The New York Times is facing criticism from its oldest rival after quietly reversing its stance on the authenticity of emails found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, mentioning only in passing that the messages were real and not the product of a Russian disinformation campaign.
“Forgive the profanity, but you have got to be sh*tting us,” the New York Post said in an editorial published on Thursday. “First, the New York Times decides more than a year later that Hunter Biden’s business woes are worthy of a story. Then, deep in the piece, in passing, it notes that Hunter’s laptop is legitimate.”
The editorial came in response to an article on Wednesday in which the Times reported about a criminal investigation into the tax filings of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The newspaper said that emails between Hunter Biden and business associates about Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma and other overseas dealings had been “authenticated” by “people familiar” with the messages and the tax probe.
The Times also noted that investigators recovered the emails from “a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop.” The article made no attempt to reconcile the admissions with past claims by the Times that the Post’s bombshell reporting on the laptop trove was “unsubstantiated” and that the Biden emails may have come from a hack of Burisma’s data.
After the Post broke the laptop story in October 2020, exposing alleged influence-peddling by the Biden family just weeks before the US presidential election, the Times helped spearhead efforts by legacy media outlets to dismiss the scoop. Many of those outlets cited a letter by more than 50 former US intelligence officials claiming that the purported scandal was the product of Russian disinformation. Discussion of the issue was censored on social media. The Post was temporarily banned on Twitter.
“Now we’re 16 months away from the 2020 election, Joe Biden’s safely in the White House, and the Times finally decides to report on the news rather than carry the Biden campaign’s water,” the Post said. “And they find that hey, Hunter Biden’s business interests benefited from Joe Biden’s political status to a suspicious degree. Perhaps this is a topic worthy of examination.”
The Post added that “there’s never any shame with these 180s.” It mocked the Times for “willful ignorance” of the laptop’s authenticity and casting doubt on a meeting between then-Vice President Joe Biden and a Burisma official – only to admit the reporting was true more than a year later.
The Times wasn’t alone in quietly acknowledging the veracity of reports that were previously branded propaganda. A reporter at Politico, one of the many outlets that called the Post’s laptop scoop “Russian disinfo,” wrote last September that he had verified the authenticity of several of the key emails in question.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki branded the laptop emails as Russian disinformation both before and after the election, including at least as recently as last September.
Then candidate-Biden used the letter by former intelligence officials to bat down questions about the laptop, saying that the ex-spy chiefs had found the story to be a “Russian plant.”
Some of the emails that are now acknowledged by the Times as authentic were between Hunter Biden and a former business partner, Devon Archer, who was sentenced late last month to more than a year in prison on a federal fraud conviction.