Hunter Biden is going on offense and the result could be yet another high-profile defamation suit against Fox News and this time, Lachlan Murdoch pet Tucker Carlson. (Updated)
While I was working on my previous post about Tucker Carlson’s false accusations about Hunter Biden and his father’s classified documents, I stumbled on the news that Biden has threatened Carlson and Fox News with a defamation suit over another spurious attack.
The Washington Post reported on what it called “a newly aggressive strategy” by Hunter Biden’s lawyers. It includes “blistering letters” to “state and federal prosecutors urging criminal investigations into those who accessed and disseminated his personal data,” i.e. Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon and computer repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac, and a separate letter threatening Carlson and Fox.
Biden’s lawyers also claim that he has been defamed by Fox News, in a story that Carlson aired in which he falsely said that Biden had paid $50,000 in “rent” to his father, a scheme that he suggested was being used to funnel money from father to son.
But the reality, as deconstructed by The Washington Post Fact Checker, showed that Hunter Biden was actually paying $49,910 every three months for office space in Washington.
Some other outlets, including the Daily Caller, later updated and retracted their stories.
According to The Post, Hunter Biden has demanded apologies from Carlson, Sean Hannity and other Fox pundits. If not received by today, lawyer Bryan M. Sullivan wrote that he and Biden will assume the network and Carlson “are not interested in acting responsibly and professionally and willing to reverse its actual malice reporting.” He also demanded that Fox preserve all communications and documents related to its reporting of the story.
The phrase “actual malice” is crucial in a defamation case involving a public figure such as Hunter Biden. Although Tucker Carlson is “actual malice” personified, the legal term means “the defendant made a libelous statement with ‘knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.’” Guess what? That perfectly describes Carlson’s behavior, too.
Fox is already facing two billion-dollar defamation lawsuits over its 2020 election lies. One of the cases, Dominion Voting System’s $1.6 billion dollar defamation suit, is reportedly very strong. The trial is scheduled to begin in April. The other case, Smartmatic’s similar $2.7 billion suit has not yet been scheduled for trial, to my knowledge.
We’ll see how much appetite the Murdochs have for another one. They certainly deserve it.
2/3/23 Update: I think Attorney Sullivan can now safely assume the network and Carlson “are not interested in acting responsibly and professionally and willing to reverse its actual malice reporting.” I can’t stomach another Tucker Carlson post right now but I will say that he presented Mac Isaac as a victim when he appeared on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show last night and dishonestly claimed Biden’s lawyer is demanding Mac Isaac be jailed.
(Carlson image via screen grab)
Yep, that’s exactly right. I was going to do a Hunter Biden follow up via the Special Report show but ran out of steam and time. I did update the post with a brief comment about Tucker Carlson’s nonsense last night.
We should keep in mind that the Biden family has been consistent in refusing to dignify the lies about the “laptop” and the various emails over the past 2 1/2 years. It’s clear that the continuing viciousness of angry Right Wingers such as Carlson (not to mention the propagandists on the various minor web copycats like OAN, “Real America”, Newsmax and Glenn Beck) has angered Hunter Biden to the point that he’s had enough of the constant libels and slanders.
Reporting from actual journalists at Time and Politico has shown that hacked Hunter Biden data was being offered for sale in the Ukraine in July 2019 and September 2019 (at which point the price had risen to 5 million dollars). This data was being sold as truly salacious stuff including emails and nasty pictures and videos, etc. It’s probably just a coincidence that Rudy Giuliani was known to be in Ukraine around those times frantically looking for “dirt” on Hunter Biden and his father. And it’s probably just another coincidence that Mike Pence’s childish former spokesman chose that time to blackmail the Ukrainian President to make him announce a non-existent “investigation” into the Bidens. And wow, it’s probably an even bigger coincidence that we’re meant to believe that someone went into a legally blind Trump fan’s computer repair shop around that exact time with “laptops” supposedly belonging to Hunter Biden containing the same data.
We should also note that the data in the hacked cache has long been acknowledged to contain genuine Hunter Biden emails and data. If anything, the fact that there is real personal and private data here should be a major worry for the angry Right Wingers who have peddled this “story”. Because it’s actually proof of the theft of Hunter Biden’s data, which he’s consistently stated he has never given permission to anyone to access. While we’re there, let’s also note that the supposedly “incriminating” emails show nothing more than Hunter Biden trying to do business, mentioning his father but then being repeatedly told no by his father. In other words, there’s no there there. The only missteps the hacked data have revealed are a possible underpayment of taxes (even though Hunter Biden made a large late payment quite a while ago) and a possible improper owning of a handgun while he was in rehab. That’s it, after all the angry Right Wing posturing.
And let’s look at the supposed “laptop” “story”. We’re meant to believe that this legally blind repairman runs a shop that has no security cameras and that his habit is to snoop through the data of the laptops he repairs and then make his own copies of that data and distribute it to political cronies. There’s a reason why no legitimate reporter wanted to touch this story in 2020 – it wouldn’t pass a smell test or even a laugh test. When it finally ran as a failed “October Surprise” in October 2020 in the NY Post, the writers took their name off the story. They did as Rupert Murdoch demanded, by running the propaganda and thus giving it legitimacy for other outlets to discuss it, but they didn’t want their names associated with this. When only the typical angry Right Wing propagandists tried to push it later, the Right Wing changed their propaganda line to saying that somehow their failed smear was being “censored”.
There’s a reason that the Bidens did not dignify this story over the past 2 1/2 years – they didn’t want to provide more air to this balloon. The fact that at least some of the emails are genuine would open them to exactly the nonsensical screams we’re now hearing from angry Right Wing pundits today. If the “laptop” were to be discounted by the Bidens, we’d be into a discussion about how the data is real and somehow a “bombshell”, as well as a discussion about how Hunter Biden is somehow just like Hillary Clinton with her server. Angry Right Wingers have demonstrated a strong resilience to the truth, even when confronted with facts that contradict their wishes. At some points, they pivot to whataboutism. At others, such as with Kari Lake or Pence’s childish former spokesman, they literally just continue to lie and hope that nobody will notice.
I’m frankly most curious to see what happens when Rudy Giuliani and the computer repair shop guy are required to answer questions under oath about where the data came from and how it got onto the “laptop” in the first place. If I were them, I’d be in the process of finding a good criminal defense attorney.