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December 7, 2022 77 mins

It’s been a Fox News obsession for almost two years now: Hunter Biden’s laptop. But now that Republicans have retaken the House, Rep. James Comer and the House Oversight Committee are prepared to launch a full investigation into the laptop…except no one seems to know where the laptop is. In this episode, Jordan sits down with Deputy Director of Rapid Response from Media Matters For America, Andrew Lawrence, who breaks down the beginnings of this conspiracy theory. Jordan is later joined by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) from the House Oversight Committee who discusses his approach to the upcoming investigation. Later, journalist, author, and former MSNBC host Tiffany Cross offers her ideas on how the media should be fairly and accurately covering this case. 

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Here's a relatable question. You ever get a job that
you weren't totally qualified for? I know I have turns
out not everyone's cut out to be a thoracic surgeon,
but maybe things would have turned out differently for me
if I had a famous dad, like if my dad
was the President of the United States. This is the
focal point of the Republican conspiracy theory around Hunter Biden,
that he used his connection to his dad, Joe Biden,

to make money and overseas deals. And yes, obviously this
is coming from the people who supported Donald Trump and
his family as they milked every government connection they could
for four years, like in Oceans eleven movie if it
took place during a Nickelodeon shopping spree. Now, if that
reference is too far removed for you, then apologies in advance.

Because the Hunter Biden story has so many references to
things that seem fake Kafe Milano, Sinohawk, the secret Willard
Hotel breakfast, that we probably should have made a Hunter
Wiki ahead of time just to help you through it.
This Jordan Klepper fingers the conspiracy. We gotta packed episode today.
We're going to walk through the fariracy theory known as
Hunter Biden's Laptop with a Fox News expert. Then Democratic

Congressman Jerry Connolly will discuss the House of Strategy responding
to an investigation, and then Tippany Cross will talk the
media's responsibility. Before we even start, you should know that
it's not even proven there is a laptop. There is
a hard drive copied from what a Trump supporter who
owns a computer repair shop in Delaware says was a

laptop that he handed over to the FBI. But nobody's
seeing a picture of it, and what the hell, let's
just take his word for it. The Hunter Biden laptop
saga is a fantastical right wing reverie concocted during the
twenty twenty campaign by Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, and of
course Fox News, which means it's inevitable that I heard
the words hunter Biden laptop constantly at Trump rallies, even

if the people there didn't exactly know what it is.
You can see on Fox and One American News about
the laptop, Hunter Biden's laptop, and then all the Crumpton
taking money from the different countries, you know, from Russian.
Then Joe Biden would do whatever these countries needed. Did

oh he what? Either what he did or did not do?
What didn't? What did he do? You have to be
determined exactly what he did. I saw pedophilia and China
something like that. Do you believe it? I don't know.
We see about like the Hunter Biden scandal. What exactly
happened with that? I think they found a laptop that
had you know, emailed and um there was an FBI.

They found a laptop with like emails and pictures of
you know, Biden talking with like Ukraine and China about
business deals and stuff like that. Which Biden, Hunter Biden
did it? Something happened? I mean the conspiracy theorists would
say that it's Joe Biden and Hunter Biden communicating with
you know, outside countries on business deals and stuff like that.
Are you calling him a conspiracy theorist? That's just what
he said, right. Okay, let's help these private investigators out

a little bit. Joining me today is Andrew Lawrence, the
deputy director of Rapid Response at ME It Matters for America. Basically,
that means he watches Fox News all day. Andrew, thanks
for being here to talk about the laptop from Hell. Yeah,
of course, thank you for having me. I'm excited to
finger this conspiracy with you. Oh it sounds sexy when
you say thank you. Hunter Biden is sexy. It's a

sexy top he is. He is a sexy man. He's
all over. If you're into pin up dudes and Fox News,
he's your guy. I want to jump into it because
House Republicans are about to become the majority, and they've
announced that they're going to investigate Hunter Biden. So let's
start with just establishing who Hunter Biden is, because some

of the things Hunter Biden has done are probably not
very becoming of a son of a public official, like
using the Biden family name to make foreign business deals done.
A good place to start. Yeah, I mean, I think
I think it's fair to say that, Um, Hunter Biden is,
you know, he's essentially a fail son. Um. I think, Um,
he's He's had a lot of tough things happen into

him in his life. You know. I think that it's
it's fairly well known Joe Biden's history of tragedy with
I believe it was his wife dying in a in
a car accident. I know Hunter was involved in that,
and Um, and you know that's something that's going to
affect you. And then his brother Bo Biden as well,
passing from from cancer not all that long ago. Um,

and that's sort of when, according to what I've seen,
his tailspin really began. Um. But you know, I think,
like you're right, Like it is fair to say that
that there is there's some questionable things there that Republicans
and right wing media are trying to to glom onto
this as some sort of giant scandal that's going to
bring down Joe Biden and the Democratic Party is is

a little bit ridiculous. And I mean, there's so much
to get into the weeds here. Uh. You know, you
got into it a little bit with that that nobody's
really even seen this laptop yet. Um. And here we
are with months and months. What's it been like two
years now since this first came up. I mean, I
think it is fast. Part of the reasons we wanted
to cover it one, I'm running into people on the
road and it's always a go to hunter Biden And

more often than not, the stuff that I run into
with people on the road, what is the dodge? What
is the quickest thing you can grab a hold onto.
It's easy to say Hunter Biden laptop. It's harder to
say what Hunter Biden's laptop contains. But I think it's
fascinating because I also think on the left, the left
is trying as hard as they can not to address
what is potentially on this laptop and some of the allegations,

which are some dire allegations. Now I need a download
on what I need to know about this, where the
reality is, where we should be suspicions and what is
the bullshit people are slinging at the board to try
to distract you from something else. So so you're helping
me out here with Hunter Biden, and I do think
it is it's important to point out it is true.
He's gone through a lot of tragedy in his life.

We've seen images. He's dealt with drug addiction publicly, He's
written about that in a book. A lot of these
things are things that he verifies and talks openly about.
He himself is an attorney and he's been a foreign lobbyist.
Is that correct? Yes, And that's where some of this
this drama starts too. And he's currently under investigation in

Delaware as well. For I believe it's tax fraud. I'm
not one hundred percent sure on that, but it's something
like that. And I think that's that's an important thing too.
When they talk about Hunter bid being under investigation, it's
one of the little tax fraud God bless investigate that
tax fraud. Not for me though, I and all of
my tax fraud comes from imbecility. I really don't know
the difference between W nin and W four, So so

don't come at me. That's just that's my naivete. But
so Hunter Biden is under investigation, but not exactly for
the stuff that Republicans are arguing. So we got nepotism,
and we got corruption, we got hardware repair, we got
Ukrainian gas companies. What does that say about the nature
of this conspiracy theory? Well, I think you know, we

can take this. The Hunter Biden laptop is like the
latest thing, right, and so you had in this every
elect and it seems the Republican Party and conservative media
are looking for something to grab hold of. And you
said it yourself earlier that that people are fired up
about this, but they don't really know why. Right, they
know Hunter Biden's laptop is something that they should be
they should be upset about and that that there's something

nefarious there. But you can take a look back at
you know, the her emails, same thing. You know, nobody
really knew what was what was wrong with that, but
they knew that there was something wrong with it. Um
it proved her untrustworthiness, the same thing with you can
go back to. It's also it also proves how little
people know about technology. The fact that you can say

emails and laptop. It's as if America is just a
bunch of seventy four year old grandparents who lost for
remote and they're like, I don't know, it's cinches and devils, right,
that's your controls, the magnets. It's the magnets who could
ever figure these things out. But you just describe the
Republican base right there, right for the most part. I
mean that's and and so they they hear Hunter Biden,

they hear laptop and it just sounds it just sounds nefarious.
And then all right, and then you throw into this
was uncovered by a laptop repairman who contacted the FBI
and talked to the FBI, and you know it, all
the Deep States involved in this now and it's all though,
these little buzzwords that they've they've spent years, you know,

making these into buzzwords, making these into things that Republican
voters just have a reaction to, a visceral reaction just
hearing these words, you know, at this point, and I
know we're going to get into the investigations and stuff
like that, but if you remember back with Benghazi, I
believe it was Kevin McCarthy, he was bragging about how
there would not have been her emails without the Benghazi investigations.

