NPR managing editor Terence Samuels acknowledged Thursday that the news outlet has not been reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop story because the editorial staff there doesn't want to "waste" readers' time on what they consider "pure distractions."
What are the details?
On Thursday, NPR's Samuels explained to readers that the Hunter Biden laptop story is a waste of their time and they don't need to look into it.
"We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners' and readers' time on stories that are just pure distractions," Samuels said. "And quite frankly, that's where we ended up, this was ... a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way."
Why haven't you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post's Hunter Biden story? Read more in this week's newslett… https://t.co/qmNWngA9cJ— NPR Public Editor (@NPR Public Editor) 1603376100.0
His response was included in NPR's Public Editor newsletter, written by Poynter's Kelly McBride.
In the newsletter, McBride included a question from a reader, who asked, "Someone please explain why NPR has apparently not reported on the Joe Biden, Hunter Biden story in the last week or so that Joe did know about Hunter's business connections in Europe that Joe had previously denied having knowledge?"
In response, McBride wrote:
There are many, many red flags in that New York Post investigation. NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik detailed most of them here. Intelligence officials warn that Russia has been working overtime to keep the story of Hunter Biden in the spotlight. Even if Russia can't be positively connected to this information, the story of how Trump associates Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani came into a copy of this computer hard drive has not been verified and seems suspect. And if that story could be verified, the NY Post did no forensic work to convince consumers that the emails and photos that are the basis for their report have not been altered.
"But," she continued before quoting Samuels, "the biggest reason you haven't heard much on NPR about the Post story is that the assertions don't amount to much."
What's the background?
Since the controversy hit the internet last week, it has been treated as unwelcome, to say the least, in left-wing media circles.
Perhaps the greatest example of this occurred the very same day the New York Post published their "smoking gun" email report about former Vice President Joe Biden's alleged meeting with a top Burisma executive, when Facebook and Twitter censored the story before fact-checking it.
Since then, the story has received comparatively little coverage among left-leaning publications, especially when contrasted to the coverage granted to reports such as the New York Times' publication of President Trump's tax returns.
While the reason for this is obvious to most — the news outlets would prefer not to report on a story that could be damaging to their preferred candidate — few have come out and said as much. NPR at least acknowledged the obvious.
Shortly after the story broke, Democratic lawmakers and former intelligence officials began parroting the narrative that the story was part of a Russian disinformation campaign, but that claim has been repudiated by current Justice Department and intelligence officials.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe rejected the claim Monday, saying there is "no intelligence" supporting it. Then on Tuesday, the Department of Justice and the FBI confirmed his assessment.