Comer's star witness crashes and burns!


Will Fox News viewers be told? Hoo boy! Headlines in the New York Times and the Washington Post are reporting an arrest:

Ex-F.B.I. Informant Is Charged With Lying Over Bidens’ Role in Ukraine Business

Former FBI informant charged with lying about Biden business

Beneath a somewhat tangier headline, here's Kevin Drum's basic synopsis:

Yet another Biden crime story goes up in smoke


The informant in question is Alexander Smirnov, who retailed a preposterous story to the FBI about Burisma paying bribes of $5 million each to Hunter and Joe Biden for "protection." James Comer and Chuck Grassley got wind up this and demanded a copy of the FBI interview so they could investigate whether Smirnov's accusation was being taken seriously. The whole thing took the right-wing noise machine by storm.

Today Smirnov was indicted for lying to the FBI. The indictment came from David Weiss, the special prosecutor in the Hunter Biden case. Smirnov was arrested at the Las Vegas airport after arriving from overseas.

Hard to believe, isn't it? It seemed like such a promising lead, something that could put a bow on the whole Biden Crime Family story...

Alexander Smirnov was the latest of Rep. Comer's star witnesses. Now he's been arrested and charged with lying to the FBI. 

Placing this event in a larger media context, Kevin posts a tweet from Media Matters reporter Matthews Gertz. The gentleman's tweet says this:

GERTZ (2/15/24): Sean Hannity's Fox News show ran with this informant's claims in at least 85 separate segments last year, including 28 monologues. He said they proved Joe Biden engaged in "public corruption on a scale this country has never seen before.”

In short, Hannity viewers have been fed a steady diet of Smirnov. Our question would be this:

Will Hannity's viewers ever be told that Smirnov has been arrested? Will viewers of other Fox New programs be told?

Thanks to the invaluable services of the Internet Archive, we'll be checking, in the next few days, to see if viewers of Fox News programs are told about this arrest.

Perhaps they will be, perhaps they won't. We'll let you know either way.

Having said that, we'll close with this:

We often assume that red tribe viewers and blue tribe viewers are familiar with the same basic sets of facts. We often assume that red and blue sets of cable news viewer have all seen the same chunks of videotape.

That assumption reflects a failure to grasp the way our modern organization of media works. In fact, many elementary facts are withheld from red tribe viewers. Sad to say, it can sometimes work the same way on MSNBC, our own blue nation's channel.

This is the essence of running major news orgs which are "segregated by viewpoint." In our view, you simply can't expect to run a serious nation this way.

At any rate, we'll be checking the broadcasts of Fox News programs in the next few days. We'll be asking a simple question: 

Rep. Comer's star witness has been arrested. Will Fox News viewers be told?


  1. Headline from FoxNews dated yesterday
    FBI informant charged with giving false information about Hunter Biden in 2020

    This link includes a TV report by Bret Baer about this arrest that was presumably shown yesterday or earlier.

    Whether or not Hannity covered this story, Fox News certainly did.

    1. Hannity didn't.

      Just yesterday you were attacking the media bias because they were not constantly reporting the lie of "Biden's obvious acceptance of bribery".

      Then you went on your little soap box talking about how unreliable and biased the NY Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and yeah, you included Fox NOOZ
      And then you concluded by sticking out your chest, and wagging your crooked finger at us for not being as astute as you are. LOL

      Your timing is impeccable.

    2. This arrest does not negate the huge sums that the corrupt Burisma paid to Hunter Biden. Those were the bribes I was thinking of. They led to Joe Biden demanding that the Ukrainian government investigation of Burisma be stopped.

    3. They led to Joe Biden demanding that the Ukrainian government investigation of Burisma be stopped.

      Prove that, you lying sack of shit. That is the exact opposite of reality.

    4. Here's what we know for sure
      -- Burisma paid Hunter Biden large sums of money although Hunter had no useful expertise at all.
      -- At that time President Obama had designated VP Biden with the responsibility of setting US policy toward Ukraine.
      -- VP Biden demanded the end of a government investigation of Burisma. He demanded that the investigator be fired. He threatened to withhold all US aid if the investigation continued.
      -- Such a demand is unique and unheard of. Never in our history has the US demanded a foreign country fire a particular investigator of of a particular corporation.

