Washington Post finally confirms Hunter Biden laptop story

On Wednesday, the Washington Post published two articles confirming key details of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Their inquiry into the matter comes just a year and a half after the existence of the laptop and its contents was first reported by the New York Post, and after the authenticity of the emails found on the laptop had been confirmed by most of the paper’s competitors.

The first of the twin Washington Post articles stated that “two experts confirm the veracity of thousands of emails,” while the second explains how the emails shed light on a lucrative deal with CEFC China Energy that the president’s son helped broker.

A Daily Caller analysis performed by a forensic expert in October 2020 — the same month that the laptop story first broke — came to the same conclusion as the Post close to a year-and-a-half ago. Robert Graham, who has been called a cybersecurity expert by the Washington Post and Associated Press, told the Caller that the emails on the laptop could be verified without much trouble by identifying a “cryptographic signature” in their metadata.

The Post explains its delay in addressing the validity of the emails by noting that “after the New York Post began publishing reports on the contents of the laptop in October 2020, The Washington Post repeatedly asked Giuliani and Republican strategist Stephen K. Bannon for a copy of the data to review before the election, but the requests were rebuffed or ignored.”

Fair enough, they couldn’t independently authenticate the materials before they looked at them, so they must have only just now come into possessing them, right? Nope, they acknowledge having accessed the data taken off the laptop by June 2021. What took the Caller a couple of weeks, took one of the country’s most prestigious papers the better part of a year.

The initial Washington Post piece on the controversy expressed doubt about the veracity of the emails, pointing skeptically to their provenance:

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and his former top adviser Stephen K. Bannon, who have attracted the scrutiny of U.S. authorities for their political dealings in recent months, helped make public private materials purported to belong to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son in an attempt to swing support to the struggling incumbent,” explained the Post, which entitled its summary of the situation: “Three weeks before Election Day, Trump allies go after Hunter — and Joe — Biden.

The paper also fed into the false narrative that the laptop story was part of a Russian disinformation effort — a narrative fed by President Biden, future White House press secretary Jen Psaki, and a number of media sources during the 2020 campaign.

“Several intelligence experts also were skeptical of the report — and the stated origins of the hard drive purported to belong to Biden’s son — saying that it had the characteristics of a carefully planned information operation designed to affect an American election,” reported the Post at the time.

The New York Times confirmed the authenticity of the materials earlier this month, after calling them “unsubstantiated” as recently as this past September, despite established reporting to the contrary from the Caller, CNN, and the New York Post.

In journalism, it’s a nice to be first, but more important be right. While I’m glad to see that the Times and Post have caught up with the rest of us, it seems instructive that the two most recognizable brands in the profession were neither in this important instance.

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