It was reporting from the New York Post that created the firestorm of allegations and revelations regarding the Biden family, shady foreign business dealings, and potential influence peddling that have been ravaging the media landscape for nearly two weeks.
After they broke the story on Oct. 14, the impact was intense. First there was the effect on the election, as we watched the Biden/Harris campaign as well as the Biden family try to completely ignore the story as it kept breaking, day after day, with fresh controversy. Joe Biden was more willing to talk about milkshake flavours than his family's alleged misdeeds.
Social media clamped-down, stifling circulation and refusing to allow users of their platforms to share the stories. Twitter went so far as to ban the Post from Twitter until it agreed to delete their original six tweets that shared their stories on the site. Twelve days later the Twitter account of the oldest, continuously publishing newspaper in the country is still locked out of Twitter.
Third was the ripple out across media, with conservative-leaning outlets, including this one, running multiple stories about the Post's coverage, while other outlets uncovered even more information in the form of emails and documents from Hunter Biden's former business associates.
After that we saw the complete refusal of left-leaning media to cover the story at all. The Washington Post and The New York Times covered the story only to say that the Post did shoddy work, but nothing these two heavy-hitters uncovered could refute the story. NPR claimed it was a non-story, not even worth covering, although clearly they thought their refusal to cover the story was worth reporting.
The Wall Street Journal ran a story that stated: "All of this is news... It raises real concerns about what security risks Hunter might pose for a Biden administration. And it raises questions about Joe Biden’s involvement." Shortly thereafter, their news side ran a dueling story that claimed "Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden."
And still the Bidens remain silent.
The Post Millennial spoke with Kelly Jane Torrance, a member of the New York Post's editorial board, to find out more about their reporting, and the aftermath of the Hunter Biden laptop drop.
TPM: How long did you have the laptop before publishing?
Torrance: We heard about it a while ago but we finally got possession of it on the Sunday before we published, and we published on Wednesday.
TPM: Did you know that it would result in total madness?
Torrance: They kept pretty quiet, they were looking into it, checking everything out, but it was pretty quiet beforehand, the higher ups were talking about it.
TPM: The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that there were issues about the byline, and tried to use this to discredit the reporting, were you aware of that?
Torrance: It's different now because there's so few people in the office, we weren't all part of that conversation. But when the story came out, everyone on my team thought this was huge, this was really big. Joe Biden had said he'd never talked to Hunter about his overseas deals, and he was always so angry about it whenever he was asked about it, and it seemed so clear from what was reported that this was not a true statement.
TPM: What did you make of the Wall Street Journal story that some are saying discredits the Post's reporting?
Torrance: The crucial fact is that neither Hunter or Joe has denied the veracity of any of the emails, neither Biden has said that it was not Hunter's laptop, it seems clear to me that if this was all made up they would have said that he never sent those emails and that it's not his laptop and they didn't know where it came from. And I find it mind boggling that so many journalists are bending over backwards to say its fake news when neither Biden has denied the veracity of what our reporting has shown.
TPM: Why do you think journalists and editors are doing that?
Torrance: It seems pretty clear that this information is embarrassing to Joe Biden. And I'm not saying that it means he shouldn't be president—voters have to make up their own minds as to what they think of it and whether or not they still trust Joe Biden.
The fact that so many journalists are trying to discredit the story, but in some cases even trying to bury it in a way, and saying that it's not a story—and I'm thinking here of NPR—I think it's clear that most journalists are on the left and they really want to see Joe Biden win this election. The fact that so many journalists say they're objective and "telling it like it is," shows that there's some disingenuousness there, and the same thing with social media of course.
To me, given what's going on with social media and with journalists, I don't think there can be any question now that big tech and big media are in the tank for Joe Biden. It's really disappointing that so many journalists think it's acceptable to keep Americans from reading our reporting and deciding for themselves what it means.
TPM: What do you make of the claims from media outlets that the laptop is a Russian disinformation hoax?
Torrance: The Russian disinformation claims are just ridiculous, I've never gone in with journalists being obsessed with Russia, but DNI Ratcliffe has said that's not true, and Hunter has not denied that it's his laptop. The talk about Russian disinformation fuels itself really, in a way.
