Phil Griffin and Jeff Zucker, the former heads of MSNBC and CNN respectively, defended their networks’ lack of coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop during the 2020 presidential elections while speaking at a convention last week.
CNN host Michael Smerconish asked the executives during the Bipartisan Policy Center’s The Un-Convention last week in Philadelphia if they regretted not covering the laptop, which was the subject of an Oct. 14, 2020 report by the New York Post that was heavily censored by social media.
“He was never arrested. The Justice Department was looking into it, never reported it until he is the son of a candidate. I don’t think it’s a main story until that happens,” said Phil Griffin, former MSNBC president, referring to Hunter Biden, according to Mediaite.
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“The question is, we did deal with it. But to the degree that, you know, you would have thought was appropriate. I think the answer is in the final two weeks, you know, it was looked at. We did not know enough about it,” Zucker responded, before the exchange became combative.
Zucker demanded Smerconish answer if he had been directed not to report on the laptop, whose emails were later confirmed as authentic by the Daily Caller News Foundation and later The Washington Post and New York Times.
“I think that we looked partisan by not giving it some air,” Smerconish said.
“I don’t disagree with that. But I think… it is worth real examination,” Zucker said. “But, you know, in the 11 days prior to the election, it involves the son of a candidate, you know, who clearly has issues and troubles. You know, what is the extent to which you should do it? We reported on it.”
Zucker also argued that Rudy Giuliani’s involvement with the laptop made it difficult to cover, and that he was wary of influencing the midterm elections.
“There was not you know, there was not within two weeks of the election, the ability when the messenger on that story was Rudy Giuliani,” Zucker added.