The Washington Post Makes Last Plea to Keep the Laptop "Conspiracy Theory" Alive

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - 02:20 AM

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Across the media, journalists have recognized that the Hunter Biden laptop is authentic and, as established early by American intelligence agencies, not “Russian disinformation.” With the authentication of the laptop in the Delaware trial as “real” and untampered, most media has chosen to walk away with a slightly embarrassed shrug. Not the Washington Post. Its columnist, Philip Bump, was one of the most prominent purveyors of what the U.S. government now calls a “conspiracy theory.” This week, Bump ran another column to assure liberals that they were right all along about the laptop story.

In 2021, when media organizations were finally admitting that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Bump continued to suggest that “the laptop was seeded by Russian intelligence.”

After Bump had a meltdown in an interview when confronted over past false claims, I wrote a column about the litany of such false claims, including the laptop conspiracy theory.

The Post surprised many of us by issuing a statement that they stood by all of Bump’s reporting, including the laptop conspiracy theory. That was in August 2023.

Well, Bump is back.

In his column, Bump takes after various people calling the media to account for burying this story before and after the election, including myself.

In hitting Sean Hannity for a recent segment, Bump makes a common evasion among laptop deniers:

“One is that he is conflating the laptop presented as evidence at the trial, the one obtained by the FBI in 2019, with the ‘laptop’ that was the source of the New York Post story.”

For those of us who have covered the laptop since the story ran at the New York Post, it is as maddening as it is mendacious.

At the time of the story, some of us noted that the contents of the laptop could be confirmed since these emails and messages involved third parties. Some quickly confirmed the contents as authentic. The Bidens had long been accused of influence peddling and special dealing off of Joe Biden’s positions as senator, vice president, and president.

Moreover, as the media was referencing the debunked letter of former intelligence officials on this possible likely Russian disinformation, American intelligence quickly confirmed that there was no such evidence to support that claim.

The media ignored the actual intelligence agencies in favor of former intelligence officials who were organized by Biden campaign operatives to release the letter. Biden then cited the letter to refuse to answer questions about his son’s influence peddling and unlawful conduct.

Bump and others used the question over whether the laptop was an authentic copy or a tampered copy to avoid any serious investigation into the underlying emails. Many simply threw up their hands and said “oh well, what can we do.” To this day, the media has shown little interest in the influence peddling operation. Few people seriously argue that the media would have shown the same limited response if these emails tied Trump children to millions in foreign influence peddling schemes.

But Bump was not done:

After Hannity lamented the media’s silence on the so-called “critical development,” Turley offered a theory for why that silence had ensued.

‘If the laptop is authentic, if those files are real,’ he said, “then you have these detailed accounts of a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling operation run by the Biden family. Those would also be authentic. But the media just simply doesn’t want to go there.’

Except that we already know that many of those files were real, because we got access to them and verified them. The reason the media ‘doesn’t want to go there’ on breathless claims about a ‘Biden family’ influence-peddling operation is that the material doesn’t prove any such operation. It shows — as has by now been exhaustively explained — work done by Hunter Biden and his Uncle James that involved lots of money but did not demonstrably involve President Biden. The entire point of the House Republican impeachment effort has been to prove Joe Biden’s involvement; they have been unable to do so.”

Once again, Bump makes it sound like the Post vigorously and quickly verified the laptop. The belated acknowledgement did not come much later. It was not until March 2022 that the Post finally admitted that the laptop was real, but then did comparably little to pursue the corruption and other unlawful conduct detailed on the laptop.

Washington Post columnist Thomas Rid probably was the most honest when he wrote the quiet part out loud by telling the media: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.”

This may explain why the Post’s publisher recently dropped a truth bomb on his writers by telling them “let’s not sugarcoat it…We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People are not reading your stuff. Right. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore.”

Yet, it is Bump who is insisting this week that it is Fox News (the most watched cable news network) that is being tuned out in his column titled “The right takes a Biden-laptop victory lap around an empty arena.”

In deflecting questions about the coverage of the Biden corruption scandal, Bump simply ignores witness testimony that has proven that President Biden lied about having no knowledge of his son’s foreign dealings and met with his clients both in person and over the phone. More importantly, he ignores that this was a massive influence peddling operation where President Biden was the object. He was the “brand” being sold.

Influence peddling is a form of political corruption that the government continues to denounce worldwide. The fact that millions went to Biden family members rather than the President does not change the fact that this was one of the largest influence peddling operations in history. Just this week, even Politico stated the obvious that seems to escape Bump on this elaborate Biden operation involving not just family but close associates of the President. As I explained in my testimony in the Biden impeachment hearing, federal courts have repeatedly stated that it does not matter if a principal received money as opposed to family members. It can still constitute bribery and other offenses.

In the end, Bump continues to express frustration with those who would question his conclusions, as he did in his interview when confronted by a host asking about disproven claims. Bump exploded at the hubris of the interviewer and declared that he is all the proof that the interviewer should need on such issues: “I’m sitting here and I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen.”