As the press gradually acknowledged the undeniable threat Hunter Biden posed to his father’s political future, New York Times White House reporter Katie Rogers issued a 2,400-word front-page story Sunday, “The Peril in Biden’s Inability to Say No to Son.” That headline leaned toward sentimentality, but the one in the previous edition really made the President into a martyr: “Biden Puts Son First, In Spite of Political Price.”
Rogers previously praised Biden the family man in a July effort at Democratic damage control involving Hunter Biden and his “love child.” That one was also a Sunday front-page story. This time, Rogers pictured the president as a man whose hope had been sadly thwarted by legal machinations.
Earlier this summer, President Biden was feeling hopeful.
His son Hunter’s lawyers had struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors on tax and gun charges, and it seemed to the president that the long legal ordeal would finally be over.
But when the agreement collapsed in late July, Mr. Biden, whose upbeat public image often belies a more mercurial temperament, was stunned.
He plunged into sadness and frustration, according to several people close to him who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve their relationships with the Biden family….
Republicans have cast Hunter’s troubles as a stew of nepotism and corruption, which the Biden administration denies. But there is no doubt that Hunter’s case is a drain, politically and emotionally, on his father and those who wish to see him re-elected.
The saga reflects the painful dynamics of the first family, shaped by intense ambition and deep loss, along with anger and guilt. It is the story of two very different if much-loved sons, and of a father holding tight to the one still with him.
One can sympathize with the President worrying about his troubled son without descending into mawkishness. Rogers certainly betrayed none of the paper’s trademark distrust for everything Republicans do.
Tragedy and substance abuse have stalked the Biden family for generations. Hunter was not quite 3 years old when his mother and baby sister were killed in a car accident that left him and Beau seriously injured and in a hospital for months. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, at age 46. After that, Hunter descended further into alcoholism and a devastating addiction to crack cocaine.
The Times protected the president from accusations of peddling influence for his son, evidence documented continuously by the Media Research Center.
No hard evidence has emerged that Mr. Biden personally participated in or profited from the business deals or used his office to benefit his son’s partners while he was vice president. And Mr. Biden’s advisers have pointed to legal experts who argue that the tax and gun charges against the president’s son are rarely prosecuted.
….Devon Archer, Hunter’s former business partner, told congressional investigators that Hunter used “the illusion of access to his father” to win over potential partners.
Mr. Archer said that Mr. Biden had been in the presence of business associates of his son’s who were apparently seeking connections and influence inside the United States government.
But Mr. Archer’s testimony fell short of Republican hopes of a smoking gun to prove the president’s involvement in his son’s efforts to drum up business overseas. The elder Mr. Biden would occasionally stop by a dinner or a hotel for a brief handshake, Mr. Archer said, or engage in a few pleasantries over the phone.
The Times has admitted twice, reluctantly, that President Biden “had made false or misleading statements regarding his family members’ finances.” It doesn’t bother to do so here, though a reminder would certainly be relevant.