WikiLeaks was released a month before the 2016 presidential election hacked emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
The New York Post published an article last week Emails from a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. E-mails about business relations in Ukraine have not been independently verified.
How did cable news treat these two caches, both of which were aimed at Democratic candidates during the height of their presidential campaigns?
The Answer: Fox News is giving the unverified Hunter Biden emails more airtime than Mr. Podesta’s hacked emails in 2016 an analysis from the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which studies disinformation.
While Fox News’ mentions of the word “WikiLeaks” peaked at 198 seconds in one day in mid-October 2016, the news channel’s references to “Hunter” hit 273 seconds in one day, according to analysis last week. Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.
In contrast, analysis suggests that most viewers on CNN and MSNBC would not have heard much about Hunter Biden’s unconfirmed emails. CNN’s mentions of “Hunter” peaked last week at 20 seconds and MSNBCs at 24 seconds in a day.
According to the study, CNN and MSNBC covered the WikiLeaks data more strongly. WikiLeaks mentions peaked at 121 seconds on CNN in one day in October 2016 and 90 seconds on MSNBC in one day over the same period.
“In 2016, the WikiLeaks publications were a gigantic story, covered across the political spectrum,” said Emerson Brooking, a Digital Forensic Research Lab staff member who worked on the report. “In 2020, the Hunter Biden Leaks are a WikiLeaks-sized event set in an angry, highly partisan corner of cable news TV.”
According to the analysis, 85 percent of the 1,000 most popular articles about Hunter Biden’s email came from right-wing websites. These articles, shared 28 million times, came from the New York Post, Fox Business, Fox News, and the Washington Times, among others. The researchers did not have any comparative analysis for the WikiLeaks revelations.