CBS Reporter to Trump in 2020: Hunter’s Laptop ‘Can’t Be Verified’
Backlash emerges over reporter Lesley Stahl's claims
CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl smugly told President Trump in 2020 that Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” could not be verified, which has now proved to be false.
The New York Times also admitted the laptop was authentic on Wednesday.
The transcript is below:
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Take a look at what’s going on, Lesley. And then you say that —
LESLEY STAHL: I think…
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s the biggest scandal out there, Lesley.
STAHL: And you think it’s the biggest issue to campaign on?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think it’s — I think it’s one of the biggest scandals I’ve ever seen, and you don’t cover it. You won’t talk about it.
STAHL: Well, because it can’t be verified
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You want to talk about insignificant things.
STAHL: I’m telling you —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Of course it can be verified. Excuse me. They found the laptop. Lesley, listen.
STAHL: Can’t be verified.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: What can’t be verified?
STAHL: The laptop.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Why do you say that? Even the family has — the family, on the laptop, he’s gone into hiding. For five days he’s gone into hiding.
STAHL: He’s preparing for your debate.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, it’s taken him five days to prepare. I doubt it. I doubt it.
Meanwhile, establishment “news-rating” project NewsGuard, which presents itself as a source of expert knowledge on trusted news sources, has addressed its track record on the Hunter Biden laptop story, despite the co-founder labeling the story a Russian “hoax.”
The New York Times has acknowledged that Hunter’s “laptop from hell” was one the biggest bombshells of the 2020 election, despite massive social media censorship and a blackout from the media.
The New York Post’s story was blasted by a wide swathe of establishment media figures and organizations at the time.
Politico also published a story with claims from “intelligence officials” calling the report “Russian disinfo,” without doing any work to verify the material in the laptop, which was widely available to news publications.
NewsGuard followed along with this narrative.
NewsGuard co-founder Steven Brill said, “My personal opinion is there’s a high likelihood this story is a hoax, maybe even a hoax perpetrated by the Russians again,” as per an interview with CNBC at the time.
Newsguard general manager Matt Skibinski defended Brill’s comments:
“Steve Brill argued that big tech platforms’ censorship of the New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop was misguided and that social media platforms should not have prevented the story from being posted or shared."
"He said, ‘It doesn’t matter what I think — what matters is that people ought to be able to read [the story] and decide, and they can decide by reading and comparing what the New York Post says to what lots of other media institutions say,’” he said.
“Our process for rating sites is based entirely on our nine criteria and an evidence-based assessment after a thorough review of a site,” continued Skibinski.
“The laptop story had no bearing on NewsGuard’s assessment of the New York Post, which has a Green rating from NewsGuard because there was no evidence the story was false.”