Joe Biden is doing damage control. His tool of choice: a tell-all article in a major magazine. The difficult writerly task at hand: to reveal all of black sheep Hunter Biden's closeted skeletons...while transforming him into a sympathetic character.
One week ago, The New Yorker website published an interview/exposé titled, "Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father's Campaign?" It hits newsstands today. Filled with softball interview questions and flimsy conclusions about the many scandals surrounding Hunter, the piece is a reply to what author Adam Entous claims is the undue attention of the right wing press: "But news outlets on the right...have homed in on [Hunter], reprising old controversies..."
Old controversies? Hunter's slew of scandals is laid out like a trail of crack rocks leading from Norfolk, VA to Beijing, China, with lots of stops in-between. Wrecked cars, hallucinated barn owls, broken homes, 10 failed rehab attempts, taking a homeless woman for a roommate, ibogaine treatment in Tijuana, and two geopolitical scandals that directly or indirectly involve his presidential candidate father...almost all within the last five years. Controversies, yes. Old, no.
The article is clearly a let's get in front of this thing attempt by Joe Biden to save his campaign from death by a thousand familial cuts.
Here's the New Yorker's bio for Entous. Hired two years ago, he previously worked at the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. His primary focus at all three outlets has been Middle Eastern politics.
So why was he tasked with this rescue job? For one, he's a "national security writer" who "shared a Pulitzer Prize and a special Polk Award for stories that led to the firing of President Trump’s first national security adviser...and to the appointment of a special prosecutor [Robert Mueller] to investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 Presidential election."
To wit: Biden's latest water carrier was instrumental in mounting an attempted coup on a sitting president, based on a dossier paid for by his Democratic opponents. Entous had proven he could sell an implausible idea, so he was asked to simultaneously expose Hunter's trespasses and sell him as a victim of fate and circumstance to the august readership of The New Yorker.
The piece delivers on the trespasses part--it uncovers a lot of new material. As for victimhood, Entous coddles his subject, employs some biographical trickery, and leaves weird details blowing in the wind. The rub here is that Hunter is deserving of our sympathy, for like his father, his has been a life marred by tragedy, from the age of one, when he lost his mother and sister, to 2015, when he lost his brother, Beau. But that doesn't forgive him his lengthy list of sins, several of which Entous tries to dismiss with spurious reasoning.
This is how the left apologizes.
First, Entous seeks to dismiss Peter Schweizer's Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, which details Biden and Hunter's missteps in seeking financial gain for Hunter via his father's political clout while on trips to Ukraine and China, by quoting officials from Hunter's own investment company, BHR. It's the equivalent of saying Hillary Clinton's missing emails are no big deal because a source named Huma said so.
Schweizer, the author of the New York Times bestseller and 2015 bombshell Clinton Cash, is a journalist of the old school. He uncovers big stories and sources impeccably. What's more, he has a team of researchers at his command. Entous tries again to tar Schweizer by yelling Steve Bannon! in a crowded lefty theater. Yes, Bannon helped to found the watchdog Government Accountability Institute that Schweizer runs. So what? Without evidence to refute Schweizer, Entous is reduced to invoking the scariest name he can think of short of "Trump."
The New Yorker piece continues in this deceptive vein when it comes to Schweizer's allegations that a) Hunter held private meetings with Chinese businessmen during his trip with his father on Air Force 2, and b) that Hunter hasn't received a payment from his $1.5 billion Chinese deal (a dollar amount Entous omits). Entous denies a) and confirms b) based on the journalistic standard that Hunter, the subject of his scrutiny, "said so."
Entous also wraps up the Uranium One/Burisma scandal with a neat bow by quoting a New York Times writer who claims "there's no credible evidence" to support the idea that Joe Biden got Viktor Shokin--Ukraine’s former prosecutor general--fired. Shokin was allegedly investigating Burisma and the legality of its payments to Hunter and Archer.
As noted in an earlier CD Media article about Joe Biden's racism, the devil is in the details. Patterns of similar behaviors, such as coded language to demean opponents, end up convicting the accused more than any specific detail. So it is with Hunter. In a life filled with misdeeds, attempts to explain them away as one-offs fail in the strong light of their striking similarities.
Hunter started smoking crack in college. This stunning revelation comes early in the article, softened by Hunter's admission that he didn't know how to smoke it because he didn't have a "stem," as he says, apparently a slang term for crack pipe, so he tried putting it in his cigarette. At any rate, years later, when he failed a drug test in the Naval Reserve, he claimed it was because he bummed a cigarette from some "South African" men outside a bar on his way to Norfolk that turned out to be laced with cocaine. Finally, during a relapse in 2016, Hunter claims he "used cocaine that a stranger offered him in the bathroom."
The pattern of lies around cocaine/crack use emerges: a link between cigarettes and cocaine is established from his first use, when he tried to put crack in his cigarette ("It didn't have much of an effect," he said) is oddly similar to some strangers bumming him coke-laced cigarettes (in this case, the effect was massive, requiring brother Beau to make an emergency trip to sort Hunter out just prior to the first day of his Naval Reserve minicamp).
