Jared Kushner left the White House where he worked as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, set up a private equity firm, and pretty much immediately got a $2 billion investment from, effectively, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia despite the crown prince’s advisers saying that Kushner’s business operations were “unsatisfactory in all aspects.” This was the same crown prince who had a journalist murdered and dismembered during the Trump years, with Kushner running domestic interference to minimize the political consequences of that murder. And that prince just so happens to “invest” $2 billion with a firm just started by someone with no experience in the field—a firm that has gotten very little investment from anyone else since then.
Hunter Biden has never worked in the White House. There’s a great deal of evidence that he has traded on his family name for personal profit, and there’s a federal investigation into whether he paid his taxes or laundered money, but no real evidence that his father has been involved in that in any way.
Guess which one of these stories the right-wing media cares about: the son-in-law/former White House adviser who got literally billions of dollars from the leader of a foreign government who he had helped while in an official position to do so, or the son/no official affiliation who took millions of dollars for sitting on boards and serving as an adviser in cases where he didn’t have much to contribute beyond his last name?
RELATED STORY: Jared Kushner got $2 billion in Saudi investment despite 'unsatisfactory' business operations
I know you guessed right on that, but here are the numbers. Fox News mentioned Kushner not once from Monday morning after the story about the Saudi investment broke until Tuesday morning, Aaron Rupar reports. Hunter Biden was a different story. In that time frame, Rupar writes, “Fox News/Business mentioned Hunter Biden a whopping 68 times, according to TVEyes transcripts. (The true number is even higher — I counted conservatively by not including reruns of the primetime shows that run early in the morning.)”
This is what you get with a propaganda network. One story simply doesn’t exist on Fox News and the other is a major national issue, used repeatedly to imply that the president is linked to corruption. According to Rupar, during the same time frame, CNN mentioned Hunter Biden once and Jared Kushner twice. MSNBC mentioned Kushner 23 times and Hunter Biden three times. This is during a period when there was breaking news about Kushner and nothing in particular new about the younger Biden, so there was a legitimate reporting reason for some imbalance. MSNBC is often seen as an ideological counterweight to Fox News, but as these numbers show, it really, really isn’t acting in the same determinedly partisan way. (And to be clear, I wish it would! There needs to be a real counterweight to Fox News, but it’s not coming from the corporate media.)
Fox News shapes a world for its viewers in which Republican scandals don’t exist and Democratic ones are all-consuming (even when they’re not really scandals). It works for them. Along with the Electoral College and the minority rule structure of the Senate, it’s a major driver of Republican power these days. I’m not calling for Democrats to be as shamelessly committed to partisan power above truth or ethics or consistently values-driven positions as Republicans are, but it would be really nice if our side were committed to shouting about the bad stuff the others guys do and equally about the true things that work for us. It would be really nice if a Democratic billionaire or two would fund something, anything, with a meaningful chance of being that counterweight to Fox News.
When we’re talking about Jared and Hunter, that’s a key difference in the media environment. But of course there’s also a difference in the family environment. Donald Trump hasn’t cut Kushner—or any of his own grifting children—loose because he approves of what they’re doing. Profit by any means is the name of the Trump game, never mind what the laws say, let alone any pesky ethical considerations, as the various investigations into Trump’s own business practices show. By contrast, President Joe Biden has shown no particular sign of approving of Hunter’s business practices. What he’s shown amply is that he loves his son and wants him to thrive after years of addiction and personal upheaval. It would probably be better, politically speaking, for the president to have long since cut his son loose to distance himself from possible scandal.
But where the operative values for the Trumps are profit, pride, and thinking they’re above accountability, the operative value for Joe Biden is always love of family. And Hunter’s situation has been and remains terribly sad. Hunter now faces a kind of accountability to which not a single Trump has yet been subjected—and he should, if indeed he has dodged taxes and/or laundered money and/or acted as an unregistered foreign agent. But the fact that he remains under federal investigation as his father refuses to improperly intervene is telling about the president’s ethics and relationship to the rule of law. Jared, meanwhile? He has $2 billion of Saudi money and no serious worries about accountability.
Guess who may have made up to $640 million from ‘outside income’ while in the White House?
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