Some of you have asked why I don’t think the Biden classified documents non-story is going to become a scandal with any real impact. After all, House Republicans, Fox News, and right wing propagandists are going to do everything they can to try to turn it into a scandal – and now there’s a Special Counsel looking into it. But my answer really comes down to two words: John Durham.
Shortly before Donald Trump and Bill Barr left office, Barr appointed John Durham a Special Counsel to investigate the Trump-Russia investigation. Durham turned out to be wildly partisan and overwhelmingly corrupt, and went to great lengths to try to gin up a scandal. In terms of trying to hype things, he had almost nightly help from Fox News hosts. But now that Durham’s Special Counsel probe is done, it’s clear that it had zero political impact and changed the minds of zero voters.
I knew from the very start that Durham’s probe would have no impact. Why? Right wing propagandists are never able to get a phony scandal off the ground in any meaningful way, unless they have the help of the mainstream media. There’s a reason the Hillary email “scandal” ended up having such a major impact on the 2016 election: mainstream media outlets spent every day eagerly hyping that story in dishonest fashion, for the sake of ratings. News outlets like MSNBC and the Washington Post were just as willing to spread lies about that story as Fox News was. In contrast the Hunter Biden “scandal” ended up having no impact on the 2020 election, because mainstream media outlets weren’t willing to hype the lies that Trump and Rudy Giuliani were making up.
This brings us back to the John Durham probe. Since news outlets like MSNBC or CBS News or the Washington Post were never going to spend every day hyping the Durham probe, it was never going to have any impact. It was fairly obvious at the time that Barr only appointed Durham so he could make a naive Donald Trump think that something was going to come of it. And of course that’s exactly how it played out.
And now here we are with Attorney General Merrick Garland seemingly only appointing a Special Counsel in the Biden documents matter so that the mainstream media can’t accuse the DOJ of bias when Special Counsel Jack Smith indicts Donald Trump, and so that the DOJ can say “sorry, this is an ongoing investigation” when the Republican House seeks documents related to Biden.
If someone as aggressively corrupt as Special Counsel John Durham couldn’t generate any impact or change any minds in the non-story he was investigating, then this normal law-abiding Garland-appointed Special Counsel in the Biden documents non-story isn’t going to have any impact either. The only way that’ll change is if the mainstream media outlets (again, not Fox News, but actual mainstream news outlets) all decide to start making hyperbolic false claims about the Biden documents story on an all day, every day basis all year long. And there’s just no indication that that’s going to happen.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report