In a dream world, liberal reporters would like to beat Republican candidates with a scandal shovel and pretend there are no Democrat scandals. Bring them up? Then you’re guilty of “whataboutism.”
New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker penned a Thursday “news analysis” downplaying the corruption accusations against President Biden and his son Hunter, while denigrating Republicans and conservative media for daring to suggest the cases were in any way comparable. The headline: “In the Court of Public Opinion, Trump Relies on a Whataboutism Defense.”
Baker led off in full snark mode, playing up Trump’s issues and playing down Biden’s, like a good Democrat. It doesn’t matter whether the indictments or lawsuits will end up victorious. Just Democrats pressing them equals victory.’
Former President Donald J. Trump now faces 87 felony counts in three different criminal cases, not to mention a slew of civil lawsuits and trials alleging all sorts of wrongdoing. At least in the court of public opinion, though, his defense can be boiled down to three words.
What about Hunter?
From Mr. Trump’s team to conservative media to the Republican Party leadership, the reaction to the latest blockbuster indictment accusing the former president of nothing short of trying to subvert democracy focused not on the evidence against him so much as the foibles and scandals of President Biden’s son.
Republicans don’t just face indictments, but a series of “blockbuster indictments.” So don’t try to compare!
The wave of whataboutism from Trump world crested with this week’s indictment but has been building for months, a way of shifting attention from the former president’s kaleidoscopic legal troubles….
Never mind that Hunter Biden was not and is not seeking to be the president of the United States and that no hard evidence has emerged indicating that his father used his office improperly. Never mind that Mr. Trump’s family has intertwined personal business and public life for years. Or that the worst accusations against Hunter Biden, even if true, are hardly comparable to a plot by a sitting president to overturn an election and hold onto power.
That “special treatment” charge was strengthened by a judge’s shocking rejection of Hunter’s initial plea deal, an event that made the paper’s lead story slot less than two weeks ago, but one Baker didn’t even mention.
The Republican National Committee took whataboutism to the next level on Tuesday night by posting on social media a 24-minute video of Democrats like Hillary Clinton calling Mr. Trump an illegitimate president whose 2016 election was tainted by, among other things, Russian interference. What the video does not say is that the outgoing Democratic administration of President Barack Obama and Mr. Biden made no effort to stop Mr. Trump from taking office, unlike the concerted campaign Mr. Trump waged to block the peaceful transfer of power four years later.
Liberal reporters have so much chutzpah they suggest a Republican political video shouldn’t leave out things that make Democrats look good.
After a single paragraph admitting that “even some Democrats are privately critical of” Hunter for having “traded on his family name in private business,” Baker gave out reassurances to his paper’s liberal readership from a dubious source.
“The problem that they’re running into is we’re talking about apples and oranges in terms of the conduct that is at issue,” said Representative Dan Goldman, Democrat of New York, who served as lead counsel for House Democrats during the first Trump impeachment….
The Times (and other outlets) relying on Goldman looks ridiculous after the release of the actual hearings transcript, as the Washington Free Beacon noticed:
That narrative was based on Rep. Dan. Goldman’s (D., N.Y.) account of Archer’s congressional testimony, which took place behind closed doors. Just one problem: Archer never even said “illusion of access” during the hearing. Goldman did, and Archer pushed back.