Media Cover Sensational Trials by Poisoning the Jury Pool

Media Cover Sensational Trials by Poisoning the Jury Pool
Ghislaine Maxwell sits as the jurors are sworn in at the start of her trial on charges of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City on Nov. 29, 2021. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)
Conrad Black

We are in a season of trials and non-judicial judgments of unusual interest. Once again I feel a duty to try to raise the bullet-riddled and half-lowered standard of due process.

I’m looking forward to reading the excellent Miranda Devine’s book about the endless imbroglio of Hunter Biden’s legal shortcomings. I have never doubted that Joe Biden was well aware of his son’s activities and that they ramified far beyond the original controversial associations in Ukraine and China.

Seeing the video of then VP Biden boasting that he had had a prosecutor fired in Ukraine by threatening to withhold congressionally approved assistance to that country was doubly galling. And it was a particular and unspeakable outrage to have to endure the malicious farce of the impeachment of President Trump over his telephone call to the president of Ukraine.

As the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, he was perfectly within his rights to ask to know the facts in respect of the former vice president’s son’s commercial activities in that country. He didn’t try to direct the outcome of his inquiry; he merely asked for the facts.

It was especially infuriating when some of the same titans of the intelligence community who had been peddling the monstrous falsehood that Trump was “a Russian intelligence asset,” got together late in the election campaign to sign a published statement that allegations about Hunter Biden’s laptop and related activities were “Russian disinformation.” Hope springs eternal that the Molasses-paced Durham investigation will expose James Clapper and John Brennan and other former intelligence agency leaders as the unworthy men that they are.

As readers would be aware, I found the thought of a Biden presidency horrifying; I have never in 50 years thought he was remotely competent to be president, and I never forgave him or Teddy Kennedy for their near-crucifixion of a great public servant and outstanding candidate for the Supreme Court, Robert Bork.

With all that conceded, I must say that I have not seen any evidence that the antics of the Bidens in China, Ukraine, or elsewhere caused any alteration of official policy in favor of the regimes that were paying the Biden family. It was from all credible accounts potentially corrupt and an outright sale of possible official influence on the U.S. government, a deplorable and even degrading activity, but not surprising from Joe Biden, and more importantly, not necessarily illegal.

The Chinese and the Ukrainians can give money to Hunter Biden if they want to, and he can make any claims he wants about his general ability to be a conduit to an influential person in Washington. A crime may have been committed, but I don’t see that there’s any evidence of it as a bribe to the Bidens that triggered any action in consideration for the payments.

On the laptop issue there seems to be no doubt that Hunter Biden has lied in public about it, but I’m not aware of any reason to infer that he lied under oath to a grand jury or to investigative government officials, which evidently would be illegal.

Utterly incompetent though he has been, questionable though the results of the last presidential election were, of declining cognitive powers though he is, (and at his peak they were rarely impressive), Joe Biden is the president and he deserves that element of respect that attaches at all times to that great office.

His entitlement to that respect is not diminished by the shameful and orchestrated manner in which America’s morally bankrupt national political media withheld that respect from his predecessor.

I told my late friend Bill Buckley that I thought he had failed in the normal requirements of civil respect for the presidency of the United States when his cover headline at the National Review when President Clinton left office was “Goodbye to the Big Creep,” referring to a comment of Monica Lewinsky. No U.S. president should be referred to publicly with that level of disrespect in his own country.

Similarly, though it is considerably more amusing, the inspiration for “Go Brandon,” a very coarse reflection on Mr. Biden, chanted at times by scores of thousands of people, is an unjustified indignity to the office.

There is an enormous variety of methods available to register one’s disapproval of a president but encouraging huge sporting crowds to chant the F-word before president’s name is an unacceptable vulgarization of public discourse and an obscene effrontery to the headship of the American people and government.

It is interesting to see the media reaction to the simultaneous trials of Ghislaine Maxwell, Jussie Smollett, and Elizabeth Holmes. Since most of the media is in the grip of both the reflexive and impassioned left, the suspicion has been raised in conservative Republican circles that the Maxwell trial is being scantily covered because Democrats fear that Bill Clinton and many other prominent Democrats could be implicated in the allegedly indecent treatment of under-age women by the late Jeffrey Epstein, in which Ms. Maxwell has been accused of participating.

Republican suspicions are also aroused by the fact that one of her prosecutors is Maurene Comey, daughter of former FBI director James Comey, whom Hillary Clinton blamed for “shivving” her in the 2016 election campaign, and whom President Trump fired over Comey’s promotion of the Trump-Russian collusion fraud. The theory is that Ms. Comey might negotiate a soft plea bargain to  protect prominent Democrats.

The left-wing media are also downplaying the Smollett trial, presumably because of the interference of prominent Democrats to have the initial charges against Smollett quashed and the credulous treatment by the Democratic establishment and media of Smollett’s initial claim to have been attacked at 2 o'clock in a cold Chicago winter morning by two masked African-Americans purporting to be Trump supporters.

At least the Holmes case is not partisan or ideological but is interesting because she had such a spectacular rise and fall and is conducting a very innovative defense based on the theory that she sincerely believed all that she claimed for the medical testing product which she and her former business and romantic partner devised.

They are all unusually interesting cases, where, as usual, the media have ignored the Sixth Amendment guaranty of an impartial jury by poisoning the public jury pool with relentless insinuations that all the defendants are guilty.

CNN’s firing of Christopher Cuomo is also noteworthy; I have always found him and his brother, the former New York governor, unutterably obnoxious public figures.

But I do not see anything morally wrong or as professionally more objectionable than the general quality of CNN political reporting in Christopher Cuomo trying to help his brother when he was under assault as governor. There may be more sinister aspects to this question than what I have seen, but on its face a man should not be fired for loyalty to a close relative.

And for CNN, which broadcasts fanatical partisan misinformation and fatuous political correctness and Trump-hate, to dismiss one of its commentators on such grounds, is sheer hypocrisy, standard fare from CNN.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He’s the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and, most recently, “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other,” which has been republished in updated form. Follow Conrad Black with Bill Bennett and Victor Davis Hanson on their podcast Scholars and Sense.
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