Two former top executives at CNN and MSNBC defended their network’s decisions to not cover the Hunter Biden laptop scandal more prior to the 2020 presidential election because he was not criminally charged at the time.
The remarks from former MSNBC chief Phil Griffin and former CNN chief Jeff Zucker came during a conversation they had late last week at the Un-Convention in Philadelphia with CNN host Michael Smerconish.
“I think that the Hunter laptop was worthy of more airing than it received right before the election,” Smerconish said. “Either of you agree with me on that? Do you regret, how about if I ask it this way specifically, do you regret not dealing with it before the election?”
“Well, I mean, I think, I think we, the question is, we did deal with it,” Zucker claimed. “But to the degree that, you know, you would, you would have thought was appropriate? I think the answer is in the, in the final two weeks, you know, it was looked at, we did not know enough about it. 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, OK? No, I mean, but I mean, that’s the problem. It’s like, you’re gonna give a lot of legitimacy to Rudy Giuliani delivering, you know, he’s got the goods? So part of the issue with that story was who was delivering the goods? Okay, that’s one.”
“That doesn’t mean that we didn’t look into it. We did. We did look into it,” he continued. “But first of all, you know, with regard to the son of the candidate, you know, he was the son of the candidate, he wasn’t the candidate. The question that you’ll come back with is well, but what role did the candidate play in his business dealings? You know, frankly, with 10 days or two weeks to go, it was looked at by very credible organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, and they found nothing at that time, okay? So my point is, it’s easy to say we should have spent more time on that. Listen, do I think it’s legitimate to look at? Sure. Do I think that like, it’s a legitimate criticism to say that in 10 days, 14 days prior to the election, you didn’t spend enough time on it? Not really.”
Smerconish then turned his attention to Griffin, and asked for his take on the matter.
“He was never arrested,” Griffin said. “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.”
“I don’t think it’s a, it’s a main story until that happens. Now we looked into it, you know, NBC News did, Tom Winter and Ken DeLorean did a great job,” he claimed. “They met with Rudy. He brought a couple of pages printed out from the so called, from the from the computer. They asked for a digital copy of it. They didn’t get it. But I don’t think it was a big story before the election because he was never found, he was never charged.”
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