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Fox News Is Covering Hunter Biden Claims More Than 2016 WikiLeaks Emails

27.10.2020 5:29

A month before the 2016 presidential election, WikiLeaks released hacked emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman.Last week, The New York Post published an article featuring emails from a laptop purportedly owned by Hunter Biden, son of the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. The emails, about business dealings in Ukraine, have not been independently verified.So how did cable news treat these two caches, which were both aimed at Democratic candidates during the heights of their presidential campaigns?The answer: Fox News is giving more airtime to the unverified Hunter Biden emails than it did to the hacked emails from Podesta in 2016, according to an analysis from the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, which studies disinformation.While Fox News' mentions of the word "WikiLeaks" took up a peak of 198 seconds in one day in mid-October 2016, the news channel's references to "Hunter" reached 273 seconds one day last week, according to the analysis. Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.In contrast, most viewers of CNN and MSNBC would not have heard much about the unconfirmed Hunter Biden emails, according to the analysis. CNN's mentions of "Hunter" peaked at 20 seconds and MSNBC's at 24 seconds one day last week.CNN and MSNBC covered the WikiLeaks disclosures more, according to the study. Mentions of "WikiLeaks" peaked at 121 seconds on CNN in one day in October 2016 and 90 seconds on MSNBC in one day in the same period."In 2016, the WikiLeaks releases were a gigantic story, covered across the political spectrum," said Emerson Brooking, a resident fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab, who worked on the report. "In 2020, the Hunter Biden leaks are a WikiLeaks-sized event crammed into one angry, intensely partisan corner" of cable news television.As for online news outlets, 85% of the 1,000 most popular articles about the Hunter Biden emails were by right-leaning sites, according to the analysis. Those articles, which were shared 28 million times, came from The New York Post, Fox Business, Fox News and The Washington Times, among other outlets. The researchers did not have a comparative analysis for the WikiLeaks revelations.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

Trump Had One Last Story to Sell. The Wall Street Journal Wouldn't Buy It.