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right, but we put
together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are
her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping? Why because she's untrustable.
But no one would have known any of that had happened,
had we a great And that's really the point of this.
They want to investigate this laptop just so they can

find something to go after Joe Biden and by extension,
the Democratic Party with fun exciting. So let's figure out
what they're gonna what they're gonna find. So, so let's
break this down. Twenty nineteen. There's three water damage laptops
that allegedly Hunter Biden brings to a Delaware computer repair shop,
and the shop owner, who's a Trump supporter, sees the receipt.

It's from Hunter Biden allegedly. He starts going through some
of these files, notices some pictures. He's also legally blind to.
The shopkeeper is a bright and he can't he can't
confirm that it was actually Hunter that dropped it off,
you know, but there is a receipt with what books
to be Hunters Hunter's signature, so you know, give them
the benefit of the doubt. So okay, yes, there's a receipt,

and supposedly Hunter doesn't pay for the repair, and therefore
this is where things get legal. Now there's a moral
question here too. But that laptop, multiple laptops are left
there for past ninety day, so they become the owner
of the repair shop. It's now his laptop. Yes it's
it's it's his property by law. So he starts going

through this stuff and he starts fighting pictures, he starts
fighting emails like what happens next after he he sort
of connects the dots of whose whose laptop this supposedly
is and what he might have on it. Okay, so
this guy's name is John mac Isaac and like you said,
he's he's a conservative Trump supporter. This is all like
you said, you know, twenty nineteen. It's important to sort

of set the time frame as well. This is a
month I think maybe three weeks before the election something
like that. So he's, uh, he's deep into this world
of right wing politics, conservative media. He's very worried about
the deep state, but decide he talks to his dad
about it, who I believe was formerly in the army.
I believe I might be wrong about that, but his

dad recommends any contacts the local FBI field office. UM.
So so he does that. The FBI comes by and
apparently they seize the laptop and that's it. That's the
last time that the laptop was ever actually seen. Um.
Mister Isaac made copies of the laptop and put it
onto a hard drive. Um. And then at that point,

you know, it's just him handing it off trying to
contact Juliani. I know Steve Bannon ended up with with
a copy of it. Um. And and then you end
up with Bannon contacting the New York Post. And that's
sort of how this became a thing. What does he
think he has to begin with he's got a laptop.
It's Hunter Biden. But what what what does he thinks

on the laptop that's worthy of getting it to Steve Bannon. Now,
according to him, he pretty much ignored the salacious pictures,
the salacious details, things like that. He they say, they
say that this thing's got a ton of that, right
that all years and years of of of pictures of
Hunter with UH and sexually compromising positions UH doing, using drugs,

using drugs, things of that nature like that that's on there.
So he claims he's not interested in that. He's not
interested in that. He says, what he's interested in more
is the emails, particularly about foreign policy type stuff. Hunter
stealings with agents of say China. Um and there was
Barismo was the one thing that he was really focused on,

according to Isaac. According to the repairman, and Barismo was
was an energy company where Hunter received I mean it's
basically a no show job a million dollars a year,
you know, a no show job, which again which is
you know, look that sucks, um and and I mean
not for not for him, you know, for him it's great.

But that's like I mean, welcome to America, right, Like
I mean, yeah, like like the sons of politicians get
million dollars a year, no show jobs, and so it's
not really that big of a scandal, but that's what
they're trying to turn it into, you know. Um, and
I'm not too much into like what about what about?
But I mean we're talking about a few months after

Ivanka gets those those trademarks in China for whatever it was,
twenty million dollars, you know, things like that. So at
that point, it's it becomes barisma. And honestly, before this interview,
before I started researching this stuff again, I totally forgot
about barisma, but this was like a huge thing. That
was the big talking point that they're trying to get
stick before stick before that. I think it is. It's

a good point. It shows just how broken this system is,
and I think it is true. I think folks on
the left need to look at this. And there's some
shady stuff that happens, but it didn't look like there
was a connection between Joe Biden having influence and the
money that was paid to his son. Correct, that's sort
of where it stood. Yes, yeah, and it doesn't show that.

But so now what they're doing is they need a thing, right,
Conservatives just need a thing that they can repeat and
what they can say. And you know, I don't know
if you remember. I think there was only one presidential debate,
but in that debate, Donald Trump kept yelling asking Biden
who was the big guy? Who was the big guy?
And that's because there was there was an email where
Hunter said, I'm going to set up a meet with
the big guy. And conservatives are just like, all right,

that proves that's Joe Biden. Joe Biden is meeting with
this business partners, Joe Biden is taking money. You know,
they say, that's what all of this proves, and like
it doesn't, you know, I mean, all the proves is
that Hunter Biden like was connected and got a bunch
of money, and like there's there's there's a scandal there.
But it's not like we're impeaching Joe Biden over this stuff,

you know, And yeah, yeah, we're probably going to be
impeaching Joe Biden over all of this stuff. Yeah yeah.
So at that point is that the smoking gun when
people are talking about what is there are they putting
to this this email that says and maybe am I
correct that there's maybe a couple of emails that reference
one the big guy, a meeting with the big guy

that perhaps Hunter could have was that with because there's
there's Barizma uh, which is Ukraine U created gas company. Yes, right,
but then we also had there's a Chinese there's Chinese
money in there. There's Chinese there was there was a
Chinese company as well. Yeah, that was in there as well,
the Chinese company. And they're paying money to to Hunter
and also Joe's brother is that correct? And yeah, I

mean the whole family is kind of mixed up. I mean,
this is shitty. This is it is what are we
doing where we're are a good we're a good, clean politician.
So so Joe's brothers maybe getting money from China, Hunters
maybe getting money from China. I think the timeline is
important here too, because they're maybe getting money after Joe's
out of power, when he when he wasn't in office. Right,
So so technically, even if Joe's getting money at that point,

not illegal, but not ideal. No, not illegal and certainly
not ideal. I mean I think that's that's definitely fair.
But you know, I mean we're talking about this, it's like,
all right, if you want to make make that type
of stuff illegal, like make it illegal. But it's just
it's it's not right now. Um. And so that's like
that's the world we live in, you know, and it

sucks like it sucks, but that's that's where we're at
right now. Talk to me how the how Fox and
sort of the Meca the Medio echo chambers started to
elevate this story. Yeah, so you know there was when
this four story first broke, This had been shopped around
a lot by ilieve. I'm pretty sure it was Giuliani,

I guess at that point shopping this around. Wall Street
Journal turned it down, So they turned it They went
with the New York Post, who ended up running the story.
And so why are they turning it down because you
can't even I mean, at that point, you can't verify
that it's even actually the laptop. Right. And again, like
we we got to remember like what we're coming off
from in twenty sixteen with just the flood of misinformation

and nonsense. And you know, I've worked on on some
pretty big political campaigns and in the last few weeks
of the election, the press isn't going to just take
something like out of the blue that hasn't been vetted
or verified, or at least most of the press isn't.
You know, well, the press at this point was spooked
because of what happened with Hillary and Trump just weeks before.
Correct exactly, yeah, yeah, and and this type of thing,

there's just no way to vet it. I mean, you
need time to verify that this is true, that there's
actually a scandal here. And you know, we're three weeks
three weeks in, so I'm pretty sure that's why Wall
Street Journal didn't didn't run. So the major media outlets
are not running with this. They're scared to run with it.
But now here we are a couple of years later,
looking back at this, even this week, CBS News has

verified parts of information that's on the hard drive. They
still don't have a laptop. Correct. Yes, it seems as
if there is some verification of what was potentially there,
and there's already criticism of At the time, Facebook was
limiting the amounts of stories that were showing up around hundreds.