The other pattern here is that of strangers giving him cocaine, first the South African fellows, then the stranger in a bathroom. Conventional wisdom tells us that people aren't in the habit of giving away expensive drugs to strangers unless they have a sexual motive. Lying about drugs is one thing, but to do so in a confessional interview makes everything else he claims seem suspicious, and so much of it already is.
Hunter's counsel decided not to fight the results of his urine test with the Naval Reserve, because, fittingly, his pattern of drug use would make the panel "unlikely to believe the story that he had ingested cocaine involuntarily."
Hunter has managed to make a lot of friends in his life, from his two primary business partners (Abercrombie & Fitch model Devon Archer and ketchup heir Christopher Heinz), to oligarchs in Ukraine and China, to his homeless friend Bicycles, to Baby Down the Samoan.
The last two are folks Hunter met on the way down. Hunter claims to have invited a homeless woman known as "Bicycles" to live with him, and Baby Down was someone who took pity on Biden and helped him on his way the day of his car crash that led to further charges of crack use.
Characters like these in a politically-motivated apology piece like Entous' serve three purposes:
Bicycles and Baby Down end up as the story around the water cooler, drowning out Hunter's depravity. They are two of the most memorable parts of what would otherwise be a deeply damning tale. When Hunter a) gives leftover cigarette-run money to Bicycles, and b) gives her shelter in his apartment on a rainy night, letting her stay for months, it distracts us from yet another of his relapses. That Baby Down befriends him, takes him out for burgers and drops him at a rental car agency demonstrates that Hunter is likable to even the oddest of people, and takes the reader's mind off of the fact that Hunter crashed the rental because he was high on crack. Again.
Finally, the brevity of their appearance in the story interrupt the arc of Hunter's 10 visits to rehabilitation centers in places like Antigua, Big Sur, and Sedona, sometimes followed by week-long ski trips, and 12-step yoga retreats and luxury recovery spas.
This is not to say that the two characters are figments of either Hunter's imagination or Entous' embellishment, but it is convenient that they are homeless and signified only by nicknames, and as a result, are unreachable to verify their parts in the story.
During a LAX layover at an airport bar on his way to rehab, Hunter claims to have realized he left his wallet on the plane, so he booked a hotel room with a credit card.
Let's break that down: in a bar on the way to rehab--seems consistent with Hunter so far--he realized he left his wallet on the plane, but for some reason he doesn't keep his credit cards in his wallet, which contained the drivers license he would have needed to board the next flight. It's the kind of distracting, hard to believe stuff that usually precedes a Hunter episode, and sure enough, he decides to stay in LA for a week and buy some crack.
It's an excellent example of the kind of nonsense brimming in the New Yorker story. Speaking of which, ever since the Harvey Weinstein story by Ronan Farrow distracted the nation from the momentum of the much larger and darker story of child trafficking and ritual sexual abuse in Hollywood, The New Yorker has been taking big journalistic chances defending the left. It's worth noting that such an American journalistic avatar is willing to visibly participate in leftist narrative control.
Kathleen refused to comment for Entous, a consistent position since their split.
Entous lays it on thick when it comes to humanizing Hunter. Upon mention of his brother Beau's funeral, Hunter is lauded for delivering a eulogy despite his fear of public speaking. One can see the gears turning in Entous' head: everyone hates public speaking, this ought to resonate!
Entous writes that Hunter relapsed in 2013 "after he suffered from a bout of shingles, for which he was prescribed painkillers. When the prescription ran out, he resumed drinking." Of course, calling the doctor for a refill was out of the question. Besides, pills are really bad for one's health.
It is breathlessly reported that Hunter offered to give "everything" to Hunter's first wife, Kathleen Biden. At first blush it sounds generous, magnanimous even. After a few moments of reflection, it sounds like desperation, even a bribe.
One pities Kathleen Biden. Hers is the only story that jibes with what we know to be fact. The indignity of losing Hunter time and again--to drugs, to prostitutes, then to dear friend and sister-in-law Hallie, and finally to a new quickie-ceremony wife, is a heavy price to pay after raising their family while Hunter jetted around the world to business meetings and rehab spas.
Next, in a subtle jab, Entous whines of the Hallie-Hunter affair, "The [New York] Post ran the story under the headline 'Beau Biden’s Widow Having Affair With His Married Brother.'” What's the objection to this statement of fact? Is Entous offended by the headline's brevity, its diction, or the fact that appeared in a $1 broadsheet, and not in the erudite pages of The New Yorker? Two years at the magazine and he's an effete snob.
Finally, Entous shares the details of Joe Biden's touching phone call with Hunter's latest wife, Melissa Cohen, a woman he's never met, following a wedding he wasn't invited to. Biden mustered the diplomacy to utter, "Thank you for giving my son the courage to love again." If he were a more of a father to Hunter and less of an enabler, Biden would have hung up without saying a word. After sixteen years of fruitless indulgence, maybe it's time for some tough love. Hunter has had the courage to love again...and again...and again. What he needs is the courage to grow up.
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