Accuracy in Media

With all the focus on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and her lack of transparency on “Medicare for All” costs on the middle class, CNN’s debate moderators neglected to focus on front-runner and former vice president Joe Biden, who is embroiled in the President Donald Trump-Ukraine phone call controversy.

As background, Biden’s son, Hunter, was involved in some business dealings in Ukraine, and has since renounced his foreign business dealings. But Biden’s integrity was called into question by Trump over concerns that the Biden family influenced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor due to the Biden’s clout in Ukrainian business dealings. Trump allegedly asked the Ukrainian president for help in investigating the Biden’s business dealings and possible influence in Ukrainian affairs, which spurred Democratic Party lawmakers to call for Trump’s impeachment. The lawmakers alleged that Trump is impeachable on the grounds that Trump is colluding with a foreign country to meddle in a U.S. presidential election, which has yet to be proven.

At the debate, CNN moderators asked Biden a question about the Ukraine controversy, but other than that, the issue was mostly ignored. The question that CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked was the following:

“The impeachment inquiry is centered on President Trump’s attempts to get political dirt on Vice President Biden and his son. President Trump has falsely accused your son of doing something wrong while serving on a company board in Ukraine. I want to point out there’s no evidence of wrongdoing by either one of you.”

“Having said that, on Sunday, you announced if you are president, no one in your family will be involved in any foreign businesses. My question is, if it’s not okay for a president’s family to be involved in foreign businesses, why was it okay for your son when you were vice president?”

Biden answered and backed his son, Hunter, saying, “My son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. That’s what we should be focusing on.”

It was the only question about the Biden connection to the Ukraine scandal in the entire debate. Although fellow candidate Cory Booker (D-N.J.) defended the Biden family later in the debate, it is jarring to see that only one question was asked about the Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine. It is a significant political issue because both President Donald Trump is discussing the scandal and the Democratic Party is pursuing impeachment, partly based on Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president. It is a significant oversight, or omission, to only ask a single question about the Ukraine-Biden connection.

Ironically, figures from both political parties criticized Cooper for the question, but for different reasons, which illustrated the importance of asking more questions on the scandal. CNN’s decision to mostly ignore the Trump-Ukraine-Biden scandal is a disservice to the public ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

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