Nobody could share it, I think. I don't know anybody
could share. You couldn't share, right, I think, And that
was Zuckerberg at the at that point had been told
by the FBI, Uh, careful because Russian misinformation is all
over the campaign or there's a potential for it, so
be on the lookout for it. Like in hindsight, they're
more there there than the media gave credit to. All right,

maybe there was more there there, but what like just
looking back at twenty sixteen, the firestorm that would have
come out, there was no controversy known at that time
other than like just Hunter Biden has a laptop, right,
and the way that that conservative media and right wing
media works in Unison, it would have drowned out everything else,

you know. But it's about that that Steve Bannon flood
the zone was shit uh strategy. You know, you just
keep throwing stuff out there. And I mean you got
to give conservative media credit for the way that they
all reply in Unison and they can make a thing
out of nothing. Yeah, I mean yeah, the flood the
zone with the shit Bannon strategy, this feels like this
was this had so much shit you could put into

that zone. Yeah, yeah, and that's you know, that's something
that he actually admitted. He said, Um, Hunter Biden's laptop,
you put your own obsessions into it, you know. So
for For Bannon, it was China, you know, he went
he went after and the China thing. For other people,
it was the drugs and the women, you know, and
for others, and you just put whatever it is that
you that is your obsession. You you channel that into like, oh,

that Hunter Biden's laptop proves that that's real. I love it.
It's it's a Maga Rorschach test. Yeah, yeah, exactly, stare
into it. See see your peccadillo staring right back at you.
I think that's fascinating. When Bannon has talked about it correctly.
If I'm wrong, he had some moral issues with the
idea of putting out some of these pictures of Hunter.

I mean, this is some man's privacy. It's it's his
personal pictures. For all the pictures of him with illicit
drug use, there's pictures of like his brother's grave site.
There's all these personal emotional moments that this person put
on their laptop, and then now somebody else has They
have their search histories, they have all these types of things,
and and I believe Ben encountered that with but we're

at war, yes, so you do it. And I think
that's what's so fascinated and where we're so fucked right now,
because there are legitimate things to be curious about with
this information, and we should be critical of people who
have close connections to powerful people. But when it's approached
by operatives who treat this not as an investigation towards

justice but as war, then what you have is people
acting with warlike tendencies who will stop at nothing to
only win that benefits their side, and that doesn't benefit justice,
it benefits the person who is fighting, and that general
at that point, that's somebody like Steve Bannon, who's trying
to rip people off for building a new wall on
the Mexico border at the same time, right well, and

you have to understand, they're not just demanding that the
press cover Hunter Biden's laptop. They're demanding that they cover
it right now the way that I want you to,
you know, and like these outlets, they do have a
responsibility to vet this stuff and make sure that it's
true before putting it out there, especially you know, and
I don't want to repeat myself, but especially when this
is something that would be used in an attempt to
sway the election. Fast forward a couple of months from now, uh,

investigations into the laptop. Is that a good idea for Republicans?
I mean yeah, I mean why wouldn't you. That's just
like targeting this one guy who is just taking advantage
of the system that like we have created. Right, but
that guy, but that guy is the president's son. Yes,
is there are connections there to say we should know

there's no we should know there's no corruption, right, we
absolutely should. Um. At the same time, this is a
system that we've got. And like, if you don't want
nepotism babies or or or the children of wealthy and
powerful politicians to get wealthy and powerful jobs, then like
we need to change the way that we do things overall. Um.
And it's it's not just him, and it's not just

you know, it's not just the Trump kids either. I
mean look at the way look at the you know,
the way that people the Democrats buy stocks, you know,
and and then pass legislation like this is it's everywhere,
and and so that's why like I feel just going
after this one guy is is um, it's so disingenuous,
you know. Um. And but yes we should know if

there's corruption, Yeah, we should know. And if he did
anything Elial, we should be in jail. Of course, if
America is going to look into the Rorschach test, that
is Hunter Biden's laptop, what do you think America begins
to see and begins to pull out, it's gonna be
it is. I mean, what we're gonna see. There might
be something there, but what I think is that we're
just going to see bullshit from Republicans. Um, they're gonna

look for meetings that Hunter tried to set up with
his dad, you know. And then and then do those
companies well do they do they have do they have
connections to Zelenski or do they have connections to Fauci
or you know, I mean you had the guy who
found the laptop, Isaac. He thinks that it shows it

might show proof that Hunter Biden is responsible for the
COVID pandemic, that he was involved in the Wuhan Institute
of Virology, and that that that he was he was
responsible for creating COVID and on leashing it. Like this
is fun. Now we're talking, Yeah, can we tie him
to COVID. It's gonna become a fun parlor game. Pretty soon.

We're gonna be playing this at Christmas where it's like,
can you connect Hunter Biden to COVID? Okay, can you
connect it to the nets having a subpar season this year.
I'm sure there will be caravan, there will be immigration connections.
You know that it's ten degrees of separation. All they
need is to find something that maybe connects to George Soros,

you know, and then all of a sudden, like, oh,
Hunter Biden is involved in the Great Replacement theory. You know.
It's it's things like that. So like, I don't really
know where it's gonna go, but I can tell you
it's going to be a lot of bullshit, you know.
I like what it's done to the Trump family, specifically
the kids. I mean, it's amazing to watch Don Junior

criticize Hunter Biden for saying, like how he wishes his
name was Hunter Biden so he could make money off
his father's name, Which is it's a beautiful thing for
somebody like down Junior to yearn for, as if that
wasn't already the game plan from day one. Make a
ton of money and do absolutely nothing except that, hey,

you can meet my dad. That's a disgusting trade, right
to just use your father's name to make money off
of that. Absolutely, nepotism needs to be looked into big time. Yes,
what do you think about Avonka? Oh, she's so gracious. Yeah, yeah,
totally amazing. I mean it's just the hypocrisy is amazing.
But like that's never bothered them before, you know, And
we're seeing reports of the foreign government spending one hundred

and fifty thousand dollars at Trump hotel, you know, and
things like that, and it's like, that's why, that's why
I have an issue with just like going after this
one person, you know, a hunter, you know, just targeting
him because he's the president's son essentially, and like, um,
I mean that's that it shouldn't happen. But like we
need to be consistent here as well. I guess how
should the media responsibly cover this as as we move forward? Essentially,

what this is and what they need is you said,
you know, when you go to a Trump rally, people
are upset about hunter Biden's laptop and they're not sure why.
That's all they need. They need people to be upset
about this, you know, And that's that's really all it's about.
And the investigations. You asked, what they're gonna uncover. I mean,
Lord only knows where this is going to go, But
where it's really going to go is just keeping that
drum beat, going to keep that buzz those buzzwords hunter

Biden's laptop to get that reaction from from the base.
You know that you're seeing it at Rally's right now. Well,
if Fox News has been pushing this story for a
couple of years now and recently did a mocked trial
of Hunter Biden, what the hell was that all about?
At what point did you decide, sir, to contact the
Federal Guard of Investigation about this matter? When the laptop

became my property and late July, I proceeded to kind
of research what was on it to make sure that
what I had seen was what I perceived as criminal activity. God,
I forgot about that. Oh my god, it was so funny.
It was so funny. Um. Yeah, And they had like

a whole jury and everything, and Judge Joe Brown was
the judge. We'll tell me before we let you go,
like walk me through a little bit as somebody who
watches this for folks who aren't watching Hannity cover this
and amplify this story. How has Hannity taken to this
in the last few years. It is I mean, it's
just the NonStop drumbeat, you know. And I think what

you have to understand about Sean Hannity is his show
is just like a stream of right wing consciousness. It
is just these buzzwords. It's Nelly or it's the FBI
love birds, it's I mean, he still talks about Hillary
Clinton's emails, you know, and so he is he really is,
more so than anybody else on that network. I think
he is the king of these these bullshit conservative buzzwords,

you know. And one of the buzzwords he's one are
the ones he's creating for the Hunter Biden story. Well
it was Bizma, you know a couple a couple of
years ago. Was now he just calls him zero Experience
Hunter Breese Oil and Gas Company, and zero Experience Hunter
is fifty year old son Barisma. Zero Experience Hunter got millions.

And that's not all. The report even found evidence linking
zero Experience Hunter to allege human trafficking quid pro quote
Joe zero Experience Hunter Barisma. Now, if you're not if
you're not in that bubble, in that conservative bubble, what
that refers to is he got the Barizma deal, you know,
a million dollars a year, No show all the other
boards that he said on, you know, but zero zero

experience Hunter. That's Sean Hannity's thing. You know, he just
keeps saying it over and over again, and then he
uses this as as an example of the FBI being
out of control, the DJ targeting conservatives and not going
after Democrats. How there's no such thing as equal justice
under the law in America. I mean, I could I
could do an entire Sean Hannity monologue right now, like
just based off of Hunter's laptop, because it's the same

it's the same thing every single night. But what Hannity
understands is that it's that repetition. It's that repetition that
leads to the people outside the Trump rallies being upset
about Hunter Biden's laptop. You know, you say this stuff
over and over and over and over again, it just
becomes accepted as truth. Um, same thing that that you know,
crime and inflation are going to be the top issues

in the election. You know, it's just they keep saying
that stuff and it becomes the reality and and uh yeah, yeah,
zero experience. Hunter would definitely be Handedy's favorite buzzword though
on this and you know I deal with this as well.
It's it's that balance between like this is hilarious, this
is so funny versus like this is dangerous and like
actually scary that so many people believe it. Um And

and it's you know, it's about the conservative movement taking
advantage of those people. I think more than anything else.
How much is that an element in the Hunter Biden's story,
because again, what does get glossed over is this is
a man's private cache of his his communications, his search histories,
and his relationship with his family and his his his

loved ones. It is something to just dub out everything
that was on your phone run your laptop for the
world to see. It feels like we don't even grapple
with the idea of whether or not we should. We
just jump right to whether or not that we could right. Yeah, exactly,
And it's um, you know, as far as I know that,
like you said, this laptop if if it is his laptop,

it seems to be acquired legally, you know, but it's
it's horrifying and we saw this, We've seen them do
this quite a bit actually, if you remember Peter Strock
and it was at least a page. I think they're
like they're they're sexty and like became public and was
thrown up on Fox News every single night. You know,
they will do this if they have an opportunity. I

think there was also, and I don't know if you
were aware of this, but Biden's daughter's diary was stolen
and that never came out because there's serious legal implications
into that right now. But Tucker Carlson has seen it
and he sits there and he regurgitates parts of it
and stuff like that. I mean, this is I think
she was pretty young, maybe late teens, early teens when
when she was writing this. And you know, if you

watch Tucker, he'll throw in every single once in a while,
he'll throw in that Hunters Joe used to shower with
his daughter because apparently there's a passage in there about
about that when she was younger, which you know, um,
but it's yeah, it's that type of stuff. It's that's
what they don't care. They don't have morals, and that's
why it's so silly for you know, when when Steve
Bannon said like, yeah, it kind it kind of feels gross,

but like we're at war, Like, no, that's just your
justification for doing it. Like, I don't think it feels
gross to Bannon. You know, he's a gross, disgusting guy
made of you know, spores and loose skin. I don't know.
You know, the Bannons and the Tuckers and the Hanna days,
you know, they really speak towards family values and bringing
back the morality to America and civility. And how are

you going to smash the pedophiles if you don't go
through the diary of a teenager? Thank God that they're
all very normal people. Well, Andrew, thank you for talking
to it. Yeah, of course, short. This was so much fun, man,
I really appreciate it. After the break, I'll be joined
by Congressman Jerry Connolly. We'll be talking about his role
on the House Oversight Committee and how he plans to
approach the investigation on Hunter Biden's laptop. Welcome back to

Jordan Klepper Fingers the conspiracy. We're talking about Hunter Biden's
laptop because Republicans won the House and apparently that's the
issue that they think Americans care about the most. To
be clear, Joe Biden is the big guy. This evidence
raises troubling questions about whether President Biden is a national

security risk and about whether he is compromised by foreign government.
That was James Comer, the incoming chairman of the House
Oversight Committee, announcing the upcoming investigation into Hunter, Biden and
the laptop. For those of you who think government committee
hearings are dry and sterile, I have one word for you,
ben Ghazi. You can bet all your crypto that House

Republicans will use the Hunter hearings to make it seem
like an explosive scandal worthy of impeachment. So we're gonna
talk to a Democrat who sits on that committee right
now to see what that's going to be like. How fun,
Congressman Jerry Connelly and Virginia thanks for joining the podcast,
My pleasure, Jordan. So, Congressman, it's a guarantee that these

hearings are going to get coverage in the mainstream media,
which means there's gonna be a lot of baseless allegations
coming from Republicans that will be aired on news channels,
and there's only so much fact checking that journalists can do.
Do you see your role on this committee as part
fact checker. Oh yeah, we've been through this before, and
I think I think it's really important joy to put

it in context. Right, So, when the Republicans were in
the majority last time, and we had a Democrat in
the White House, President Obama for six years, they breathlessly
presented and the media, unfortunately, was complicit in giving them
exactly what they wanted headlines, endless, breathless stories or Clinton's emails.

You mentioned Benghazi, Lois Lerner and the irs, fast and
furious Obamacare, Uh, you know, uh, funding solar solar energy
and the great scandal of the waste of all of that.
Not one of those so called investigations led to anything anything,

not an indictment, not a trial. I mean, it was
all uh you know, sound and fury, all done for
one purpose to undermine two political figures, President Obama and
Hillary Clinton. And unfortunately, the mainstream media, as you point out,
doesn't spend much time doing fact checking itself. And you

know they'll ask people like me, well, yeah, well, Congressman,
you know, they they assert, they allege, and I'm thinking, well,
even framing a question that way, it gives it credence
when there may be none. The supposition behind that question
is completely false, based on either fabrication, distortion, insinuation, or

no facts whatsoever, And that doesn't seem to matter, and
so it kind of puts us in a disadvantage when
we even get asked those questions. It's not unfair to
ask them, but it sure would be nice that the
media took a little responsibility now and then, instead of
absolving itself and allowing the insinuation that there's something to this. So,

I mean, you know what's coming. What is your strategy?
Are you going to attempt to discredit the very nature
of this investigation itself? Do you call attention to the
Fox News fever dream that this whole thing is or
or do you admit that there are some elements of
Hunter Biden's activity that is of itself worth investigating. I'm

certainly not in advance going to conceive anything they're asserting
is worth investigating, and I AM going to spend a
lot of time talking about what should be investigated that
they don't want to talk about. For example, in the
same press conference where you cided, you know, James Comer said, well,
why don't we just stop, you know, stick with Hunter Biden.

That's what I wanted. That's really what I want to
focus on. If we can keep it about Hunter Biden.
This is kind of a big deal. We think if
we can keep it about Hunter Biden, that would be great.
He admitted he didn't want to focus on the fact
that illegally President Trump has kept classified documents in moral

lago against the law and lied about it and is
being investigated as we speak, for criminal behavior with respect
to that. Well, uh, I thought you wanted genuine oversight.
That's a genuine oversight issue. Now. Of course, the world
is replete with similar genuine overside issues when it comes

to Trump and his acolytes and his administration, not one
of which, not one of which Republicans want to look at.
They never supported a single subpoena when they were in
the majority and Trump was in the White House for
anything having to do with oversight of the Trump administration,
not one. Well, we may need to elect an entire
House of representatives to deal with the issues and investigate

all of those Trump era issues. But I guess I'm curious,
Like it's always easy for us to for both sides
to point out what the other side should be looking
into and I think this is it's pretty clear in
a situation like this. However, there are details within this
Hunter Biden story that do rub people the wrong way.
People on both sides of the aisle are skeptical of

somebody who is this close to the president of the
United States being close to foreign governments at a time
where the details are sketchy, although we know it's going
to be weaponized and you know the show that is
going to be put on. What do you say to
those people who are like, I'm still I'm still nervous
about this situation and do think we should investigate that?

Do you say, yes, we should, but this is not
the place whether they will get a fair investigation, or
do you just discredit that idea on its surface? Well,
anyone who thinks that this would be a fair investigation,
you know, balanced there. Let the truth come out. It's
smoking something, because that is not the motor stop runde.
It is very clear. The Republicans have already and been

saying this for several years. Right, don't forget it was
Donald Trump who committed a criminal act, we felt, and
he was impeached for it with respect to Hunter, because
he was extorting a foreign leader with our military assistance,
which now we know was badly needed in the Ukraine

in order to get political dirt on hunter By. So
the whole so called investigation is tainted going back to
that what Trump called perfect phone call. And so I'm
not going to provide any legitimacy to that line of
inquiry unless something is presented to me that would qualify

for yeah, all right, that's troubling. We have to look
at it. So I'm not going to concede that at
all in advance. And I am going to point out that,
you know, what little fact checking has been done in
the press about this, and I cite Glenn Kessler, the
Washington Post is sort of their official fact checker. You know,
they're looking at one email out of something like one
hundred and twenty two thousand that is subject to interpretation.

They're looking at some great scandal about keys to an
office in Spain that und divided in fact never picked up,
but that somehow that's a big conspiracy. I would say,
there's really thin rule here so far, and the idea
that we're going to put the entire weight of the

Oversight Committee of the United States Congress behind such anemic evidence,
and then Gruel worries me greatly. But as part of
the pattern of my friends on the other side of
the aisle, going back to Dan Burton and Clinton, I mean,
maybe this shows that it is a dying fire and
these are the embers if we've gone from but her

emails too, but his email singular, maybe that showing progress
in some way. You bring up something interesting. You've been
on this committee for years. Some of these Republicans Jim Jordan,
Andy Biggs, Andrew Clyde, they love a good conspiracy. They've
denied the twenty twenty election was real. Spread January sixth
conspiracy theories. How can you use your platform on the

committee to help a viewer who maybe doesn't know their context.
How do you let them understand the full context of
where they're coming from. The good news about our process
is when we have a markup of legislation or when
we a hearing, we Democrats get equal time. And you

know that's why the leadership of our committee is going
to really matter. Can we cohere and forge our voice
as one to push back, get the facts out, tell
the truth, and puncture their false narrative in an effective way.
That is critical when you're in the minority and you're
defending a democratic white House, and if you don't do that,

you know they controlled the narrative. So fighting for control
of the narrative and making sure that you repeat, rent,
and repeat when it comes to facts, do not assume that,
having said it once, it's in everybody's head. That's not
how human beings work. And in our media market today,

given the multiplicity of sources of news, accurate and falls
and everything in between, you've got to really spend time
making sure or that the truth penetrates consciousness and public opinion.
What does that look like? What are some of the
tactics there? I think I think about the January six hearings,

which many people would say are have been effectively communicated.
Perhaps the lesson there is just don't invite the other
side of the table. It's really easier to get your
point across. UH. Perhaps it's the use of video. Perhaps
it's just the repetition of baseline facts, like are there
are there elements that you could draw from uh from
from from those hearings that you'd like to bring to

the forefront here. I think we talk about Benghazi, we
talk about those things. You know, you know the machine
that is going to be behind this narrative. So how
do you get out ahead of it? How do you
change what Democrats did six years ago to be more
effective in the upcoming year. I don't think there's any
one tactic, but there are a lot of tools in
the kit bag, and one of them is humor. I

remember once they were you know, you got the Democrats
are going to rely on humor. Oh my god, what
are we doing, congressman. I'll give you an example six
of your sweet spot. I'm sorry, I'm irish, and how
to use humor. I'll give you an example. We had
a career civil servant from i RS and the Republicans

hauled her before our committee. They were in the majority,
and her job was to enforce the Provision and Affordable
Care Act that you would be fine if you didn't
have health insurance, by the way, a provision that was
a Republican idea that was enshrined in Romney Care in
Massachusetts that we took on. But they just excoriated her,

And you know, I was getting agitated waiting my turn,
and I thought, you know, there's another bit of which
I'm going to say that, And then I thought, you know,
that's not the effective way of making the point. And
they're looking for a headline tomorrow that's going to say
Republicans accused I RS official love, you know, subverting American
freedom or something. And so I when it came down

to my turn, I said to her, so you're under oath.
She went yes. I said, I want to remind you
you're under oath. She went okay. I said, have you
been consorting with the devil? Not? To my knowledge, sir,
are reports that you can fly accurate, greatly exaggerated? Sir?

Have you been involved in any way and trying to
pervert our youth in Salem or anywhere else? I certainly
hope not, sir. You're sure, yes, sir. The looks on
their faces like, what is it? Oh my god God,
because people were now lapping. Well, the next day the headline,

instead of the one the Republicans wanted was I R.
S Officials denies consorting with devil. People were howling with laughter.
It completely punctured their narrative. So sometimes humor can be
a tool too, But a lot of this is too serious.
I mean, honestly, what's so interesting? Because I hear you
on that, and I do think it's almost in an

example like that, we've been talking a little bit about
the Steve Bannon flood, the flood, the narrative with bullshit,
get it out there, like how much of it of
it is that? Are we? Are we using humor in
that sense to be like, we know what people are
going to click on, we know what people are going
to talk about, and if we can be outlandish in
our approach from a satirical point of view, that can

trump somebody else being outlandish from perhaps a more politically
advantageous point of view. Absolutely. There was another time they
had an FBI official who had privately expressed support for
demo for I'm sorry, had privately expressed criticism of Donald Trump.
This is early in Trump's tenure, and they were just
again excoriating him. So when it came down to my turn,

I started reading criticisms of Trump without identifying who said it,
and I said, so, that was you, right, And before
the witness could answer, I went, oh, no, I'm sorry,
that was Mark a Rubio, Republican senator, and then I
just went to you know, and of course by the
time I was finished, people again we're, you know, snidely chuckling.
But it completely exposed the hypocrisy of the Republicans for

attacking this guy for criticizing Trump when at the same
time they were doing it too. Congressman, I got I
gotta say, using hypocrisy as a stand in for humor,
that's my lane. So back off. You're gonna use Rubio's
words against him and the whole GOP. What else do
we have out there? It's dangerous business. But you know,

it goes to the old line a friend of mine,
humorous Jim Borne wants, used to say, if you're going
to be a phony, at least be sincere about it.
It feels like a lot of the Republican strategy is
to work the refs, bully the mainstream media into covering
it as a legitimate man of scandal. Do you think
that's working. I think it works all too well, all

too often, and that's why we have to be much
better at our game. And that's why we have to
be discipline and coordinated. I mean, you can't this can't
be one off. This can't be one rogue member who
maybe is effective, but everybody else is doing that thing.
And that's why you know, in the minority especially, our

committee is going to have to be organized, strategic, and
as I said, discipline, both in messaging and in the
attack of their narrative. You know what's the best way
to do that to get the truth to the American
people and through the media. Have you thought about starting
an improv group if you're going to utilize both humor

and teamwork with a coherent message, perhaps some sort of
yes and exercise some trust falls. I know a lot
of out of work people in Chicago right now who
could come, get on a plane and teach you guys
some basics of improv to save democracy. I have enjoyed
improv in Chicago myself for many years, and it can
be It can be very useful, but it's not a

substitute though, for discipline, narrative discipline, lines of questioning and
taking the fight to the other side. When they are
propounding fabricated narratives, when they are distorting facts, peddling conspiracy
theories that are without foundation, and sometimes just flat out

making it up. They don't they don't have a compunction
about that. We do, which is sometimes to our disadvantage.
Although I'd rather be where we are than they are.
But that means we've got to be doubly more effective
in puncturing what they're doing. What Congressman, you sound like
my parents. Improv, although valid, is no substitute for real

hard work and fact checking. I get it. I should
be a doctor or an architect. I think we can
both degree. If the fate of our democracy lies on improv,
we might be in a bad place. Um, I'm curious.
Do you think House Republicans are planning on using this
investigation as a basis to impeach President Biden. I mean,
there's a crowd of them that's already decided that's what

they want to do. I think I think they would
have trouble right now selling that to enough people in
their own caucus to have the votes. Frankly, there is
a there is a dwindling group of more common sense
Republicans and modern Republicans who are very uneasy about the

hard ideological tilt of the Freedom Caucus and their accolytes
and would like to find a way to reassert themselves
and what they believe is what's going to be necessary
if the Republicans are really ever gonna be successful again
in American political life. In terms of a real serious,

working majority. I think that there are some built in
breaks on that, And what I predict is that the
Republicans on our committee will do what they always do,
which is overreach, right, And when they do that, they
lose public support and they lose credibility, and in this

particular case, they're likely to alienate some of those more
moderate numbers of their caucus, albeit and dweling numbers they
need to get to eighteen. Do you think that you
really think they will alienate It feels like there's there's
rarely any pushback or political repercussions for appearing hawkish and overstepping. Yes,

but you asked about impeachment. Impeachment is a different matter,
and you do think that is a line for most Americans?
You think they will see that just as a craven
partisan overreach. Yeah. I don't think anybody in America. Well,
let me with I simply don't think that's a majority
opinion at all, not even close. That there's something unseemly

about Joe Biden that desperately needs to be investigated. And
we just had a midterm election. They tried out that theme.
It didn't work, you know, Americans did not vote to
have hard line accountability for Joe Biden because he's getting
away with stuff, and that's why we need a Republican majority.
They barely got a majority, they and they didn't get

one in the US Senate. They lost governor seats net,
they lost legislative seats net, and they barely won the House.
So I hardly think that's a mandate to go at it.
And that says something about I'm not saying that Americans
don't want accountability. They're not persuaded that Joe Biden has
done anything that merits that kind of you know, which, Huntsman,

are you optimistic going into this next year that the
American public will be able to sift through and see
through the bs. We live in a world with so
much in front of us, right, you know, we don't
live anymore where in a world where you know, I
get my news in the evening broadcast for thirty minutes

on one of three choices. Those days are long gone, right,
So there's this fog of news and data being presented
to me an opinion, and I'm somehow expected to separate
the truth from the non truth or the half truth,
and the facts from the fiction. So that's why it's
so important we do our jobs and do them well

that we help the American listener, viewer, voter separate what's
true from what is not true. And that's, as I said,
why I think our committee is going to be on
the front line of this this struggle, and it's a
struggle as much for the truth as it is for

political advantage or partisan gang. Well, Congressman Jerry Connelly, thank
you so much for joining the podcast, and let me
know if you need any punch ups on jokes. I
work for cheap and I'd like to help this democracy.
I'll come back to you on an improv Thank you.
After the break, we're going to be joined by author

and journalist Tiffany Cross. We're going to dive even more
into media coverage behind Hunter Biden's laptop. We'll be right back.
Welcome back to Jordan Clepper Fingers. The conspiracy we're talking
about Hunter Biden's laptop basically the right wing fever dream
that a MacBook Pro that was left at a computer

repair shop in Delaware proves that the Biden family was
doing corruption in Ukraine. And that was before it was
cool to know about stuff in Ukraine and also China
is involved. Obviously, if you watch Fox News or Newsmax
or Max News or Real American Truth or any other
right wing media that sounds like it was created by

a Steve Bannon word generator, you're probably extremely familiar with
the weird details of the Hunter Biden saga. But if
you get your news from real places, you might only
know some of it, and that creates a minor dilemma.
House Republicans are about to start investigating Hunter Biden, and
that means it's probably going to get a lot of
coverage on mainstream outlets. So if the role of the

news media is to cover what's happening but also to
stop the spread of misinformation, what are journalists supposed to
do here? To help us answer that question, we're going
to talk to Tiffany Cross, an author, journalist, cable news veteran,
and until recently she was the host of The Cross
Connection on MSNBC. Tiffany, thanks so much for talking to

us here today. Thanks for having me Jordan, It's great
to be connected today. Yes, So, this Hunter Biden laptop
story poses an interesting problem for the news media. On
one hand, it's an obsession fanned by right wing trolls
who most of the time can be ignored. But on
the other hand, Republicans are taking over the House of

Representatives and they're going to launch congressional investigations into it,
hoping for media coverage that makes the investigation look like
a legitimate process. So I guess the big question is
can you have a legitimate investigation into something run by
the people who think January sixth was antifa? Right, I

would say no, And I wish that more people in
the news media would be so direct and honest about that.
You know, when we talk about corruption in this whole
incident with a Hunter Biden campaign or the Hunter Biden
laptop rather in Ukraine, I think it's really important to
remember what the Ukraine story is, and that is that
Donald Trump was trying to hold up hundreds of millions
of dollars in support for Ukraine because he wanted President

Zelinsky to investigate his political rivals. That is the story.
The counterpoint to that story was Republicans trying to institute
this laptop storyline. And so when you have people who
employ the logic of bad actors like Lauren Berberd or
Marjorie Taylor Greene, who will have committee assignments. You know,

the Republicans have taken over the House. Now we don't
know what leadership looks like. We don't know who the
Speaker of the House will be. Kevin McCarthy is quite
embroiled in his own battles. I think it is very
dangerous to pretend that these are intellectual people, that these
are people acting in good faith, or that these are
people who give a damn about democracy, because they don't
see your point. They said January sixth was Antifa. We

have seen quite blatantly these folks lie. They have said that,
you know, they were like tourists walking through the Capitol,
even though we saw Republican members of Congress themselves helping
to barricade a door. And so it seems to be
yet again a lesson that the news media has not learned,
and they make such great overtures to this right wing

extremist Republican Party, and they have not yet accepted what
we as all Americans, have witnessed, and that is there
are no right wing extremists and a separate group of Republicans.
These two factions have merged. And so if you're going
to turn over political investigations to right wing extremists, then
you're going to essentially waive the white flag on democracy

and say goodbye. This is feels like the series finale
of the Great American Experiment, and as you can see,
it ain't going so well. Tune in everybody, I guess
it brings in interesting questions. Though you're right they they
may not believe in the tenets of democracy, But is
there a point of view in and of itself news
which should be covered because people will look at this

Hunter Biden laptop story and it is in many way
you used as a distraction, But there is news to
be made in there. There is perhaps an investigation that
could happen around this, whether or not it's a legitimate one,
who knows. But you bring up people like Bobert a
lot of times. The news doesn't have to report on
all of the wilder things that perhaps somebody like a

Bobert will say. But then you'll have people like Kevin McCarthy,
who very well could be the Leader of the House,
who will repeat those talking points. So what do you
say to a journalist who says, if Kevin McCarthy is
the Speaker of the House, and he says something that
means that it is news that must be reported. I
think it's fine to report that through the proper context.
I think what we have seen is the news media

goes out of its way to present something that is
factual or something that is at least based in some
level of intellect, and then they will take something asinine
and present both of these things as though they are
equal in thought. So if I say, hey, Jordan, it's
raining outside, and it's in fact raining outside, and you say, well,
there are purple unicorns falling from the sky outside, the

answer to that is not, well, some say it's raining outside,
and some say there are purple unicorns, you know, falling
from the sky. We'll let you decide. We're fair and balance.
That's bullsit and we ought to be honest about that.
And I think, you know, I think why you have
so much of that is because again one of my
big passions, um to my my career has been newsroom diversity.
And so when you have people in these newsrooms who

make these overtures to Trump fanatics, you know, to these
cult members who are believers um of the Maga doctrine,
that you've so brilliantly highlighted um in your comedic reporting
for the Daily Show. You've done better reporting the most
journalists out there, Um, and just let these people talk
and say what they believe. Make no mistake, we have

