Reported By Michael Gryboski, Mainline Church Editor | Monday, March 28, 2022
A majority of likely voters believe the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop and its contents is “important,” according to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll that also found nearly half believe that efforts to discredit the story impacted the 2020 presidential election.
On Thursday, a Rasmussen poll found that 66% of “likely U.S. voters” said they believe the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop was “important,” including 48% who said they think the story is “very important.” By contrast, 31% of respondents believed the story was not important, including 15% who said they believed it was “not at all important.”
Additionally, Rasmussen found that nearly half of the respondents (48%) said they think that “if the media had fully reported the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election, it’s unlikely Joe Biden would have been elected president.”
For their report, Rasmussen drew from a poll conducted on March 21-22 of 1,000 likely U.S. voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
In October 2020, shortly before the 2020 presidential election, the New York Post published a story that reported Hunter Biden had his father, former Vice President Joe Biden, meet with an executive at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma shortly before the elder Biden pressured officials in Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating the company. To back up its story, the New York Post referenced emails they reviewed that came from the hard drive of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which had been dropped off at a shop in Delaware and later seized by the FBI. A copy of the data was provided by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The laptop also reportedly included embarrassing images and videos of Hunter Biden, as well as details of questionable business dealings Hunter had with communist China.
Many major media outlets gave little to no attention to the story, claiming among other things that they found the source for the emails to be suspect.
National Public Radio’s Kelly McBride argued in a newsletter back in 2020 that there were “many, many red flags in that New York Post investigation” and that the claims of the story “don’t amount to much.”
“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,” wrote McBride.
“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.”
Social media giants like Twitter and Facebook censored posts about the Hunter Biden laptop story in advance of the election, with Twitter going as far as to take down the New York Post’s account for 16 days, claiming that they do not allow hacked material to be tweeted.
“These responses, though they came in a fast-moving and confusing situation, were heavy-handed and arguably ill-judged,” acknowledged Vox in a recent report. “It’s also fair to be skeptical of whether social media companies would have responded so strongly if a Trump family member had been the victim of a suspected hack that October.”
Groups like the conservative fact-checking website NewsBusters argued that mainstream media outlets devoted far too little time to the controversy surrounding the Hunter Biden laptop. Although left-leaning news media largely ignored the story in 2020, more conservative outlets like Fox News devoted considerable time to the story in advance of the election.
Media Matters, a liberal fact-check website, argued at the time that Fox’s focus on the Biden laptop was part of “a massive smear campaign in the final weeks before Election Day.”
“That effort, led by the New York Post and amplified by Fox’s megaphone, has sought to bury Joe Biden with a blizzard of dubious and bad-faith allegations related to his son Hunter Biden’s business interests,” stated Media Matters in October 2020.
Last week, the New York Times ran a piece about ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, saying that the emails from the laptop were likely valid.