      The obvious conclusion is that Biden policy was influenced by the money plaid to Hunter. There is also evidence that some of that money went from Hunter to Joe. But, even if it didn't to to Joe the only reasonable conclusion is that US foreign policy was influenced by money paid to the VP's son.

    5. David in Cal,
      You funny.

    6. David in Cal,
      Have you contacted Special Counsel Robert Hur about the evidence in your possession?
      He's DESPERATE to charge Biden with something/ anything, yet no matter how hard he tried, for so long, spending so much to investigate, he couldn't find jack shit.
      Save America, David.
      Put your hand on the Bible in a court of law, and swear to tell the truth about all this evidence you have on Biden's corruption.
      We need you now more than ever.

    7. "he couldn't find jack shit."

      Fake news! He found that Joe is old.

    8. Viktor Shokin was the object of European and US efforts to address corruption in Ukraine, an issue that had as well to do with Russian influence there. The International Monetary Fund threatened to delay 40 billion dollars worth of aid to Ukraine on account of his inactivity as prosecutor in prosecuting corruption. This is all quite well documented. His ouster was not solely engineered by Biden, as DIC and his right wing outlets would dishonestly portray the situation. Countries considering monetary aid to Ukraine wanted the corruption which this prosecutor turned a blind eye to cleaned up. Google the subject and you will find numerous mainstream press reports debunking this propaganda. To refresh my memory I read a piece in USA Today about it, hardly a left wing media source. DIC is a dishonest troll in regard to this and other issues revo!ving around the Bidens, and is also well aware of the significance that is placed on exposing a Russian liar whose fabrications were the lynchpin of this phoney impeachment investigation. so he has to offer up this half baked uncorroborated pile of bullshit, apparently not aware the we can read and have access to legitimate news sources. Ludicrous and pathetic. Go read up on prince bone saw and your idol's son in law as regards several billion dollars and try to get back to us with a straight face.

    9. @8:35
      I thought Hur was only investigating Biden’s possession of classified docs

      Hur found that Biden had committed a crime, but said Biden wouldn’t be convicted on account of his bad memory

    10. He found no crime to charge Biden with. That’s why his remarks about Biden’s memory were inapropriate.

    11. "VP Biden demanded the end of a government investigation of Burisma."

      Right here is where it all falls apart. Biden did NOT demand the end of an investigation into Burisma. Without that investigation to link the whole fictional conspiracy together, there's nothing.

    12. Quaker - to be more precise, Biden demanded that the prosecutor investigating Burisma be fired. That's confirmed all over the place. E.g., see USA Today

      The Biden story is the he did this because that particular prosecutor was corrupt. Maybe that's true. It sounds fishy to me because it's so unique. I don't know of any other situation where the US threatened to withhold foreign aid unless a prosecutor was fired. A particular corrupt official in some foreign country is not unusual and not that big a deal to the US. The countries we give money to are filled with corrupt officials, but in no other case has the US demanded the ouster of a particular official.

      Combine that with the large sums of money Burisma paid to Hunter, and IMO common sense says the money paid to Hunter influenced Biden's threat.

      Now, I can't prove what was in Biden's mind when he made that threat. So, if your common sense differs from mine, you're free to disagree.

    13. David, your “common sense” is failing you.

      The very article you cite says this about your claim:

      “Our rating: false”

      Some more quotes from the article you attempt to use to push your embarrassing false nonsense:

      “It's true that Joe Biden leveraged $1 billion in aid to persuade Ukraine to oust its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in March 2016. But it wasn't because Shokin was investigating Burisma.”

      “Burisma Holdings was not under scrutiny at the time Joe Biden called for Shokin to be removed”

      “The recent report by Senate Republicans also contained no evidence that Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor as a way to protect his son”

      When the source you cite to support your claim is in fact a debunk of your claim, you’ve lost the plot.

      It was Republicans in congress that sent a letter to Obama requesting Shokin be ousted that played a large part in sparking the action. This was back when Republicans were not beholden to Putin puppet Trump, such as they are now; back when they opposed Russia and its fascist leader instead of now when they bend their knees to him.

      Shokin was a Putin crony, Ukraine wanted him gone but needed an impetus. Shokin was in fact refusing to investigate Burisma and other entities suspected of corruption.

      Ukraine’s Orange Revolution was part of the Color Revolutions that swept in democracies in former Russian states.

      Ukraine is vital as it represents a turning away from Russia’s authoritarian imperial power.

