Last week’s New York Post story on Joe Biden and his son Hunter, pushed by Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani, had all the marks of a Russian disinfo campaign meant to engender some sort of October surprise for Donald Trump’s campaign, so much that it might as well have been postmarked from the Kremlin and signed “From Vladimir, with love.” That it’s largely fallen flat, aside from its embrace by MAGA idiots, is partly a sign of how obvious the motivations behind the story are—supposedly incriminating emails revealed in October, where have we seen that before!—as well as a sign of how clear it’s been for months that Giuliani has been eagerly pushing claims against the Bidens stemming from Russian agents.
And the story of how it made its way to the pages of the Post is equally illuminating. On Sunday, the New York Times reported a truly wild tale that shed light on how this story made its way from Bannon and Giuliani to the pages of the Post, revealing that not only was it clearly pushed by the paper’s top editors against the wishes of many of the Post’s reporters, none of the tabloid’s reporters wanted their name on the story, which ultimately ended up with a double byline. The cherry on top? According to the Times, one reporter whose name did end up attached to the story had no idea she would be listed as one of its authors, and the other woman who was credited with writing the story is a former Fox News shill who loved to post photos of herself with discredited luminaries like Roger Stone and... Steve Bannon, one of the story’s sources.
From the New York Times, emphasis my own:
Headlined “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS,” the article appeared Wednesday with two bylines: Emma-Jo Morris, a deputy politics editor who joined the paper after four years at the Murdoch-owned Fox News, and Gabrielle Fonrouge, a Post reporter since 2014.
Ms. Morris did not have a bylined article in The Post before Wednesday, a search of its website showed. She arrived at the tabloid in April after working as an associate producer on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her Instagram account, which was set to private on Wednesday, included photos of her posing with the former Trump administration members Mr. Bannon and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as Roger J. Stone Jr., a friend and former campaign adviser to Mr. Trump. (In July, the president commuted the sentence of Mr. Stone on seven felonies.)
Ms. Fonrouge had little to do with the reporting or writing of the article, said three people with knowledge of how it was prepared. She learned that her byline was on the story only after it was published, the people said.
According to the Times, the reporter who did actually write the bulk of the story, Bruce Golding, refused to allow his name to be attached to it, as he had “concerns over the article’s credibility.” Other reporters “questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents,” and “had concerns about the reliability of its sources and its timing.” Yeah, no shit! And it appears editors shopped the story around in the Post newsroom, desperate to find someone with no journalistic standards whatsoever who’d be willing to throw away their reputation. Via the Times:
As deadline approached, editors pressed staff members to add their bylines to the story — and at least one aside from Mr. Golding refused, two Post journalists said. A Post spokeswoman had no comment on how the article was written or edited.
The Post reporters had ample reason to be concerned—last week, the Washington Post reported that intelligence officials had warned Trump back in December that Giuliani had “been worked by Russian assets in Ukraine” like Andriy Derkach, whom the Treasury Department recently described as “an active Russian agent for over a decade,” and with whom Giuliani met with in 2019. More from the Post, emphasis my own:
U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence, according to four former officials familiar with the matter.
The warnings were based on multiple sources, including intercepted communications, that showed Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine, where he was gathering information that he thought would expose corrupt acts by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The intelligence raised concerns that Giuliani was being used to feed Russian misinformation to the president, the former officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information and conversations.
Yawn. Call me when the piss tape is revealed!