After going viral for grilling The Atlantic’sAnne Applebaum about the media’s dismissal of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, Chicago Thinker Senior Editor Daniel Schmidt appeared Friday on Fox & Friends.
In a clip that has over 2.5 million views on the Thinker’s Twitter account, Schmidt questioned Applebaum on the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, during a Wednesday session of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics’ three-day conference on “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy.”
“Do you think the media acted inappropriately when they instantly dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation?” Schmidt asked. “And what can we learn from that in ensuring that what we label as disinformation is truly disinformation and not reality?”
Applebaum responded by saying she was not interested in the scandal that suggests the president of the United States may be compromised by his son’s international dealings.
“My problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop is, I think, totally irrelevant. I mean it’s not whether it’s disinformation — I don’t think Hunter Biden’s business relationships have anything to do with who should be president of the United States. So, I don’t find it to be interesting,” said Applebaum, despite the fact that a pollfound 16 percent of Joe Biden voters would have voted differently if they’d known about the contents of the laptop.
Reflecting upon the exchange, Schmidt told Fox & Friends that “[Applebaum’s] answer, frankly, was unsurprising.”
“Ironically, this was at a conference […] on ‘disinformation.’ And yet, the story that was probably the greatest example of disinformation—the Hunter Biden laptop, the way the media treated it—[Applebaum] totally ignored it,” stated Schmidt. “And frankly, I think it’s just an example of how journalists, the elite ruling class, view what Americans care about as irrelevant to them and as […] not worthy of any attention.”
Schmidt proceeded to criticize the overall climate in academia. “At a university like the University of Chicago, you would expect there to be […] some free dialogue. You would expect the students to be asking hard questions. And yet, me and my friend Christopher Phillips […] were the only ones actually asking these journalists these questions,” he lamented. “You feel like most people nowadays are totally uninterested in actually grilling them. They just accept what they’re told as truth. And they accept the censorship as just normal. It’s really worrying.”
“[I]f you’ve seen the clip at the very end, David Axelrod conveniently ends the question and then you hear people laughing. […] To them, this is all a big joke,” he added.
According to Schmidt, America’s “educated elite” consistently dismiss those who pose hard-hitting questions:
You know, if you ask these questions, you’re a “white trash” Trump supporter. You don’t “deserve” to be here. This is the “educated elite.” This is where we […] talk about “real” things, not Hunter Biden’s laptop—that’s for the “dumb people” in the South. And it’s disgusting and I think it needs to change. And I hope more and more young people are able to speak up and ask these questions, because that’s really what’s needed.
As a college freshman, Schmidt proceeded to reflect upon just how easy it is to rattle America’s elite. “As you see, [Applebaum] was clearly thrown off, because these people come to these university events, expecting no resistance, expecting students to just sort of worship them and ask easygoing questions, and when you even just tug at them a little bit, they clearly feel threatened.”
Applebaum was so threatened by Schmidt’s rhetoric that she has since blocked the Thinker on Twitter.
Audrey Unverferth is the Chicago Thinker's co-founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2022 with a B.A. in Russian & East European Studies (With Honors) and Law, Letters, and Society. In her free time, Audrey loves to collect books, swim in the ocean, and camp with her family. Follow her on Twitter @audrey__unver or email email@example.com.