      Hunter Biden is a lawyer who spent much of his career on the boards of various companies. He worked as a board member for Burisma, and was paid for his work.

      All your claims are false, you exhibit extraordinary ignorance.

    14. Why don't you explain why the IMF threatened to hold up 40 billion dollars worth of aid unless the prosecutor was removed? Was the IMF running flack for Hunter Biden as well? You carry around a bias that has nothing whatsoever to do with common sense. Hence you litter this comment section with nonsense that, as Quaker notes, fails scrutiny. Suddenly Comer's key witness is found to be a Russian fraud, and Bill Barr is incidentally found to have lied about the situation, and there is absolutely no pause on your part to consider the legitimacy of your position. You willfully ignore key elements of the case, and are ignorant enough to think that the reader here can be taken along on this ride with you. So go ahead and explain why the Europeans threatened to hold up billions in aid if the prosecutor was not removed. We are waiting.

    15. 3:01's comment slipped in while I was typing mine and methodically debunks DIC's extraordinarily ignorant claims best. Thanks.

    16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    17. DIC is a grown man who actively participates in a smear campaign, linking to a USA Today article that completely debunks his claims. Bizarrely shameful.

    18. This isn't the first time that DiC has repeated this smear campaign on this blog. And it isn't the first time people here try to respond to the smear with facts which DiC will continue to ignore.

      Sure David, it is so unusual for the United States to put any conditions on US foreign aid to any other country. Meanwhile, David's favorite fascist candidate threatens our allies that he will abrogate our solemn Nato Treaty obligations if he decides they haven't paid enough for their own defense, and David cheerfully applauds this brilliant "negotiating" tactic.

      This is why I have been saying, David is not here for honest debate.


    19. Everyone knows David's 6:09 PM is the truth: the Brandan Family is Mykola Zlochevsky's bitch, and always will be.

      And no amount of DNC-bot's word salads will change that.

    20. The best thing aboutTrump is his complete and total contempt for Republican voters, like David in Cal.
      If only the mainstream media would emulate that.

    21. the huge sums

      According to DiC, $11 million dollars paid to Hunter Biden and his company, over a period of 6 years, is fucking HUGE and obviously corrupt.

      But shit like this, David doesn't even blink.

      A cool $3 billion total deposited in Kushner's startup investment company coming from only two corrup mideast kingdoms.

      Or this,

      Just a month before her father was elected president, Russia renewed two trademarks for Ivanka Trump’s business. This would be the start of a pattern. In 2017, Ivanka’s business won preliminary approval for three Chinese trademarks on the same day that she dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. In May 2018, Ivanka’s business was awarded “registration” approval from the Chinese government for five trademark applications, with an additional one getting “first trial approval.” The same week, President Trump announced he would try to save jobs at ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications giant closely tied to the government. A month later, Ivanka’s business got registration approval for three more Chinese trademarks, on the same day her father announced he’d lift sanctions against ZTE.


    22. "A month later, Ivanka’s business got registration approval for three more Chinese trademarks"

      She also bought an iPhone produced in China! That's the real scandal!

    23. That's right, magat trollboy. What the fuck was her job in the Whitehouse anyway, magat?

    24. You need to take your meds, idiot-moonbat.


  2. "Will Hannity's viewers ever be told that Smirnov has been arrested? "

    My prediction: Mr. Hannity's viewers will be told. And to Mr. Hannity's viewers Mr. Smirnov's arrest will only make his reporting more believable.

  3. You can get a sense of the general US hard-line conservative opinion from content mills like Reddit. It's just a smattering of biased stories.

  4. Fox News report at 9:24 am ET today.


  5. "We often assume that red tribe viewers and blue tribe viewers are familiar with the same basic sets of facts."
    No we don't. I assume the opposite, supported in part by a 700+ million dollar judgement.

    1. Yes. Kevin Drum wrote the other day about what an utter scoundrel and sleazeball Comer has been since day one. This is the only reason to believe Bob is aware of this at all. And we have good reason to believe not care about this. He wanted to hang Hunter around Joe’s neck himself.

    2. This idea that we are assuming Fox News presents the same info as other cable, is Somerby's strawman of the day. I don't know anyone who would think that, much less assume it. We blue tribers all know what Fox is and what it does. There was a defamation trial about their lies.