27.10.2020 5:29

By early October, even people inside the White House believed President Donald Trump's reelection campaign needed a desperate rescue mission. So three men allied with the president gathered at a house in McLean, Virginia, to launch one.The host was Arthur Schwartz, a New York public relations man close to Trump's eldest son, Donald Jr. The guests were a White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann, and a former deputy White House counsel, Stefan Passantino, according to two people familiar with the meeting.Herschmann knew the subject matter they were there to discuss. He had represented Trump during the impeachment trial early this year, and he tried to deflect allegations against the president in part by pointing to Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine. More recently, he has been working on the White House payroll with a hazy portfolio, listed as "a senior adviser to the president," and remains close to Jared Kushner.The three had pinned their hopes for reelecting the president on a fourth guest, a straight-shooting Wall Street Journal White House reporter named Michael Bender. They delivered the goods to him there: a cache of emails detailing Hunter Biden's business activities, and, on speaker phone, a former business partner of Hunter Biden's named Tony Bobulinski. Bobulinski was willing to go on the record in The Journal with an explosive claim: that Joe Biden, the former vice president, had been aware of, and profited from, his son's activities. The Trump team left believing that The Journal would blow the thing open and their excitement was conveyed to the president.The Journal had seemed to be the perfect outlet for a story the Trump advisers believed could sink Biden's candidacy. Its small-c conservatism in reporting means the work of its news pages carries credibility across the industry. And its readership leans further right than other big news outlets. Its Washington bureau chief, Paul Beckett, recently remarked at a virtual gathering of Journal reporters and editors that while he knows that the paper often delivers unwelcome news to the many Trump supporters who read it, The Journal should protect its unique position of being trusted across the political spectrum, two people familiar with the remarks said.As the Trump team waited with excited anticipation for a Journal expose, the newspaper did its due diligence: Bender and Beckett handed the story off to a well-regarded China correspondent, James Areddy, and a Capitol Hill reporter who had followed the Hunter Biden story, Andrew Duehren. Areddy interviewed Bobulinski. They began drafting an article.Then things got messy. Without warning his notional allies, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now a lawyer for Trump, burst onto the scene with the tabloid version of the McLean crew's carefully laid plot. Giuliani delivered a cache of documents of questionable provenance -- but containing some of the same emails -- to The New York Post, a sister publication to The Journal in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Giuliani had been working with the former Trump aide Steve Bannon, who also began leaking some of the emails to favored right-wing outlets. Giuliani's complicated claim that the emails came from a laptop Hunter Biden had abandoned, and his refusal to let some reporters examine the laptop, cast a pall over the story -- as did The Post's reporting, which alleged but could not prove that Joe Biden had been involved in his son's activities.While the Trump team was clearly jumpy, editors in The Journal's Washington bureau were wrestling with a central question: Could the documents, or Bobulinski, prove that Joe Biden was involved in his son's lobbying? Or was this yet another story of the younger Biden trading on his family's name -- a perfectly good theme, but not a new one or one that needed urgently to be revealed before the election.Trump and his allies expected the Journal story to appear Monday, Oct. 19, according to Bannon. That would be late in the campaign, but not too late -- and could shape that week's news cycle heading into the crucial final debate last Thursday. An "important piece" in The Journal would be coming soon, Trump told aides on a conference call that day.His comment was not appreciated inside The Journal."The editors didn't like Trump's insinuation that we were being teed up to do this hit job," a Journal reporter who wasn't directly involved in the story told me. But the reporters continued to work on the draft as the Thursday debate approached, indifferent to the White House's frantic timeline.Finally, Bobulinski got tired of waiting."He got spooked about whether they were going to do it or not," Bannon said.At 7:35 Wednesday evening, Bobulinski emailed an on-the-record, 684-word statement making his case to a range of news outlets. Breitbart News published it in full. He appeared the next day in Nashville, Tennessee, to attend the debate as Trump's surprise guest, and less than two hours before the debate was to begin, he read a six-minute statement to the press, detailing his allegations that the former vice president had involvement in his son's business dealings.When Trump stepped on stage, the president acted as though the details of the emails and the allegations were common knowledge. "You're the big man, I think. I don't know, maybe you're not," he told Biden at some point, a reference to an ambiguous sentence from the documents.As the debate ended, The Wall Street Journal published a brief item, just the stub of Areddy and Duehren's reporting. The core of it was that Bobulinski had failed to prove the central claim. "Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden," The Journal reported.Asked about The Journal's handling of the story, the editor-in-chief, Matt Murray, said the paper did not discuss its newsgathering. "Our rigorous and trusted journalism speaks for itself," Murray said in an emailed statement.And if you'd been watching the debate, but hadn't been obsessively watching Fox News or reading Breitbart, you would have had no idea what Trump was talking about. The story the Trump team hoped would upend the campaign was fading fast.The Gatekeepers ReturnThe McLean group's failed attempt to sway the election is partly just another story revealing the chaotic, threadbare quality of the Trump operation -- a far cry from the coordinated "disinformation" machinery feared by liberals.But it's also about a larger shift in the American media, one in which the gatekeepers appear to have returned after a long absence.It has been a disorienting couple of decades, after all. It all began when The Drudge Report, Gawker and the blogs started telling you