The Steele dossier was not the only thing that led the FBI to open the Russia investigation, but it was part of it. The stuff in there was used to get warrants to surveil carter page, and we now know that the main subscource for that was basically gossip that people were coming up with, there's no evidence that any of it turns out to be true. The Inspector General has chided the FBI for relying on material where there was never any evidence to back it up, material that didn't come from trusted sources.
TPM: We watched social media companies censor and suppress the Post in real time, and it was shocking. How did that all go down at the Post?
Torrance: I was outraged when I discovered that Facebook and Twitter were determined to suppress our reporting and I still am, and my colleagues still are. Yes, they're private companies but that doesn't mean we shouldn't' call them out on their bad behaviour. Again, neither Biden has denied the story.
Twitter said the material we reported on came from hacking, but there's no evidence that it was hacked, and neither Biden claimed it was hacked. We detailed in the story how we got the laptop. Here's what happened: Hunter Biden apparently dropped off a laptop for repair. The agreement the repair shop has with its customers is that the repair shop takes possession of the item if it isn't picked up in 90 days.
TPM: The censorship became as big a story as the allegations.
Torrance: Yes. What amazed me was that Andy Stone of Facebook was actually bragging on Twitter about suppressing the posts! Alot of people have worried that teech and social media companies want to to censor posts and opinions that they don't like and now they're actually bragging about it. The other thing is that they're claiming that this material might have been obtained without consent, which wasn't the case. We were very public about how we got this information.
But every day big newspapers in America publish stories, some of which only have anonymous sources leaking information particularly about the Trump administration. And it was so disappointing that so many journalists were cheering big tech suppression—And these are the same journalists that publish with anonymous sources.
TPM: Do you think there's an anti-conservative bias in social media companies?
Torrance: I do think that the leaders of social media companies have been clear about their politics, and I think and we're seeing more and more evidence of the politics of the people who work there.
TPM: Why did twitter say the material the Post reported on was hacked?
Torrance: I think they were coming up with reasons after the fact. They didn't want this story being spread and they were trying to come up with reasons to block it. Again they can do what they want but we can point to their hypocrisy.
TPM: Is the Post is still locked out.
Torrance: The Post's Twitter is locked until we delete six tweets of the stories, stories that other people are now allowed to share. It sort of shows how what they're doing makes absolutely no sense.
TPM: Has there been an impact on the Post due to the suppression?
Torrance: Our traffic for the stories has been great, and when someone tries to suppress something, it makes people more interested and readers went to look for it themselves.
Other media outlets were reporting on the suppression so people heard it there, and they came to us. Other outlets were reporting on the stories and the suppression and those stories were allowed but twitter was not allowing our stories to be shared.
TPM: After the Post broke the story, there was a waterfall of information that emerged, and other outlets, like Breitbart, OANN, Fox News went after new material that backed up the Post.
Torrance: It's great that people are following our lead and after seeing our reporting looking into it themselves. One funny thing about this is that Bobulinski came out and sent a long statement to the Post in response to the Post's reporting being called Russian disinformation. He found it offensive that our reporting was being said to have come simply from the Russians and been made up. He received one of those emails, the one about the China deal, and confirmed it and provided more details. So in a way this spectacularly backfires on Democrats and their allies in the media because it was their attempts to discredit our reporting that really provoked Bobulinski to come forward.
TPM: NPR said the story wasn't worth reporting, what would you say to that?
Torrance: That was shocking and it was outrageous, and the tone they took was incredible. For people who say that the media is elitist and out of touch that's exhibit A. Their idea that they decide what's a story— their tone was incredible. They think it's up to them what's a story and what's not and what's important for people to read and not read before making their vote.
Of course every media outlet has to decide what to publish and what not to, we have limited numbers of pages and reporters, but the idea that they didn't like this story and found it embarrassing for Joe Biden, they thought it wasn't worth their time but hilariously thought it was worth their time to tell people that it wasn't a story says something about whether this is a story or not.
TPM: Rudy Giuliani said that he turned a copy of the hard drive over to the Delaware State Police after discovering content of an illicit nature involving Hunter Biden and underage girls. Why didn't the Post didn't report on that?
Torrance: We made reference to some things that were on the laptop. We noted that there was a video of Hunter Biden smoking crack while engaging in a sex act. We did release some pictures, no naked pictures or people having sex, but just to indicate that this is on the laptop, and to say that it is his laptop.