      Starting with a wrong premise and then arguing that we shouldn't do whatever mistaken thing Somerby thinks we have done, is how Somerby rolls. We don't actually mess up but he has to chide us for something, so he makes up this crap about not knowing that Fox viewers are ill-informed by their network.

  6. Meanwhile, Trump’s penalty in New York is $364M.

    1. Yeah in another blow to Trump cultists, justice prevail. Time to start up a GoFundMe. Then again, he controls the RNC money at this point.

    2. Trump's outright contempt for Republican voters is something everyone should emulate.

    3. The RNC is out of money.

    4. Unamused, TDH's point is that "our" blue tribe isn't told things too and get biased news. The civil case against Trump where he just got whacked with a gigantic fine (actually more than $364 million, with interest its well over $400 million) is subject to some skepticism. The basis of the complaint was that he borrowed money from banks, and provided financial statements that inflated the value of his assets. He wasn't charged with inflating the value of the collateral he put up for the loans - the banks hire their own appraisers to determine the value of the collateral. The banks aren't naive uneducated children; it seems that the banks weren't that concerned about his financial statements. Trump, or his company, paid the banks back in full, never missing a payment. the argument is that the banks were hurt because they would have charged a higher interest rate if Trump didn't inflate the value of his assets on his financial statements. Trump called at least one of the bankers as his witness, who testified that the bank was happy to have made the loan to Trump. the lenders made money on the deal. There is for me a real question as to whether this prosecution of the civil case was politically motivated. The fines imposed by the judge seem to be quite inflated. I'm not saying that if a borrower submits an inflated financial statement to a bank, that, in and of itself, is a ground for the state Attorney General to go after the borrow, in spite of the fact that the borrower repaid the loan. But I believe in being fair and objective, and always skeptical,, even if you hate trump. I can't stand him personally, and didn't vote for and won't vote for him.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. AC/MA. Agreed that the monetary amount for this, and his other civil case, seem excessive. He did break the law, and that has repercussions.As regards your opening point, I have never been on board with Somerby's tendency (as I read it) to suggest an equivalency in degree between the facts as presented by Fox and MSNBC, as two examples. Recently he has had more to say about the former than the latter, and I think that is the correct balance. Murdoch's own son, Charles, quit the board of Newscorp over the misrepresentation of facts by his family's media outlets, for which I think the monetary penalties adjudicated so far have been more appropriate.

  7. Quaker in a BasementFebruary 16, 2024 at 3:57 PM

    "Will Hannity's viewers ever be told that Smirnov has been arrested? Will viewers of other Fox New programs be told?"

    Yes, they will, if only belatedly. They will also be told that this is simply more proof of the Biden administration wielding the power of government against its political adversaries.

    There can never be any circumstance or event that does not support the narrative of Fox.

    1. That’s an interesting reaction. Were Fox Veiwers ever told about the libel judgement against the station at all, or even why they had to get rid of O”Reilly? Or that the one Putnam indictment was laughed out of Court? I’m not sure, but it seems just as likely they will hear nothing about this at all.

    2. But if they do hear about it, they will fit it into their own narratives and explain away anything incongruent. I agree with Quaker.

    3. I agree with Quaker in the same way I agree with Captain Obvious and No Shit Sherlock.

  8. Do Fox viewers enjoy Gutfeld! because the have never seen comedy that isn’t geared for dirty minded ten year olds?
    At some point this is equal to what Bob is arguing. True, liberals may have their own dubious comedy heroes. But still….

    1. Look at it from their perspective.

    2. From their perspective they feel shame over their puny shriveled up and useless dicks and use bad humor to mask their trauma and pain over their sad circumstances.

    3. Bobolinski's testimony pretty much buried that premise. So try again.

  9. Fani Willis prosecuted the teachers implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

  10. Starting with a wrong premise and then arguing that he shouldn't write whatever mistaken thing liberals thinks Somerby has done, is how the trolls roll. He doesn't actually mess up but they have to chide him for something, so they make up this crap about knowing that Morning Joe viewers are informed by their network.

    1. You’re a little late to this party.


  11. I love sniffing my fingers. I keep sniffing my fingers. I also love sniffing children, when I get a chance.

    Spamming Somerby's blog Is My Calling From God.

    I am Corby.

  12. Kevin asks:

  13. A gun-fight at a Super Bowl parade.
    The only way that could be more American, is if it had diabetes.