what stodgy old newspapers and television networks wouldn't. Then social media brought floods of content pouring over the old barricades.By 2015, the old gatekeepers had entered a kind of crisis of confidence, believing they couldn't control the online news cycle any better than King Canute could control the tides. Television networks all but let Donald Trump take over as executive producer that summer and fall. In October 2016, Julian Assange and James Comey seemed to drive the news cycle more than the major news organizations. Many figures in old media and new bought into the idea that in the new world, readers would find the information they wanted to read -- and therefore, decisions by editors and producers, about whether to cover something and how much attention to give it, didn't mean much.But the past two weeks have proved the opposite: that the old gatekeepers, like The Journal, can still control the agenda. It turns out there is a big difference between WikiLeaks and establishment media coverage of WikiLeaks, a difference between a Trump tweet and an article about it, even between an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal suggesting Joe Biden had done bad things, and a news article that didn't reach that conclusion.Perhaps the most influential media document of the past four years is a chart by a co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, Yochai Benkler. The study showed that a dense new right-wing media sphere had emerged -- and that the mainstream news "revolved around the agenda that the right-wing media sphere set."Bannon had known this, too. He described his strategy as "anchor left, pivot right," and even as he ran Breitbart News, he worked to place attacks on Hillary Clinton in mainstream outlets. The validating power of those outlets was clear when The New York Times and Washington Post were given early access in the spring of 2015 to the book "Clinton Cash," an investigation of the Clinton family's blurring of business, philanthropic and political interests by writer Peter Schweizer.Schweizer is still around this cycle. But you won't find his work in mainstream outlets. He's over on Breitbart, with a couple of Hunter Biden stories this month.And the fact that Bobulinski emerged not in the pages of the widely respected Journal but in a statement to Breitbart was essentially Bannon's nightmare, and Benkler's fondest wish. And a broad array of mainstream outlets, unpersuaded that Hunter Biden's doings tie directly to the former vice president, have largely kept the story off their front pages, and confined to skeptical explanations of what Trump and his allies are claiming about his opponent."SO USA TODAY DIDN'T WANT TO RUN MY HUNTER BIDEN COLUMN THIS WEEK," conservative writer Glenn Reynolds complained Oct. 20, posting the article instead to his blog. Trump himself hit a wall when he tried to push the Hunter Biden narrative onto CBS News."This is '60 Minutes,' and we can't put on things we can't verify," Lesley Stahl told him. Trump then did more or less the same thing as Reynolds, posting a video of his side of the interview to his own blog, Facebook.The media's control over information, of course, is not as total as it used to be. The people who own printing presses and broadcast towers can't actually stop you from reading leaked emails or unproven theories about Joe Biden's knowledge of his son's business. But what Benkler's research showed was that the elite outlets' ability to set the agenda endured in spite of social media.We should have known it, of course. Many of our readers, screaming about headlines on Twitter, did. And Trump knew it all along -- one way to read his endless attacks on the establishment media is as an expression of obsession, a form of love. This week, you can hear howls of betrayal from people who have for years said the legacy media was both utterly biased and totally irrelevant."For years, we've respected and even revered the sanctified position of the free press," wrote Dana Loesch, a right-wing commentator not particularly known for her reverence of legacy media, expressing frustration that the Biden story was not getting attention. "Now that free press points its digital pen at your throat when you question their preferences."On the Other Side of the GateThere's something amusing -- even a bit flattering -- in such earnest protestations from a right-wing movement rooted in efforts to discredit the independent media. And this reassertion of control over information is what you've seen many journalists call for in recent years. At its best, it can also close the political landscape to a trendy new form of dirty tricks, as in France in 2017, where the media largely ignored a last-minute dump of hacked emails from President Emmanuel Macron's campaign just before a legally mandated blackout period.But I admit that I feel deep ambivalence about this revenge of the gatekeepers. I spent my career, before arriving at The Times in March, on the other side of the gate, lobbing information past it to a very online audience who I presumed had already seen the leak or the rumor, and seeing my job as helping to guide that audience through the thicket, not to close their eyes to it. "The media's new and unfamiliar job is to provide a framework for understanding the wild, unvetted, and incredibly intoxicating information that its audience will inevitably see -- not to ignore it," my colleague John Herrman (also now at The Times) and I wrote in 2013. In 2017, I made the decision to publish the unverified "Steele dossier," in part on the grounds that gatekeepers were looking at it and influenced by it, but keeping it from their audience.This fall, top media and tech executives were bracing to refight the last war -- a foreign-backed hack-and-leak operation like WikiLeaks seeking to influence the election's outcome. It was that hyper-vigilance that led Twitter to block links to The New York Post's article about Hunter Biden -- a frighteningly disproportionate response to a story that other news organizations were handling with care. The schemes of Herschmann, Passantino and Schwartz weren't exactly WikiLeaks. But the special nervousness that many outlets, including this one, feel about the provenance of the Hunter Biden emails is, in many ways, the legacy of the WikiLeaks experience.I'd prefer to put my faith in Murray and careful, professional journalists like him than in the social platforms' product managers and executives. And I hope Americans relieved that the gatekeepers are reasserting themselves will also pay attention to who gets that power, and how centralized it is, and root for new voices to correct and challenge them.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

