Social media users attacked Washington Post writers Philip Bump and Glenn Kessler on Monday for defending their 2020 denial of Hunter Biden’s laptop story, claiming they were “not given access” to the information.
Bump made the comment by retweeting political scientist Don Moynihan’s response to Elon Musk’s declaration that the New York Times is a “lobbying firm for far-left politicians.”
Moynihan, quoted by the Sunday New York Times, said the publication did not receive copies of the Twitter files upon request, commenting: “Musk and others complain about journalism, but the media want to repeat their claims without verification or context. So much for publicity.”
Bump: “That’s also the main reason the other stores didn’t follow up on the original NY Post laptop story: They weren’t given access to the laptop data!”
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Post fact-checker Kessler later agreed that the actual reporting by The Washington Post on the subject did not occur until he obtained a copy of the hard drive.
“It wasn’t until mid-2021 that the source provided a copy of the hard drive to The Washington Post. Then my colleagues immediately went to work on it. We hired experts to evaluate the truth and prepared articles based on verifiable material,” he wrote. Kessler. .
The Washington Post did not publish its report on the authentication of Hunter Biden’s laptop until March 30, 2022.
A number of Twitter users criticized its approach to journalism, particularly the Washington Post, which often publishes stories without independent verification.
“That’s such a retcon. I’ve never heard an excuse like that before today,” exclaimed podcaster Noam Bloom.
Pluribus editor Jeryl Bier tweeted: “Ok, but … ‘The Washington Post has not independently verified …'” and an image covering the Washington Post’s allegations against Herschel Walker, which it failed to verify.
“The interesting new journalistic standard is to share information only if you’ve seen the facts yourself, otherwise you shouldn’t talk about it. Cable news would be shut down and Philip Bump would be out of a job.” ..” tweeted Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer.
Townhall.com columnist Brad Slager wrote: “Such a wrong turn that @pbump himself denied it. Phil, if you didn’t report it, you wouldn’t have access, why would you?” you put forward a Russian disinformation angle in the story. There was ZERO proof of that? You had no access to evidence that didn’t exist.”
On September 27, 2021, Slager included a screenshot of a Fox News story in Bump’s column calling the laptop scandal a “conspiracy theory”.
Others argued that journalists should immediately share access to their exclusive primary sources with competitors.
“I had no idea the Washington Post had turned over all the information and sources to other newspapers,” Federalist senior editor David Harsanyi tweeted.
Substack writer Shant Mesrobian wrote: “It’s incredible to watch these people constantly come up with fake new rules. Trades are always reporting stories that are broken by other sources without having access to the source material. Also other public the news media also covered the story: They: They spread lies about Russian disinformation being hacked.
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Although the Washington Post reported on the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020, multiple reports, including an “explanation” by Kessler himself, have included suggestions that the incident was part of a “disinformation campaign” ahead of the election. takes
“While trying to find information about Juliane Hunter Biden and Ukraine, she has been in regular communication with a Ukrainian lawmaker who was recently sanctioned by the US Treasury Department as an “active agent of Russia for more than a decade” and engaged in influence peddling. could affect the 2020 election. These interactions have led to fears that the emails may be part of a larger disinformation campaign,” Kessler wrote in 2020.
Kessler also appeared to debunk the story in a tweet two months later. “During the final weeks of the campaign, Trump repeatedly praised the NY Post for publishing content from the laptop,” Kessler wrote.
The claim of “Russian disinformation” was repeated by the mainstream media, although there was no evidence to support it at the time.
Bump said in a Post analysis Monday that the Hunter Biden story, despite being suppressed by Twitter, will not affect the 2020 presidential election.
“That’s not how politics works. There were not only some versions of this argument, but also some denials of it. There was no reason for undecided voters, acting in good faith, to think that the above presentation was true at the time of the election. And this there was no reason to think that if they had been looking for information about the election, they would not have heard some version of it,” Bump wrote.