Years ago, journalists unhappy that their ideas drew no interest from their bosses were known to complain that "news is what happens to an editor’s wife."
The view is outdated, but the fundamental point remains intact. News gathering is not science, and judgments about which stories get covered are driven by the interests, experiences and prejudices of the people in charge of media organizations.
Americans intuitively understand this as technology creates more options for them. The fact that, on any given day, competing outlets highlight different stories and even draw different conclusions from the same facts reflect the personal element involved.
In many cases, those differences are admirable, but not always, and certainly were not admirable when The Post stood virtually alone a year ago. On this, its first anniversary, the Hunter Biden saga remains an outrageous scandal for two reasons.
One for what it revealed about how Joe Biden’s brothers and surviving son got big payments domestically and from foreign governments and nationals for years while he held public office. The laptop that Hunter abandoned at a Delaware repair shop was bursting with emails and messages revealing a sordid pattern of deals with oligarchs, Chinese Communists and thugs that brought the family tens of millions of dollars.
Moreover, the laptop contained compelling evidence that contradicted Joe’s risible claim he never discussed his son’s businesses with him. In fact, there was correspondence showing Joe aided Hunter by meeting with his foreign associates.
The second scandal is that many Americans are still unaware of the Biden deals and Joe’s involvement because of the embargo by major outlets. That embargo, which largely continues today, revealed the coordinated corruption of Big Media and Big Tech.
Rather than do their own work on The Post reports, the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and others tried either to ignore the stories or knock them down. Without a shred of evidence, they swallowed whole the Biden campaign claim of "Russian disinformation" and were aided and abetted when Twitter, Facebook and YouTube blacked out The Post’s reports.
This was not an honest case of differing judgments about the laptop’s contents. This was a shared decision to protect Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign.
It was not journalism. It was propaganda.
And it was no coincidence that the same outlets and tech giants that breathlessly promoted the Russia, Russia, Russia fiction about Donald Trump ignored the Biden scandal. Just as they pushed the Russia collusion story long past any credibility because they hated Trump, their devotion to a Biden victory overwhelmed their stated obligations to follow the news, regardless of party or prejudice.
The Times, for example, won a Pulitzer for its reporting on the Russia story, which turned out to be a dirty trick concocted by Hillary Clinton and weaponized by the Obama-Biden administration. As such, it was a "Scoop" worthy of the Evelyn Waugh novel of the same name.
Yet the Times has never admitted its Russia error or turned its reporters loose to reveal the truth of the Clinton role and that of the Obama-Biden White House.
Nor has it exhibited much curiosity about the full extent of the Biden family’s foreign entanglements and whether the president of the United States has been compromised by secret deals. This lack of curiosity comes despite the fact that Tony Bobulinski, the former naval officer who was the CEO of the Bidens’ joint venture with a Chinese conglomerate, has said publicly that Joe was the "big guy" set to receive a secret 10 percent stake in the venture.
He told the same thing and more to the FBI, which has had Hunter Biden’s laptop for two years. Where are the leaks about the investigation? Where are the investigative reporters uncovering hidden details?
The possible implications of the Biden family connection are astounding — and dangerous. With China emerging as America’s most potent and determined adversary, the mere possibility that our president is not free to protect America’s interests because Chinese Communists know all the details of his entanglements and might release them if provoked is unprecedented.
Indeed, we have far more evidence that Biden is compromised by China than we ever had that Trump was compromised by Russia. Yet the Clinton claims of collusion dominated the media for nearly three years and led to a special counsel probe before coming up empty.
In that case, one might reasonably ask, where is The Post’s Pulitzer Prize for its Hunter Biden coverage? The stories were exclusive and documented, and included the key context of how the paper got possession of the laptop’s contents.
Most important, the reports were true and the Bidens no longer bother to say otherwise. Yet not a single large organization, outside of Fox News, is pursuing the story.
One result is that Hunter continues his brazen scams. His "art" sales for astronomical sums would have led to impeachment if a Trump child did that.
The question about a Post Pulitzer is partly in jest because the paper never submitted its stories for consideration. And there is something in The Post’s renegade spirit that recalls a Groucho Marx line that "I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member."
Make no mistake, the Pulitzer is a club, with membership controlled by — you guessed it — the Times and other big organizations on the left.
The Times and Washington Post often take home a disproportionate share of the 14 journalism awards, and their executives usually play an outsize role in distributing the others as final deciders.
That’s not to deny the large media groups do some excellent work that would be deserving of recognition under any system, and the Pulitzers are no more or less political than the Oscars or Nobel Prizes.
Still, having been both a Pulitzer recipient and a juror, I saw that a conformity of style, structure and topics were rewarded. After reading the projects submitted to the investigative category one year, I remarked to a fellow juror that they all read as if they were written by the Times.
In effect, they were. Since the Times wins so many Pulitzers, other applicants seem to have decided that imitating the Gray Lady would increase their chances. It’s also a fact that many reporters toiling elsewhere hope to work for the Times, and writing the way the Times does might help them land a job.
The fatal flaw in this thinking is that journalism is not supposed to be about conformity. The best reporters, columnists and editors I have known are nonconformists who follow the story wherever it leads. They are fair yet relentless about giving the customer the facts.
Unfortunately, that kind of journalism is fading, with even supposedly straight news reporting becoming infected with ideology and politics.
Which is why much of America remains in the dark about the scandalous profiteering of the Biden family.