Putin Says Nothing Criminal In Hunter Biden's Ukraine Work

26.10.2020 19:22

Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly disagreed with President Trump's debate claims about Hunter Biden. President Trump has blasted Democratic opponent Joe Biden for his son's alleged unethical ties in the region. Joe Biden has dismissed them as false.

From: www.newsy.com

Russian leader Putin rejects Trump’s claims about Hunter Biden

26.10.2020 11:24

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he saw nothing criminal in Hunter Biden's past business ties with Ukraine or Russia, marking out his disagreement with one of Trump's attack lines in the U.S. presidential campaign.

From: news.yahoo.com

Putin rejects Donald Trump's criticism of Biden family business

26.10.2020 8:58

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he saw nothing criminal in Hunter Biden's past business ties with Ukraine or Russia.

From: www.aol.com

Grassoots volunteers rally voters in swing-state of Ohio

26.10.2020 7:39

CINCINNATI (AP) — Something changed in Yana Duke this year. She came to the U.S. as a youth from Ukraine, had never been involved in politics before. But during the 2020 campaign season, she felt she had to do something. “What I’m afraid is coming to this country is what I’m running away from,” she [...]

Tags: UK, Ohio, Ukraine
From: www.seattletimes.com

Putin pours cold water on Trump's Hunter Biden hopes

26.10.2020 7:29

If President Trump were looking for a little last-minute boost from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Putin had nothing for him on Sunday. In televised remarks on state TV, Putin "took the time to knock down what he made clear he regarded as false allegations from Trump about the Bidens," Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Reuters reports. Putin said Trump's story about Hunter Biden getting money from the widow of a former Moscow mayor was news to him, even though Trump tried to tie Putin to the alleged payment.In Ukraine, Putin said, Hunter Biden "had or maybe still has a business, I don't know. It doesn't concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians." And regarding the money Hunter Biden made working for a Ukrainian company, he added, "I don't see anything criminal about this, at least we don't know anything about this (being criminal)."U.S. intelligence has determined that Russia is secretly working to boost Trump and damage Biden in the 2020 race, much as Russian intelligence boosted Trump and damaged Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. But with Biden leading substantially in the polls, Russian state TV has started mocking Trump as Putin's poodle while Putin has started saying a few positive things about Biden. Biden isn't reciprocating, telling 60 Minutes on Sunday's broadcast that Russia is America's biggest threat but China is its top adversary.> Which country is the biggest threat to America?> > Russia, says Joe Biden. But China is our biggest competitor. https://t.co/itlQnd75E0 pic.twitter.com/9YHlYTvxR8> > — 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 26, 2020Trump's Hunter Biden allegations are probably too little, too late, and too tame anyway, even if they were true, anti-Trump GOP strategist Mike Madrid tells Politico. "Whatever October surprise or whatever money he's got, he needed to spend yesterday," he said. "He's got a bigger time problem than a money problem and he's got a huge money problem. It's time. He's running out of time."More stories from theweek.com Trump loses on the merits Who won the final 2020 debate? Call it a draw. Get ready for Trump TV, America

[Ticker] Europe's Jewish population continues decline

26.10.2020 2:18

The number of Jewish people in Europe has gone down by 60 percent in the past 50 years, mostly due to an exodus from the former Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991, a new study by London-based think-tank the Institute for Jewish Policy Research has said. Populations drooped drastically in Russia and Ukraine, but increased in Austria, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. Some 70,000 Israeli-born Jews have also moved to Europe.

From: euobserver.com

Ukraine's local elections test leader and his young party

25.10.2020 3:23

Ukrainians were voting Sunday in local elections that are considered a test for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian who took office last year vowing to bring peace, uproot endemic corruption and shore up a worsening economy. Zelenskiy was elected president by a landslide in April 2019 after campaigning on promises to end fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in the country's east. Despite his lack of prior political experience, he quickly cemented his grip on power by calling a parliamentary election that resulted in his party winning a strong majority.

