Former Bush Administration CIA director Michael Hayden, who spent much of the Trump years attacking and belittling Republicans, has yet to retract his claim that the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Russian disinformation,” despite serving on the advisory board of Newsguard — an organization that claims to oppose the refusal to correct major errors in news stories and commentary.
Last year, Breitbart reported on the role of Hayden on the advisory board of supposed non-partisan misinformation watchdog Newsguard, a supposedly “neutral” project that claims to fight untrustworthy and “fake” news:
Breitbart: Purportedly ‘Neutral’ NewsGuard Has Partisan Clown Michael Hayden on Board
The increasingly partisan, Trump-hating former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden still serves on the advisory board of the organization.
Hayden was among the national security officials that signed a letter falsely claiming that Hunter Biden’s laptop story was Russian disinformation.
Politico: Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say
Former CIA directors or acting directors Brennan, Leon Panetta, Gen. Michael Hayden, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell also signed the letter, along with more than three dozen other intelligence veterans. Several of the former officials on the list have endorsed Biden.
Last week, 18 months after The New York Post broke the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, the New York Times finally reported emails from the laptop have been “authenticated.”
The New York Times: Hunter Biden Paid Tax Bill, but Broad Federal Investigation Continues
People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.
12.5 percent of Newsguard’s ratings criteria specifically applies to whether or not a publication “regularly corrects or clarifies errors.” But Newsguard board member Hayden has yet to correct or clarify his, despite the fact that it concerns one of the most important news stories of the 2020 cycle, one that will likely continue to be a major story as the federal investigation of Hunter Biden continues.
In a comment to Breitbart News, Newsguard general manager Matt Skibinski stressed that Hayden plays no role in determining the ratings of news websites.
“As we specify on our website, Newsguard’s advisors ‘play no role in the determinations of ratings or the Nutrition Label write ups of websites unless otherwise noted and have no role in the governance or management of the organization,'” said Skibinski.
“That includes Michael Hayden—with whom we have never discussed the laptop story or any website’s rating. The most obvious evidence of this is that despite any views Hayden may have had about the Hunter Biden laptop story, no publication’s rating ever was negatively affected as a result of publishing that story.”
Skibinski did not respond to the specific question of why a frequent media pundit and commentator who refuses to correct an error about such a major news story should remain on the board of an organization that supposedly values accuracy and corrections in news.
Hayden was far from alone in his error. In a CNBC interview following the New York Post’s first stories on the Hunter Biden laptop, Newsguard founder Steve Brill said he believed the story was a “hoax perpetrated by the Russians,” an opinion he has yet to correct publicly. Skibinski stressed that it was just an opinion.
“In that quote, Steven Brill said his ‘personal opinion’ as the story was breaking was that there was some possibility it was false—before adding that his personal opinion does not matter and that people should be able to read the story and judge for themselves, rather than having it censored by big tech platforms,” said Skibinski. “Indeed, his opinion did not matter—there turned out to be no evidence that the laptop or its contents were a hoax, so no publication was penalized for publishing the story. Our ratings are based on a thorough review of the evidence, not any one person’s opinion or speculation—even when that person is the CEO.”
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.
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