The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum told the Chicago Thinker’s Daniel Schmidt on Wednesday that she thinks the Hunter Biden laptop scandal is not “interesting” and, therefore, unworthy of discussion.
During a panel at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics’ (IOP’s) three-day conference on “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy,” Schmidt asked Applebaum about the corporate-media and Big-Tech suppression of the New York Post story on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, zeroing in on Applebaum’s rejection of the laptop’s importance.
Schmidt noted, “In 2020, you wrote ‘Those who live outside the Fox News bubble do not of course need to learn any of the stuff about Hunter Biden,’ referring to his laptop, of course. A poll later found that if voters knew about the content of the laptop, 16 percent of Joe Biden voters would have acted differently.”
Schmidt continued, “Now, of course, we know a few weeks ago The New York Times confirmed that the [laptop] content is real. Do you think the media acted inappropriately when they instantly dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation? And what can we learn from that in ensuring that what we label as disinformation is truly disinformation and not reality?”
Applebaum dismissed Schmidt’s concerns, explaining, “My problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop is, I think, [it’s] 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.”
IOP Director David Axelrod jumped in, quickly closing the panel by saying, “We’re going to talk about more of this tomorrow in our first panel, so, stand by.”
Applebaum’s dismissive response quickly went viral on social media, garnering over 2.2 million views on the Chicago Thinker’s Twitter account. Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell tweeted “Make College Newspapers Great Again” in response to a tweet by conservative political commentator Jack Posobiec, who praised Schmidt’s question.
The Columbia Bugle also posted a series of tweets about the clip, most notably writing, “Our Ruling Class has absolute contempt for the American people.”
Political commentator Clay Travis contended that Applebaum’s “arrogant reaction” is something that “perfectly encapsulates why so many distrust the media.”
Other notable responses included re-tweets from Donald Trump, Jr. and Federalist editor-in-chief Mollie Hemingway.
The next day, the conference’s token conservative, Jonah Goldberg, criticized “the kid” (meaning Schmidt) for suggesting that the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up had any impact on the 2020 election, despite numerous polls finding otherwise. Goldberg insisted that he “doesn’t buy” that the cover-up had any impact on the 2020 election and contended it is “a preposterous counterfactual.”
Following the firestorm of attention elicited by his question to Applebaum, Schmidt is still seeking answers. When asked for comment, he told the Thinker that “Applebaum’s response is yet another testament to our ruling class’ contempt for what the average American cares about. People like her do not actually care about fighting ‘disinformation’—they merely throw the term around when it satisfies their political goals. Her refusal to answer my question demonstrates that.”