Investigation by Paul Sperry originally published by RealClearInvestigations and RealClearWire
For the second time in three years, the Washington Post has quietly “updated” one of the most consequential fact checks in the history of American politics – its October 2020 article undercutting reports that Hunter Biden arranged a dinner meeting between one of his foreign business clients and his father, who was then vice president of the United States.
The original article by the Washington Post’s chief fact checker, Glenn Kessler, was published the same day as the New York Post’s pre-election scoop revealing that Joe Biden had attended a 2015 dinner with a top executive of a Ukrainian energy firm, Burisma, which was paying his son $83,000 per month. Kessler’s fact-check involved interviews with a host of Biden aides who vehemently disputed the vice president’s attendance at the dinner and advanced the theory that the source of the information – a laptop Hunter had abandoned at a Delaware repair shop – was untrustworthy and possibly a Russian plant.
That conspiracy theory was quickly embraced by 51 former intelligence officials, who signed an open letter dismissing the New York Post’s scoop as having “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” This letter and the Washington Post fact check were used by the Biden campaign, other media outlets, and social media platforms to discredit the information contained on the laptop in the final days of the campaign. The article, Kessler would later boast, was “one of the most read articles in our 13-year history” of the fact-checking feature.
Read the entire investigation here.
Paul Sperry is an investigative reporter for RealClearInvestigations. He is also a longtime media fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Sperry was previously the Washington bureau chief for Investor’s Business Daily, and his work has appeared in the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Houston Chronicle, among other major publications.
This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.