Painting Over Scandal: Nets Ignore Own Reporters, Skip Hunter Biden’s Latest Art Antics

News & Politics

In an unsurprising move, Hunter Biden’s life of corruption reared its head this week as, in addition to a dubious arrangement in which he (and the public) supposedly won’t find out who purchased his art when it goes on sale, he’ll be attending an art exhibition that will feature said paintings. Of course, ABC, CBS, and NBC saw zero reason to cover it on their top morning or evening newscasts despite the fact that their own reporters grilled Press Secretary Jen Psaki about it at briefings.

This bias by omission was further underlined by the fact that, on Friday, ABC found time during its two overnight programs to cover it over two news briefs for a combined 45 seconds.

On World News Now at 3:39 a.m. Eastern, co-host Mona Kosar Abdi reported there was “controversy involving Hunter Biden and his paintings that could sell for as much as $500,000” as he’s “expected to meet with potential buyers at two upcoming art shows.”

Adding that it’s “raising ethics concerns that the buyers would try to gain influence with the President,” Kosar Abdi seemed incredulous herself, concluding with the White House’s claim that “prospective buyers would remain anonymous” and “there will be no conversations about the selling of his art.”

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Yes, just like not talking about beer at a beer garden or chicken at Chick-fil-A.

Fast-forward to the next half-hour (or hour, depending on when one’s local news starts), co-host Andrew Dymburt read a shortened brief during America This Morning:

New controversy surrounding Hunter Biden and his paintings, which could sell for up to $500,000. The President’s son is expected to meet with potential buyers at two upcoming art shows. That’s after the White House insisted that prospective buyers would remain anonymous because of ethics concerns. At issue is whether people buying the art may try to gain influence with the President.

When the sham of an agreement was unveiled on July 9, CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang sparred with Psaki over this hole-filled plan, but Jiang’s questioning never made it to air for the CBS Evening News (before being covered a day later on CBS This Morning: Saturday).

Skip to Thursday, Jiang’s colleague Nancy Cordes and CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy went back-and-forth with Psaki about the so-called agreement and the new development regarding the art show. Gaslighting all the way to the moon and back, Psaki insisted there will be no one besides a professional gallerist who’ll ever know the identity of the buyers.

Unlike with Jiang, the admirable lines of questioning never saw a second of air on CBS This Morning or the CBS Evening News.

The focus moved on Friday to ABC as correspondent Rachel Scott followed Cordes’s example in pointing out the absurdity of Psaki’s claims that Hunter wouldn’t be discussing art at an art show and people could post on social media said paintings after purchasing them.

But once again, Psaki refused to engage in the slightest besides her rigid talking points (click “expand”):

SCOTT: One last one on Hunter Biden. You confirmed yesterday that he will be meeting with prospective buyers, but you also said that he’s not going to have any conversations relating –

PSAKI: Not that he’s meeting with prospective buyers, that he is attending gallery events that had been prior – prior planned and announced.

SCOTT: — there could be prospective buyers there.

PSAKI: He’s not – they — those discussions will be happening with the gallerists, but that is different than meeting with prospective buyers.

SCOTT: If there are prospective buyers there, you said yesterday that he is not going to have any conversations related to the selling of art. How can the administration guarantee that?

PSAKI: The selling of his art will all happen through the galler – the gallerist, and the names and individuals will be kept confidential. We will not be aware and neither will he be aware.

SCOTT: Is there anything stopping anyone from directly telling, though, Hunter Biden that they’re going to purchase his art? And if they do, the American people won’t know who they are.

PSAKI: He will not know. We will not know who purchases his art.

Having already irked Psaki with an exchange about her avowed belief that the American people no longer need to know about Covid cases within the White House, The Wall Street Journal’s Catherine Lucey had her own go at it on Hunter Biden.

Once again, Psaki had to claw her way across with farcical talking points (click “expand”):

LUCEY: Following up on the questions about Hunter Biden and his art shows, are there any specific procedures you can tell us that are being put in place to ensure that these conversations remain, as you say, not about the sales? Will he get ethics training? Will he have to report afterwards about the conversations? Anything specific you can tell us about how you are monitoring this?

PSAKI: Well, again, I think it is certainly a commitment that has been made by all parties involved. He is not involved in the sale or discussions about the sale of his art, and he will not be informed of the – of the sale of his art and who is purchasing that art. That is a commitment that’s been made, and we expect that all parties would abide by it.

Instead of covering Hunter Biden, the networks covered things such as more corporate whoring on ABC’s Good Morning America for parent company Disney with a new Disney+ “cinematic experience” starring Billie Eilish, CBS This Morning touting the Super Bowl rings for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and NBC Nightly News reporting on how those aboard the International Space Station are taking in the Olympics.

To see the relevant ABC transcripts from July 23, click “expand.”

ABC’s World News Now
July 23, 2021
3:39 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Art Controversy]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hunter Biden to Meet with Potential Art Buyers; Upcoming Appearance at Two Shows Raising Ethics Concerns]

MONA KOSAR ABDI: And there is controversy involving Hunter Biden and his paintings that could sell for as much as $500,000. The President’s son is expected to meet with potential buyers at two upcoming art shows in New York and Los Angeles. And the move is raising ethics concerns that the buyers would try to gain influence with the President. The White House had insisted the prospective buyers would remain anonymous to Hunter Biden. Now, they say there will be no conversations about the selling of his art.

(….)

ABC’s America This Morning
July 23, 2021
4:27 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Top Stories; Hunter Biden Ethics Concerns; Upcoming Appearance at Art Shows in Spotlight]

ANDREW DYMBURT: New controversy surrounding Hunter Biden and his paintings, which could sell for up to $500,000. The President’s son is expected to meet with potential buyers at two upcoming art shows. That’s after the White House insisted that prospective buyers would remain anonymous because of ethics concerns. At issue is whether people buying the art may try to gain influence with the President.

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