On Monday, Joe Biden's presidential campaign issued a warning to reporters and editors in a circulated memorandum demanding that they debunk claims of corruption against him.
The memo, titled, "The Imperative for Honest Coverage of Trump's Ukraine Conspiracy Theory," dealt specifically with the charge that then-Vice President Biden, as the Obama administration's point man in Ukraine, pushed for a Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired by threatening to withhold aid to the country.
The fired prosecutor, Victor Shokin, was reportedly removed at the same time he was investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board.
It is 'malpractice' not to debunk the claims
According to the Biden campaign, President Trump's impeachment was due in large part to his efforts to spread this theory.
"[Trump's] objective was to pressure the Ukrainian government into spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory: that Vice President Biden engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office," communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote in the memo.
In the memo, Bedingfield cites numerous mainstream news outlets that agree with Biden's version of the story and that discredit the theory that Biden pushed for the firing of the prosecutor to cover up corruption.
Accordingly, she goes on to instruct the media to "state clearly and unambiguously that [such claims of corruption] have been discredited and debunked" during their ongoing impeachment coverage.
To do otherwise would be journalistic "malpractice," she warns.
"It is not sufficient to say the allegations are 'unsubstantiated' or that 'no evidence has emerged to support them.' Not only is there 'no evidence' for Republicans' main argument against the Vice President — there is a mountain of evidence that actively debunks it. And it is malpractice to ignore that truth."
Reporting on the news, The Hill called the Biden campaign memo the "strongest rebuke yet" of corruption allegations against the candidate.
The media falls in line
Despite numerous outlets having reported the claims as false, Republicans and Trump defenders are not so convinced.
In fact, it was Biden himself who added fuel to the theory's flame when he openly bragged on camera about successfully securing Shokin's firing during a meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
"I said, 'I'm telling you, you're not getting the billion dollars.' I said, 'you're not getting the billion.' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: 'I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money.'" Biden recalled.
"Well, son of a bitch," he continued to laughter. "He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."
But, HotAir reported that following the memo's release, already some in the media have agreed to the campaign's imperative.
MSNBC's Heidi Przybla said on air that the campaign's warning is "a preemptive strike against the disinformation that is really at the heart of the president's defense."
"This is a reminder ... that the entire premise of the [president's] argument is debunked. It is not just unsubstantiated," she continued, repeating the talking points.
Another MSNBC reporter, they note, tweeted out the talking points: