Mainstream print coverage of baseless GOP House investigations lacks context
Falling in line with right-wing media’s demands, the GOP has announced plans to launch a number of sham investigations, including probing President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Particularly in light of fierce right-wing support for these probes, mainstream media must underscore the baseless nature of these upcoming investigations.
With their narrow majority in the U.S. House and minority in the Senate, Republicans will likely be unable to pass their desired legislative agenda focused on inflation, crime, and immigration. Instead, numerous representatives have made it known that they plan to use their new power to, in the words of Vanity Fair, “Make life hell. For the public. For Democrats. And even, perhaps, for one another.”
Over the next two years, Americans can expect a number of GOP-led investigations fueled by right-wing media and conspiracy theories, including into the Justice Department, as well as Hunter Biden, his family, and other affiliates. This is all in addition to the GOP’s potential retaliatory attempt to impeach Biden and his cabinet members.
Some mainstream media outlets have glossed over the unwarranted nature of the investigations, treating them as legitimate inquiries and neglecting to provide critical context about the key Republicans leading these investigations.
- An NBC article extensively quoted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), future Speaker of the House, and Rep. James Comer (R-KY). The piece outlines the accusations against Hunter Biden, but does not push back on the GOP’s supposed justification for the probes.
- A piece from HuffPost focused on Comer’s intentions without referencing his longtime fixation on Hunter Biden and his record of pushing right-wing conspiracy theories, including the racist “great replacement” theory.
- Politico failed to acknowledge the baselessness of the proposed investigations, only mentioning that “House Republican members have threatened to investigate Biden and elements of his administration since early in his presidency."
- CNN omitted details on the GOP's motivations behind the investigations, simply claiming, “They plan to make investigations into the Biden administration a top priority.”
As the GOP continues to tout its future investigations — and as these probes unfold — mainstream print media must provide the crucial context that many of these investigations are likely without merit, political in nature, and retaliatory.
In contrast to the reports above, Vox has provided a great example for others in the media to follow. Both the headline and body of its article make clear that Republicans are primarily interested in revenge, launching investigations because they can — and not for legitimate reasons.
Similarly, Vanity Fair showed the GOP’s true intentions, publishing a piece with the headline, “House Republicans Promise To Use Their Majority To Make Life Hell For Democrats.” The body of the article describes these proposed investigations as “political and often-retaliatory.”