- Thursday, September 14, 2023

The news media are going full Philip Bump. They should never go full Philip Bump.

He, of course, is the journalist at The Washington Post who recently expressed his desire to remain ignorant of any information that could alter his view of the world. As a guest on Noam Dworman’s “Comedy Cellar” podcast, he repeatedly refused to accept evidence that connects President Biden to his family’s lucrative influence-peddling schemes.

Asked about a text message from the president’s son Hunter to his adult daughter that said, “I have to give 50% of my income to Pop,” Mr. Bump seemed utterly uncurious.

“I have no idea what that means,” he said.

The host pressed. “Has anybody asked her?”

“I don’t know,” Mr. Bump answered.

“Don’t you think somebody should ask her?” Mr. Dworman continued.

“I just said I don’t know, and I don’t know what to make of it, so I have nothing else to say about it,” Mr. Bump proclaimed. “What do you want me to say?”

How about what any good journalist would say: “Maybe we should look into that.”

But Mr. Bump didn’t say that; he ended the interview and walked out.

This is effectively what most media have been doing since House Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched an impeachment inquiry into allegations that the Biden family made millions selling access to the elder Mr. Biden and that the now-president actively participated and benefited.

It should be pointed out that an inquiry is just what it sounds like — an effort to ask questions and find facts. But the media are not only demanding that the case be fully formed already, they’re also preemptively declaring that there is no case.

The Associated Press authored a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that was breathtakingly dishonest in defending the Bidens. Republicans are “claiming without evidence that they engaged in an influence-peddling scheme,” they wrote.

There’s that phrase again — “without evidence” — that the media love to toss in when they’re attacking Republicans or defending Democrats. It’s how they give themselves permission to be as deliberately oblivious to reality as their colleague Mr. Bump.

You see, once they’ve declared that there’s no evidence, they can safely ignore any information to the contrary. It’s what they did with Hunter’s laptop in 2020, gladly clinging to the Biden-created myth that it was a Russian plant.

But consider what we already know to be true.

Hunter Biden was paid enormously by wealthy foreigners who work in businesses in which he has no expertise.

A former business partner, Devon Archer, testified to Congress that selling access to Joe Biden is the family “brand.”

As vice president, Joe Biden joined his son in meetings with these business clients, either in person or by phone, numerous times.

Hunter claimed he was forced to give his father half of his money, and we know that the two of them commingled their finances by sharing bank accounts.

At least nine Biden family members, including a grandchild, received a total of about $20 million from these foreign sources.

And along the way, Mr. Biden, his 2020 campaign apparatus, and now his administration flunkies have told a series of evolving lies about the old man’s knowledge of and participation in the racket.

So this week. the Biden White House did that thing that only Democratic White Houses can do, and they issued a memo giving the news media their orders.

“It’s time for the media to ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening an impeachment inquiry based on lies,” the memo declared.

Politico’s Heidi Przybyla, who is described as a national investigations reporter, regurgitated much of the memo in a lengthy series of posts on X. There is no need to investigate anything when the White House is effectively your editor, I suppose.

Oliver Darcy, who in his role at CNN is one of the more prominent adjunct White House staffers, immediately obeyed his orders.

Mr. Darcy wrote that Republicans “have long sought to baselessly portray Biden as a corrupt, crime-ridden politician engaged in sinister activities.”

He also scolded some of his media colleagues, who, in Mr. Darcy’s view, “have also often failed to robustly call out the mis- and disinformation peddled by Republicans.”

This is quite a reversal from the Trump years, when the media fell for every phony accusation, including the Steele dossier, the two-year Russia collusion hoax, and two purely political impeachments.

Now, President Biden could stand in a lake, and the media would claim there’s no proof that he’s wet.

And that’s where we are today: With media that don’t see any evidence against the sitting president because they don’t want to.

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist and the vice president for communication strategy at National Public Affairs.

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