the guns and we are now in the streets. Can
I ask why're carrying a pitchfork? Well, pitchfork is a
just iconic representation of how of what people over time
have done in this cart it field rulling a weapon's
farm equipment, and it's legal in this, in this in
the city. Yeah, are you farming today? It's it's it's
a representation. We're not asking for violence right now. I

gotta tell you from the movies I've seen the the
hordes of people with pitchforts are usually the bad guy.
And when you have people who say, well, you know,
all these people aren't so bad because my grandmother is
a Trump supporter and she's my nanna and she's so sweet,
or my dad supports Trump. I try to talk him
out of it, but he still believes that. But they're
not bad people. Me on the other side, I'm saying,
I'm sorry to tell you, but they actually are pieces

of shit. You know, these are horrible people. Who are
supporting a horrible man who says horrible, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic things.
And if you can't call your family out on that,
then that is a problem because now you're penetrating the
atmosphere where it's supposed to be truthful information and not
a you know, a sympathy fest for people who would
see folks who look like me oppressed. And that has

created such a chasm in media Jordan. It is two
people have now tuned out media. I mean you look
at cable news and it's really a melting ice cube
at this point. And when people do not trust that
there is no reputable outlet where they can get this
kind of information, they find their news and information from
other sources, and those sources are not always reputable. And

we saw what happened with that in twenty sixteen. A
lot of people felt like their lived experience was reflected
in an Internet meme. What we later learned that was
the you know, Internet Russia agency, who also did not
care about American democracy. And when they looked at this
country and said how can we mess with American democracy?
It took them all of two months to say, oh,
white supremacy, that's it. That's how that's their greatest weakness

and we will tap into that. And this is really
an extension of that philosophy. I can't wait for the
Tiffany Cross How to Do Thanksgiving with Relatives book, Call
the pieces of shit out and move on, Belise my Thanksgiving.
We don't have that problem, but a lot of people's
tables they do. And I think that is the you know,
with allies and people who you know want to get

in this fight. It's like, yes, start in your own home,
challenge your own family, because it is not my job
to convince the you know, willfully ignorant people to not
believe in a man who's lying to them. And it
is not my job to extend empathy or sympathy to
people who feel that way. I don't know how to
meet a bigot in the middle. So if that is

how people feel, it's start there, Start there, at your
own table. And that brings up an interesting question, because
I do think that's a question I get on the
road a bunch. Are you ever able to change somebody's
mind or what have you? And that's not the intention
of the pieces that we go out to do. I
think more often than not, it's to confront people with
logical fallacies that we see back home and see what

the reality is in the field. But I do think
it's interesting it's somebody a member of the media. There
is this chasm here. There's a chasm also a bad
information that people are getting, And I do think you
want to have empathy for those people who have been
getting given such misinformation. How do you balance the deliverance
of real news with the idea of showing a certain

amount of empathy and an outreache towards perhaps voices and
people who who who aren't willing to meet in the middle. Well,
I would challenge the first part of empathy. UM. I
think if you do have empathy, um, Jordan, for some
of the folks you have spoken with, that's not such
a bad thing. Um. You know, perhaps I can understand that,

as long as you're not asking me to have empathy. UM.
I do not have empathy for people who have bought
into um a lie or a myth or a system
that means my oppression. I don't have any empathy for
such people at all. I actually think the country would
be better off without those people having an influence on

what this democracy looks like or how this government works.
But that is not the way American democracy was designed.
I think when it comes to reporting these things, UM,
and in the media landscape, UM, you run the risk
of having a large number of the population I would
call the rising majority. UM. Tune you out when you're
when your perspective, when the starting point is we have

empathy for these people who feel this way because you
do not hear people. Well, look, the Nazis were fed
a bunch of bad information. We have to have empathy
for them. Get the fuck out of here, like we
would never say that, we would never believe that, you know.
And so why am I being asked to have empathy
for the people who would see me staying in a
dilapidated community, sending my children to dilapidated schools, living in

rundown neighborhoods and say, well, that's just how it goes
because they can't win, because if they win, that means
I'm losing. I have no empathy tivity. I gotta see.
If you don't think people are showing empathy towards Nazis,
you're just not on Twitter anymore. You're right, and elon
not Twitter. It is the land of empathy for Nazis.
I would say it's a surprisingly popular opinion that's really

somehow coming back in vogue. I guess I have a
question who makes those decisions about what gets covered and
what doesn't get covered at a network level. Is its anchors,
Is it producers, news executives. Is there a conversation that
happens in the newsroom. Well, it's a variety of things,
and I think it all depends on the news room.
You know, broadcast has a different set of rules in print.

When I was in cable news, I made the decisions
about what I covered on my show, but I did
not do so without a fight. Um. You know, there
are assignment desk assignment editors, and there are people who
oversee and people who oversaw my show. And it was
always a fight because you know, it's like the echo chambers, right,
Like the three news networks are covering mostly the same things.

I mean, now, you know Fox would be an outlier
and you know, still cover Hillary's emails, But for the
most part, people were covering the same stories throughout the day.
I was very intentional about disrupting that and um, talking
about stories that impacted community's color policy, you know, people
who live below the poverty line. I wanted to have
conversations that were being had in the corner office, as

well as the barbershop, as well as the beauty salon,
as well as on the block, you know, for the
old men who sit outside in front of the you know,
convenience store all day. I wanted everyone to feel like
they had a home, and I wanted to reflect the
lived experience of everyone. But we talked a lot on
this show about the tragedy of America's maternal mortality rates,
especially the disparity that claims black and Indigenous women at

three times the rate as white women. Imagine being without
clean water for six straight days. Well, that's the reality
right now for the one hundred and fifty thousand residents
of Mississippi's largest city, all right after centuries of genocide
and oppression. Imagine seeing your ancestors stolen belongings sit in
a museum and you're told you can't have them, you

can't touch them or even photograph them. You take something
even as simple as the economy, right. You know a
lot of people you know in these morning news shows
and they say, oh, look, the economy is doing well,
you know, the market is up, and it's like the
market is not the economy. And if you go and
talk to people in my pre gentrified neighborhood, they would
not say the economy is doing well. You take labor
reports and they're like, oh, we added x amount of

new jobs and here's the unemployment numbers. Well, that's the
overall unemployment numbers. But when you disaggregate that data and
look at unemployment for black people, for Latino people, we
build disrespected when you say, oh, the job of reports
numbers are great. And so the more that people kind
of centralize white perspective and white voices, it leaves so
many people out. And so when you talk about newsroom

diversity and who makes these decisions, don't come tell me
that you just hired you know, you know fifty percent
of people of color and women, and they're all entry
level employees or mid level management. Put those people in
the c suite. Put those people in decision making positions
so they can disrupt the echo chambers in a meaningful way.
Because what is it twenty five year old to do
When a fifty five year old is in charge of

the entire newsroom and they're making a decision that runs
contrary to the lived experience or belief system or you know,
experiences of the rising majority. They don't always have or
feel the sense of agency to challenge that, and so
when they don't have that, they either exit the business
or they become a part of this machine that keeps
doing the same thing over and over and it never

gets disrupted or changed forever. Those battles that you're having
in the newsroom with your show on MSNBC, the Cross Connection,
how much did you have to split your time being
the host of that show, helping create the narrative of
that show, the stories you wanted to cover, and also
what sounds like a teacher of this experienced did you

find yourself having put on those two hats? Were you
surprised by that culture at MSNBC. Yes, I put on
those hats out every day, and so what I found
on my show is I would have to do something
to please network executives, and then I would have to
do the rest of my program to please the viewers.
And those things often went like this. You know, if
I was going to please the executives, fine, I will

do two segments on Trump, because that's what everybody wanted,
you know, the networking executives wanted to talk about Trump. However,
if you know, you know, one of the members of
the group Migos was murdered, well that was something that
a lot of people were talking about, especially on the
hills of so many other hip hop artists being murdered.
So that was going to be something to please viewers.

