CNN declares McCarthy pushed ‘unproven claims’ on Biden impeachment inquiry, quietly admits they were ‘true’
CNN raised eyebrows Wednesday for the mixed messaging found in its “fact-check” of comments House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., made about the newly-launched Biden impeachment inquiry.
The report began by telling readers McCarthy “made several unproven claims Tuesday while announcing the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.”
However, CNN either verified the claims as “true” or attempted to rebut the speaker with pushback that did not actually address what was said.
The first remark that was fact-checked was McCarthy saying, “Bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies.”
“This is true about Joe Biden’s family and associates, but there is no public evidence to date that the president personally received any money,” CNN wrote, adding context that lacked relevance to McCarthy’s quote.
The next claim was McCarthy’s reference to the trusted FBI informant who “alleged a bribe to the Biden family.”
“It’s true that an informant gave a tip of this nature to the FBI in 2020, and that the bureau had viewed him as a credible informant. But the underlying allegation that the Biden family was given a bribe is totally unproven; the informant was merely reporting something he said he had been told by a Ukrainian businessman,” CNN reacted, again adding context unnecessary to what the speaker said.
CNN’s next fact-check involved McCarthy pointing to witnesses who’ve told Congress that Biden “joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions – dinners resulted in cars and millions of dollars into his son and his son’s business partners.”
CNN asserted the speaker “omits key context about what was – and wasn’t – reportedly discussed in the calls and dinners,” relying on former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer’s claim that business was never discussed. CNN added, “Republicans have not presented any evidence that Joe Biden himself benefited financially from his appearances at the dinners or on the calls.”
The fact-checkers moved on to McCarthy noting how the Treasury flagged “more than 150 transactions involving the Biden family and other business associates” for suspicious activity. CNN didn’t debunk that claim but instead wrote, “The existence of these suspicious activity reports don’t prove wrongdoing on their own,” again a claim McCarthy himself did not assert during his remarks.
CNN pushed back against McCarthy’s claim that Biden “used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma” while he was vice president, telling readers, “There is no public evidence that Joe Biden abused his government powers to help his family.”
The liberal outlet also took issue with the speaker’s claim that Biden “lied” about his knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings, but didn’t refute that claim either, saying, “Joe Biden’s unequivocal denials of any business-related contact with his son have been undercut over time. But so far there is no public evidence that his occasional interactions with Hunter Biden’s business partners led to him getting substantively involved in his son’s financial arrangements.”
Critics pummeled CNN’s accusations that McCarthy peddled “unproven claims.”
“Unproven? Your fact check literally admits everything McCarthy said was true,” Daily Caller editor-in-chief Mike Bastasch reacted.
“They don’t actually dispute what McCarthy said. They’re just trying to find ways to spin it,” conservative viral personality Sunny McSunnyface wrote.
“Quite a few *significant and relevant* ‘true, buts’ in this piece — which was published mere hours after the WH instructed the media to do this,” Fox News contributor Guy Benson said, referring to the letter the Biden White House sent to news organizations hoping to push back on the impeachment claims.
“Framing here is backwards. This piece confirms many of the facts, but just says they don’t yet add up to prove guilt. That’s fine, but different than claiming innocence. The facts themselves reveal a level of smoke that at least merits questions and investigations, not dismissal,” conservative writer A.G. Hamilton posted.
CNN did not immediately respond to FOX News’ request for comment.
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