From: news.yahoo.com

Election Meddling Is a 100-Year Russian Tradition

25.10.2020 1:25

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As one may have predicted four years ago, the final weeks of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign have unfolded amid a flurry of accusations about a hostile power undermining American democracy. What one was less likely to predict was that this nemesis would be not Russia but Silicon Valley. So, amid the controversy over Facebook, Twitter and a heretofore obscure section of federal communications law, has Russian President Vladimir Putin chosen to let American democracy undermine itself? Not likely. The U.S. and Russia (FKA the Soviet Union) have a century-long tradition of seeking geopolitical advantage through electoral meddling around the globe. And no matter which candidate is victorious on Nov. 3 — or, alas, some days or weeks after — that rivalry is going to continue.This week I sought guidance on the past and future of this competition from David Shimer, author of “Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference.” Shimer is also a global fellow at the Wilson Center and an associate fellow at Yale University. Here is a lightly edited transcript:Tobin Harshaw: When the full extent of the Russian manipulation of social media became clear after 2016, everybody was looking ahead at how to stop it in 2020. But you chose to look backward first. What gave you that insight?David Shimer: I was alarmed, frankly, that so many commentators were treating Russia’s 2016 operation as entirely unprecedented. I knew enough about Soviet history to know that Putin was not the first leader in the Kremlin to target a foreign election, and I believed — and still believe — that it would be to America’s benefit to use that history both to understand what Russia achieved in 2016 and to map out how to defend our elections in November and beyond. So I decided, as you said, to look backward. I spent years examining CIA, KGB and East German Stasi files, and interviewing more than 130 officials, including eight former CIA directors. The result, which is “Rigged,” restores history to the subject of covert electoral interference: How the Soviet Union interfered in foreign elections during the interwar period, how the CIA and the KGB went toe-to-toe in elections around the world during the Cold War, and how Putin’s Russia is again interfering in elections on a global basis today. Only then, with this instructive and fascinating history in the backdrop, do I examine Russian interference in America’s 2016 election and provide policy recommendations for the future. TH: Timothy Snyder, whose “On Tyranny” adorns every self-respecting liberal’s bookshelf these days, was your mentor. What wisdom did he pass along that proved most helpful in writing the book?DS: I can never thank Professor Snyder enough. He has ingrained in me the idea that it’s not just possible but essential to write books that fuse the past with the present. It’s an idea that underpins his teaching at Yale, where I was his student and advisee.As for “Rigged,” when Knopf took on my book project — and gave me five and a half months to complete it — Professor Snyder remained my intellectual guide. In that period of time, he and I would meet in his office every few days, and we would talk through whatever part of my book I was drafting and the historical arc I was seeking to restore. He’s an astonishingly generous mentor and friend. TH: You tracked down the former Soviet spymaster Oleg Kalugin and seem to have had an enjoyable chat. Old spooks are the best spooks. His goal during the Cold War, he said, was to “provide money and support to people who we thought would be friendly and would change the foreign and domestic policies of their countries.” Do you see today’s manipulation of social media as a continuation of those efforts, or something entirely new for a technological age unimaginable to the Soviets?DS: Definitely the former. Every aspect of Russia’s interference in 2016 had roots in the past. Take what Russia was after: To sow discord, advantage one candidate, and damage another. That’s exactly what the Soviet Union did in various U.S. elections during the Cold War. Each of Russia’s tactics also marked a direct continuation of past practices. First, Russia targeted our actual election infrastructure. Well, in the immediate postwar period, Joseph Stalin and his collaborators manipulated election systems across Eastern Europe, and Putin’s Russia has more recently sabotaged election systems in countries like Ukraine. Second, Russia stole and released the private correspondence of public figures in the form of sensitive emails. This is yet another long-running idea: In the 1976 U.S. election, for instance, the KGB leaked private — and false — information about Senator Henry Jackson, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, to try to undermine his campaign. And third, Russia used fake social media accounts to carry out familiar moves: to spread disinformation, scare some voters, target other voters, inflame racial tensions, turn out key voting groups, and suppress other voting groups. The KGB, using pre-digital means, ran each of those plays during the Cold War, in elections around the world. So in 2016, Russia absolutely broke new ground, in using the Internet to manipulate an American election at scale; but the ideas behind its operation were consistent with past practices and can be used to help us anticipate what Putin will do in the final stretch.TH: During the 2016 campaign, Trump infamously encouraged hacking and other measures against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Do you think that emboldened the Russians, or were they already prepared to do what they did?DS: I can’t say whether Trump’s public rhetoric affected Russian policymaking, although Russian intelligence did escalate its hacking attempts just after the remarks you’re referencing. But what history does make clear is that America’s leaders should be defending against rather than soliciting foreign interference in our elections. This is not a partisan issue. In 1960 and 1968, the Soviet Union targeted the campaigns of Richard Nixon, a Republican. In 1976 and 1984, the Soviet Union targeted the campaigns of Ronald Reagan, a Republican. Now, Russia is seeking to help a Republican, but the purpose of these operations is to advance Russia’s objectives, which are to choose our leaders for us, to sabotage our democratic processes, and to undermine the viability of the democratic model in the eyes of the world — and that should offend and alarm all Americans, regardless of their party loyalties. TH: At the end of the book, you list 10 historical lessons that could guide future U.S. leaders in protecting against foreign interference. We don’t have time to discuss them all. But perhaps you could choose one you find particularly vital right now, and if learned, what would be the immediate steps to take?DS: The lesson that comes to mind is that pre-existing societal divisions present opportunities for interfering actors. The more polarized a democracy, the more vulnerable it is to foreign subversion. Russia is tearing at fissures that already exist, so to protect itself, America should be renewing itself at home and abroad.Domestically, that means securing our infrastructure, mitigating the effectiveness of influence operations, and investing in core priorities like education and health care, which will in turn fortify our democracy. And abroad, that means working with our allies to detect and deter covert operations to interfere in our electoral processes. If we can do both of those things at once, we’ll make long-lasting progress in securing our elections.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tobin Harshaw is an editor and writer on national security and military affairs for Bloomberg Opinion. He was an editor with the op-ed page of the New York Times and the paper’s letters editor.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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