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White House official tries to bully Fox News into retracting stories involving Biden — but the network isn't backing down
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

White House official tries to bully Fox News into retracting stories involving Biden — but the network isn't backing down

The Biden administration is demanding Fox News retract stories involving allegations of Biden family corruption.

White House spokesman Ian Sams sent a letter to Fox News executives alleging the news network has promoted a "false, discredited" allegation of bribery involving President Joe Biden.

Sams is referring to allegations that Alexander Smirnov brought to the FBI years ago — part of a controversial FD-1023 document — claiming Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, $5 million each in 2015 and/or 2016. Last month, special counsel David Weiss secured an indictment against Smirnov, a former FBI confidential human source, for allegedly lying about those claims.

On the simple basis that Weiss has lodged the allegations against Smirnov, Sams complained that Fox News "has taken no steps to retract, correct, or update its reporting."

He wrote:

We feel strongly that all Fox News Digital articles on this topic should at a minimum be updated with editor’s notes informing readers that the source of this allegation has been federally indicted for making it up. We also feel strongly that Fox News Channel television personalities like Hannity and Watters, among others, should inform their viewers on air that they have been sharing a discredited allegation from a source who has been federally indicted for making it up.

There are numerous problems with Sams' claims.

First, in all of the stories that Sams cited, Fox News never reported Smirnov's allegations as substantiated fact. This is an important distinction. Fox News reports on the allegations as exactly that: unproven claims.

Second, Sams purportedly does exactly what he claims Fox News is guilty of doing.

Sams presumes the allegations against Smirnov are true, and thus, he assumes Smirnov's guilt, contrary to the defendant's presumption of innocence. Sams does this by asserting as a fact that the allegations Smirnov brought to the FBI about the Bidens are "false." But Smirnov has not yet seen a jury of his peers, and prosecutors have not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Smirnov lied.

Thus, both Smirnov's claims are allegations and Weiss' claims are allegations — and reporting on mere allegations is not a journalistic transgression.

For its part, Fox News has no plans to comply with Sams' demands, sources told CNN.

In a formal statement, Fox News acknowledged its coverage of Smirnov's allegations and his run-in with Weiss, and the network vowed to continue reporting on it.

"Fox News Media has reported on all key developments since the announcement that Alexander Smirnov was charged with lying to the FBI, featuring the story prominently," the statement said. "We will continue to report on developments in all aspects of the ongoing investigations, hearings, and trials."

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Chris Enloe

Chris Enloe

Staff Writer

Chris is a staff writer for Blaze News. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can reach him at cenloe@blazemedia.com.
@chrisenloe →