or, perhaps not.
Because while Trump was hyping an "important piece" from the Journal on his opponent's supposed business conflicts, the IRL reporters were actually trying to verify the claims. And they didn't appreciate "Trump's insinuation that we were being teed up to do this hit job," as a source told Ben Smith.
On the eve of the October 22 debate, with no legit media outlet willing to publish their claims, Giuliani and Bobulinski panicked and ran back into the arms of the New York Post and Breitbart. Bobulinski's unverified statement ran in both outlets — hardly an incentive for the Journal to rush to press with what was no longer an exclusive.
"He got spooked about whether they were going to do it or not," Steve Bannon said of Bobulinski. How this desperate move to get his allegations out there before the debate aligns with Bobulinski's insistence that he's "not a political person" is ... unclear.
Bannon, who is evil but not a fool, understood exactly what they'd just pissed away by giving the story to an outlet that had already been throttled for publishing an unverified hitpiece. As Smith points out, back in 2015, Bannon had carefully ensured that the bullshit claims in Peter Schweizer's Clinton Ca$h book would get covered, by slipping early copies to the New York Times and the Washington Post. So he knew what they'd given up by forfeiting the imprimatur of legitimacy conferred by getting their story into a major media outlet.
In Smith's interpretation, the gatekeepers of legacy media are reasserting themselves, no longer allowing the rightwing echo chamber to set the agenda. Which ... okay, he's the media columnist, that's his job. But he excoriates social media platforms for throttling the New York Post story — which, for the record, contained Hunter Biden's phone number, home address, and unpixelated images of his minor children — while failing to acknowledge the very real possibility that America's intelligence agencies told them the story was Russian interference operation. Not for nothing, but Rudy was picked up trying to get his hands on those emails last year in Ukraine, our intel agencies have been working hand-in-glove with social media platforms this cycle, the FBI has had a copy of "Hunter Biden's" hard drive for eleven months now, and shit ton of retired spies say it has all the hallmarks of a Russian interference op.
But if refusing to print uncorroborated allegations based on unverified emails sourced by notorious dirty tricks political operatives whose stated aim is to throw an election is "gate keeping," then FFS, KEEP THE GATES.
In the event, the Journal's opinion page was willing to run with Bobulinski's allegations, but the news side was not.
"Corporate records reviewed by the Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden," journalists Andrew Duehren and James T. Areddy wrote, contradicting their editorial colleague Kimberly Strassel's nutterings. "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."
Womp womp. So much for the GOP's big hack and dump scoop.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.