In the wake of last week’s highly-anticipated testimony of Hunter Biden’s former business associate, the legacy media went to great lengths to downplay its severity and potential fallout for President Biden, specifically by elevating a quote allegedly said by the witness.
Devon Archer, the longtime friend and colleague of the beleaguered Biden son, testified in a closed-door setting to the House Oversight Committee as part of its ongoing investigation into the Biden family’s shady foreign business dealings and whether they’re tied to the president.
It did not take long for lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to leak details from the testimony to the press with Republicans ramping up corruption allegations towards Biden while Democrats rejecting the notion that there were any bombshell revelations.
But there was one leak in particular from Democrats that made the rounds in the news cycle: Hunter Biden was selling the “illusion of access” to his father.
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The so-called “illusion of access” Archer allegedly spoke about to lawmakers was to frame Hunter Biden as merely using his father’s status as the then-vice president to entice business associates but that there was no financial gain from the perception Hunter was promoting.
However, the transcript from the meeting showed that the “illusion of access” wasn’t terminology coined by Archer but rather Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman, N.Y., who used that phrase in a question that Archer only partially agreed with.
“So is it fair to say that Hunter Biden was selling the illusion of access to his father?” Goldman asked, according to the transcript.
“Yes,” Archer initially responded.
“So when you talk about selling the brand… it’s not about selling access to his father. It’s about selling the illusion of access to his father. Is that fair?” Goldman followed.
“Is that fair? I mean, yeah, that is — I think that’s — that’s almost fair,” Archer responded.
“Almost fair. Why almost fair?” the Democrat asked.
“Because there — there is — there are touch points and contact points that I can’t deny that happened,” Archer replied.
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Leading up to the release of the transcript, the media ran with Goldman’s narrative without offering an ounce of skepticism, often citing unnamed sources from the closed-door hearing.
The New York Times promoted the Democrat spin right out of the gate with the headline, “Biden Spoke With Son’s Associates, but Not About Business, Former Partner Says” later writing Archer “asserted that the elder Mr. Biden was not party to any of his son’s business deals and that Hunter Biden had tried to sell the illusion that he was providing access to his powerful father when he was not, according to Democrats on the panel.”
The Associated Press ran the headline “Hunter Biden sold ‘illusion of access’ to his father, former business partner tells Congress,” which was aggregated by The Washington Post and PBS NewsHour. Axios similarly attributed the Democrat talking point to Archer with the headline “Hunter Biden associate describes ‘illusion of access’” while Time Magazine ran with “Hunter Biden Sold ‘Illusion’ of Access to His Father, Former Associate Testifies” and Reuters with “Hunter Biden associate described ‘illusion of access’ to Joe, Democratic lawmaker says.”
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CNN published a story on its website titled “Former business partner says Hunter Biden sold ‘illusion’ of access to Joe Biden, source says,” which drove the network’s coverage of Archer’s testimony.
In a bizarre exchange hours after the testimony, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper incorporated the “illusion of access” terminology in a question to Goldman himself during an interview, not knowing the phrase actually came from the lawmaker.
“Do you think it was appropriate for Hunter Biden allegedly to be selling even an illusion of access to his father?” Cooper asked.
“I don’t think that’s an accurate description,” Goldman responded. “And I would urge Chairman Comer rather than to continue to send out misinformation about what transpired in the transcribed interview to actually put out the transcript, which he can do as soon as he wants because I think anyone who reads that transcript, and I was there so I can tell you what happened, would come away from that believing that Joe Biden had nothing to do with Hunter Biden’s business dealings.”
Other liberal networks including MSNBC, NBC, ABC and PBS also peddled the narrative on-air.
Virtually no one from the legacy media acknowledged that the “illusion of access” phrase originated from Goldman and not Archer with an exception to CBS News’ Catherine Herridge.
In fact, some in the media continued to peddle the falsehood even after the transcript was released. That day, for example, Washington Post reporter Jacqueline Alemany told readers “Archer was touted by House Republicans as the linchpin in a quest to corroborate unsubstantiated claims that President Biden was involved in his son’s foreign business affairs. Instead, the transcript of Archer’s testimony detailed Hunter Biden’s effort to sell what he admitted was an illusion of access to and influence over one of the most powerful people in the world.” She went on to repeat that sentiment on MSNBC the next day.
NBC News correspondent Mike Memoli, also after the transcript was released, told colleague Hallie Jackson that Archer said Hunter Biden was “maybe selling the illusion of access, trying to convey access to power.”
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The New York Times was quite selective on how it reported on the transcript on Friday, telling readers “Asked by Representative Dan Goldman, Democrat of New York, whether it was ‘fair to say that Hunter Biden was selling the illusion of access to his father,’ Mr. Archer responded, ‘Yes.'” That notably omitted Archer’s comments saying that Goldman’s characterization was “almost fair” because “there are touch points and contact points that I can’t deny that happened.”
“Corporate media is trying to cover up for the Biden family and is eager to buy any of the lies Democrats are selling,” House Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., told Fox News Digital. “There is nothing illusionary about Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s business deals. He attended dinners with Hunter Biden’s shady foreign business associates who poured millions of dollars into the Biden family. He joined over 20 calls by speakerphone. He showed up to meetings with his son’s business partners. He allegedly was in the room when Hunter Biden demanded payment from his CCP-linked associates.”
“The House Oversight Committee will continue to follow the evidence and present facts to the American people about the Bidens selling ‘the brand’ to enrich the Biden family,” Comer added.
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