A pair of high-profile, liberal journalists were mocked Tuesday after inaccurately claiming a declassified intelligence assessment proved Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop came from Russians trying to meddle in the 2020 election, when the Director of National Intelligence made no such claim.
The ODNI released the declassified assessment of foreign threats to the election pursuant to the Intelligence Authorization Act. The document didn’t reveal anything related to salacious materials on Biden’s laptop that was reported by the New York Post, but that didn’t stop liberal journalists from jumping to false conclusions.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes shared a tweet that declared the report confirmed the Hunter Biden story came from the Kremlin, writing “The same dudes who ran the play last time!”
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes deleted a tweet after being accused of spreading disinformation. (NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
“This tweet is absolutely false. The report does not even mention the Hunter Biden laptop or the documents reported on, let alone allege that it came from Russia, let alone provide proof of this. This tweet is disinformation,” journalist Glenn Greenwald responded.
HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Date wrote, “Hey, New York Post and everyone else who got suckered into the ridiculous Hunter Biden Laptop story. Take a bow,” and added a portion of the intelligence report that noted Russian intelligence published “disparaging content about President Biden, his family, and the Democratic Party, and heavily amplified related content circulating in US media, including stories centered on his son.”
The problem with Hayes and Date’s tweets is that the declassified intelligence assessment never mentioned the laptop.
“This tweet is disinformation. ODNI report says nothing about the laptop, which Hunter Biden hasn’t even denied dropping off at the repair shop,” Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross wrote about Date’s message.
Hayes and Date both made the recently announced “Ruthless” podcast’s second annual “Liberal Hack Tournament,” where conservatives vote in an NCAA Tournament-style contest to determine the biggest liberal hack of the year. Hayes is a No. 6 seed while Date is relegated to a play-in matchup, but they each faced backlash for their tweets that could resonate with voters.
Hayes eventually backtracked and deleted the tweet.
“I’m just starting to read through the report, so not clear they’re claiming the Hunter Biden laptop specifically ‘came from the Kremlin’ definitively, but it’s incredible that it’s the same cast of characters,” Hayes wrote.
“Deleted the above tweet because the DNI report doesn’t mention the laptop,” Hayes continued. “It just has Kilimnick and Derkach running around doing very similar things to what multiple reports say they were up to in 2016, and what Derkach was very clearly doing in 2019 as well.”
Journalists quickly scolded Hayes for spreading disinformation on his Twitter account that has 2.4 million followers.
“When did you start blindly regurgitating reports from intel agencies? I thought you were a progressive,” Washington Examiner reporter Joe Simonson wrote.
“It would appear Chris that you are spreading disinformation on your influential Twitter account,” New York Post editor Emma-Jo Morris wrote. “Apologize!”
“And, just to review the basic rule of journalism (and basic rationality) once more: even if the US security state had alleged the laptop came from Russia, minimally sane and sober people will not assume that’s true absent *evidence.” That’s what journalistic skepticism means,” Greenwald wrote after Hayes deleted his tweet.
“For those who harbor reverence for US Govt pronouncements, the only time it commented on the Hunter laptop was when DNI said there was no evidence Russia was involved. That claim came from Brennan-led ex-CIA agents & was laundered by gullible US media,” he added.
An editor for Defense One, who tweeted the inaccurate message Hayes amplified, also deleted his tweet after backlash.
“I’ve deleted a tweet that suggested that a recent ODNI report made explicit reference to the Hunter Biden laptop story. It makes reference to Andrii Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who was trafficking information remarkably similar to what showed up in the Post report,” Patrick Tucker wrote.
Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy captured the series of events.
Hunter Biden confirmed late last year that he is under federal investigation for his “tax affairs” surrounding his overseas business dealings. The FBI has since been in possession of his laptop, which allegedly contains emails revealing details of his foreign business interests, including contacts in Ukraine and China, along with a series of unflattering photos of the president’s son.
Twitter and Facebook suppressed sharing of the New York Post’s original story about Hunter Biden’s laptop last year, in an unprecedented example of Big Tech censorship.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Yael Halon contributed to this report