If there was a story about indigenous communities, you know,
having to travel over two hours to vote, that was
something that was going to please viewers. If we were
going to do something on the Asian American Pacific Islander
community being the fastest growing demographic in the country but
yet no political parties are reaching out to them, that
was something that was going to please viewers. And so,
you know, the way my bank account was set up,

I had to at least do something to please network executives.
But it was always my mission, you know, and I
would encourage you know, anybody who wants to pursue any
career when you are mission driven, and I was mission driven,
and my mission was for the equality and liberation of Black,
Indigenous and people of color, the rising majority of the country.
That was my mission. And so nothing was going to

sway me from that mission, and I knew if I
ever fell out of favor with network executives, that would
have to be okay, because my mission was to elevate
the lived experiences and to hold the line for the
people who were very much architects of this country and
very much deserve to have their voices and actives heard,

particularly after centuries of being so violently silenced. No, I
mean your your show was canceled days before the midterms,
four days before the mid terms, an important voice in
this conversation and made a lot of news. And there
are a lot of questions how much how much did
you find that your personal mission was out of touch

with whatever MSNBC's mission was. Um, well, I felt that
pretty early on UM. Every week I had to defend
and fight for segments that we did. Uh you know,
did that feel? Did that feel contrary to what other
hosts at MSNBC we're having to do with their own shows? Yeah? Um,
you know, I would say my colleague Joy Read and

I probably had the most UM pushback on our shows. Um.
But there were also things that other hosts would do
that would make it easier for us, which again is problematic. Um.
My colleague Ari melbur Um. You know it's a big
hip hop fan. If you watch five minutes of his show,
you know that he quotes rapp lyrics all the time time.
And it was fine when the white man did it.
You know, when the white man didn't, it made it

easier for everybody else to do it. But let the
black woman start out doing that, and they would have
made a major problem, a major problem. But he was
celebrated for doing that, Tippy. It was it was never
fine when a Melbourne did that. It was never fine.
That was never accepted amongst the audience members. Well, he
could get rap artists on his show, and you know
they they seem to you know, play into it. But

either way, Um, you know, you look at Morning Joe,
my former colleagues Joe and Mika. I mean we got
the term moscow Mitch from Joe Scarborough. Um. But if
you know, you know, if if Joy or I you know,
were to to say something similar, it was like, hey,
we don't really want name calling. Um. But even if
you take it out of MSNBC and just look at
the media landscape in general, um, and some of the

more colloquial conversations that happened. When it comes to voters,
they were so often in the media landscape that you
would hear terms like um, soccer moms, Nascar ads. Well,
those were all euphemisms for white voters. And it's not
that black people could not you know, have that same
um moniker as well. But we understood what that to me,

that what those terms meant. It did not feel inclusive
of the black experience, which is the biggest voting block
when it comes to Democratic to the Democratic Party. And
so even when they did voters of the heartland. Um,
you know, you go to these diners in the middle
of nowhere where apparently no Black people have ever been
or ever eaten, and that was voters of the heartland.

But why not go to a basketball game in southwest
Atlanta after it let out and talk to the parents there?
Are they not voters of the heartland in a purple state,
I'd add, um, why can't we have like basketball dads
or you know, the untie voting block or something that
reflects my lived experience. Even when you have UM candidates
on and you'd have you know, these Democratic candidates and

the anchor would always press them, how are you going
to appeal to these red state voters. How are you
going to, you know, get these voters who's at home?
It's how are they going to come over to you?
I have yet to see somebody ask a Republican MAGA voter,
how are you going to appeal you want to penetrate
Democratic part How are you want to appeal the bass vote?
Are black voters your party seems to outstand for a
lot of things that runs contrary to what black voters want.

How are you going to appeal to them? How are
you going to appeal to the changing demographics? People of
color are increasingly becoming the base vote. What are your
policies that speak to that demographic? Those things never happened.
I was never able to get Republicans to come out
on my show because they did not want to answer
those types of questions. But access journalism would grant you
an interview with Ted Crews or Marjorie Taylor Green, or

the guy, the Senate guy, the Senate candidate Ron Johnson,
the Trump accolyte who was running for Senate in Wisconsin.
He would happily go on those shows if he knew
it was going to be an easy interview. And that
does not serve anybody but the anchor itself. It certainly
does not serve viewers or voters. And you bring up
an energy point is in twenty sixteen, after the media

landscape was quote unquote surprised by the red wave the Trumpism,
there there was all you saw was anchors in these
small little diners. And now we have this midterm election
where everybody's shocked by the blue whether whether you call
it the blue pushback right there, we're not seeing anybody

go to these other democratic areas and try to figure
them out. I guess I think you're you're you're hitting
on something that there are a lot of perhaps progressives
out there who look at a place, who look at
the media landscape. Everybody's picking their own media outlets to
try to tell them perhaps the story that they think
one elucidates the world that they see, or the story

that makes them feel better about themselves. More often than not,
there are those places in the mass media market that
people look at and we don't have to go all
in on MSNBC, but I do know that as a
place for a lot of people who look at that
as having a left leading perspective, who will take in
a lot of these considerations, and I think hearing some
of your stories here is depressing to hear that even

even these ideas of being inclusive in the stories that
we tell is meeting such resistance at at these levels.
Like where do you see these stories being able to
be told? Clearly we know where they need to be
able to be told. Where are you seeing examples of
them being told? Well, I think social media has really
democratized who has a voice in this space, which has

come with great benefits to democracy but also to some
of our demise. Right, Like we talked a little bit
about Twitter, which you know, you have superstars on Twitter
who we really don't know who they are, We just
know their avatar. You know, you have people who just
create these YouTube shows who can just declare themselves journalists
who might not have the journalistic acumen to really interview.

The podcast Drink Champs, you know when they had Kanye
on that podcast, Well that wasn't a journalist, you know,
that was somebody having a drink with Kanye. So there
wasn't the space to challenge some of the things that
he said. And so, you know, I think the good
thing about it is their space and it has made
everybody wake up and say, well, wait a second. You

know a lot of people are getting their news from
other places, like the Daily Show, quite honestly, and I
have been a long, long time fan of the Daily Show,
but I do think, well, that should not be your
only news outlet. You know, you do have to supplement
that even my show. And people would say, I don't
watch any news except for your show. It would make
me a little nervous because it's like, well, I'm a
perspective host, and you know I'm giving you my perspective.

It would be helpful if you had some of the
baseline stuff. And you and I both know print drives broadcast.
Print journalism drives broadcast journal room. Everybody starts out reading
the paper, read six seven, eight papers. But even there
there's a lack of newsroom diversity. So I don't know
that I can say where news should be consumed. I

would say the best answer I could give to that
is stay tuned to where I am. A final question
in here, do you think the media is glad Trump's
running again? I do? I do. I think Trump gave
the cable news network such a boom that they salivated, um,

and that's why. I think they were always constantly trying
to get me to do tum tum, tump tump, you
have to talk about Trump um. But I think they're
going to be disappointed. I have seen some in the
news media a day late and a dollar short be
a little more mindful about how they cover him. But
I also think that the American body politic has lost
their appetite for the reality TV show that was cable

news for a brief moment in time. People love to
see you know, this throwdown, this battle, this kind of
gutter back and forth between opposing viewpoints, and you know,
it was like the anchor would do all but say,
let's get ready to rumble, and then you bring in
this you know segment. Um. You know, I think post
pandemic and being overly sensationalized by this level of yellow

journalism from print to broadcast has left people a bit
apathetic towards consuming news at all. Yeah. No, well, Tiffany,
I'm excited to see where you land. That is definitely
going to be the place to check out. Thank you
for coming on, and thank you everybody else for checking out.
This episode of Jordan Clapper figures the conspiracy whether you're
listening on your phone or watching on your laptop, especially

if it's a laptop at a repair shop in Delaware.
We'll see you next time, Thanks Tony. Listen to Jordan
Clapper figures the Conspiracy from The Daily Show on Apple Podcasts,
the iHeartRadio, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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