This week, the New York Post published a bombshell story. Hunter Biden's laptop was apparently given to a computer repairman in Delaware, and a copy of the hard drive was turned over to the Post. The Post found several alarming emails. The first was a communique from a Ukrainian businessman from the natural gas company Burisma -- the same company from which Hunter Biden would gain a reported $50,000-per-month salary as a board member, despite knowing nothing about Ukraine or natural gas. The communique contained the businessman's thanks to Hunter for brokering a meeting with Joe Biden.
This was mildly damning, considering that Joe had blithely informed the world that he knew nothing of his ne'er-do-well son's foreign activities. What was more damning was an email thread that appeared to concern proposed compensation packages from the now-defunct CEFC China Energy Co. That thread identified Hunter as "Chair/Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC," with a proposed equity split of "20" for "H" (presumably Hunter) and "10 held by H for the big guy." A Fox News source privy to the thread confirmed that the "big guy" was Joe Biden. An apparent text from Hunter to one of his children contained this tantalizing suggestion: "(U)nlike Pop, I won't make you give me half your salary."
All of this would, in a normal world, prompt the media to ask Biden about the emails. Instead, the media have halfheartedly questioned Biden, who has promptly dismissed all questions, calling them a "smear campaign" and even suggesting that a CBS reporter was biased against him. The New York Times' Maggie Haberman was ripped up and down for even tweeting a link to the Post story; Politico's Jake Sherman abjectly apologized for having tweeted the story.
Other media members have overtly made the case that the story shouldn't be taken seriously. NBC News' Andrea Mitchell reported that the email scandal could be Russian disinformation; Politico reported that 50 former intelligence officials posited that the story was indeed Russian disinformation. In this, they followed the lead of Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who claimed, without evidence, that the Biden story was a Russian dirty trick -- despite the fact that director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe openly denied such speculation.
Meanwhile, Biden has deployed his campaign surrogates to television to insist that the reports are "unconfirmed." Not one surrogate denied that the emails were authentic or bothered to explain them.
But Biden hasn't had to explain. His protectors aren't relegated to the media. They also encompass the Big Tech heads, who quickly cracked down on dissemination of the Post story itself. Twitter banned tweeting of the link and suspended accounts that tried to spread it, including that of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Facebook announced that even though the story hadn't been fact-checked or found to be false, the company would suppress its reach in anticipation of such fact-checking.
There is no doubt that Big Tech's decision was political -- or that the media's hesitancy to cover the Biden allegations is similarly political. Both Big Tech and the media, staffed thoroughly with Democrats, are gun-shy about the prospect of turning the election toward President Donald Trump. If they err, they would far rather err on the side of Joe Biden than the side of journalistic aggressiveness. The last thing they want is getting the blame if Biden somehow blows the White House.
This is all deeply dangerous. At a time when our trust in media is already low, the media have thoroughly debunked themselves as neutral arbiters of fact. At a time when social media has consolidated unprecedented power to control the information seen by Americans, social media overseers have decided to bottleneck information they don't like. Americans rightly distrust the journalistic establishment. They are right, too, to question whether they are being allowed to read stories that cut against the priorities of Silicon Valley Leftists.
The result of journalistic and social media overreach will not be Americans' quiet acquiescence to the new Informational Elite. It will be frustration and anger.
Ben Shapiro is a nationally syndicated columnist whose work regularly appears in the Grand Forks Herald.