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FLASHBACK: Russia conspiracy theorists deny Hunter Biden story

'This whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin'

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Yudi Sherman

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Yudi Sherman

Writer and Reporter

Shining a spotlight on media and government disinformation.

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December 04, 2022

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11:48 AM

FLASHBACK: Russia conspiracy theorists deny Hunter Biden story

New Twitter owner Elon Musk Friday pulled the trigger on releasing the company’s internal communications surrounding its censorship of a bombshell story by the New York Post about the Biden family’s corruption. 

The internal communications reveal that Twitter employees were censoring posts and users prior to the 2020 presidential election at the behest of Biden’s team. These included the Biden corruption scandal based on information found on Hunter Biden’s laptop and users who shared the story, even in private messages. When then-White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany shared the story, for example, Twitter employees booted her from the platform. 

While the mainstream media have since admitted the New York Post story is true, Democratic operatives flooded news outlets and social media with conspiracy theories that the story was concocted by the Kremlin. A statement signed by 51 former intelligence officers falsely claiming that the story was Russian disinformation was even published by Left-wing Politico to further the claim.   

Indeed, anyone who did believe the story was mocked and vilified. 

Now we look back at the coordinated campaign to protect the Biden family in the run-up to the presidential election. 

In October 2020, just after the story broke, NPR openly refused to report the Hunter Biden story, and explained why: 

“Why haven’t you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story?” the outlet tweeted, answering, “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.” 

MSNBC’s Joy Reid called the story a “Russian hatchet job.” 

“Good for Joe Biden,” she tweeted after Biden called the story a “smear campaign.” “No need to dignify a Russian hatchet-job strained through [Rudy Giuliani’s] utter brokenness with a response. We’re not doing ‘emails’ again, America. 18 days...just vote and ignore the nonsense. 18 days.” 

Democratic officials insisted the story was a Russian conspiracy plot. 

“This whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) told CNN. 

“[Republicans have] got their hands full this week spreading Russian disinformation and jamming through another right wing Supreme Court justice,” tweeted Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). 

“Joe Biden – and all of us – SHOULD be furious that media outlets are spreading what is very likely Russian propaganda. Here’s the intel. The mainstreaming of misinformation is Russia’s 2020 goal,” wrote Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). 

“Giuliani and the New York Post Are Pushing Russian Disinformation. It’s a Big Test for the Media,” wrote debunked news blog Mother Jones. 

Commenting on the article, former CIA officer Evan McMullin wrote, “An excellent piece by [David Dorn] breaking down the obvious Russian disinformation pushed by the [New York Post] today to damage Biden and help Trump.” 

Other tweets compiled by Drew Holden show former Obama official Ben Rhodes incessantly attacking the story and anyone who so much as asked about it. 

“It still disgusts me that any reporter’s response to that garbage Russian disinformation in the New York Post was to ask the Biden campaign for comment on the ‘allegations.’ Have we learned nothing?” 

Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul cited Twitter’s censorship as proof that the story was false. 

“’Story’? That’s not the right word to describe a hit piece so false Twitter won’t even post it? Reminds me of when I was U.S. Ambassador to Russia and Russian trolls used to ask about the ‘pedophile’ video about me. By discussing disinformation, you legitimize and amplify it,” McFaul tweeted. 

Journalist Kurt Eichenwald became so hysterical over the story he began attacking CBS reporter Bo Erickson’s wife after Erickson asked questions about the story. 

“Let’s see – a story every decent reporter knows based on facts is ridiculous and almost certainly a russian disinformation attacking Biden’s son who isn’t running. Bo – I read online that your wife is running a child trafficking ring. Any response? See how that works?” tweeted Eichenwald. 

In an interview with President Trump during the 2020 race, CBS News 60 Minutes anchor Leslie Stahl mocked Trump for believing the Post’s story and said it was “discredited”. 

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