Hunter Biden is convicted and now the system isn't rigged? Sure, Fox News (2024)

Bill GoodykoontzArizona Republic

Don't worry, everyone, Jeanine Pirro is OK.

You may recall that after former President Donald Trump was convicted in New York on 34 felony counts in a hush-money trial on May 30, the former judge and prosecutor and current Fox News pundit was positively apocalyptic.

“This is an anti-Trump judge!" she shouted in an unhinged rant. "An anti-Trump prosecutor! America’s going to respond to this! This is a gut punch.”

Oh happy day for her, then, when on Tuesday a Delaware jury found Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, guilty on three felony gun charges.

Fox News praised the judge in Hunter Biden's trial

This time around, Pirro was measured and assured. She praised Judge Maryellen Noreika.

"This is a no-nonsense judge who took this case, showed America how a case works and moved it right from opening statement to verdict," Pirro said.

Fox News legal analyst Andrew McCarthy also praised Noreika while criticizing Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over Trump's trial. "I think the judge in (Trump's) case pretty obviously was putting his thumb on the scale," McCarthy said. "But I would say this about Judge Noreika, I think she ran a very fair trial."

Funny how that works. What a difference a couple of weeks make.

Cable news networks covered the Biden trial in much the same way they covered Trump's, only a little more muted. Which is fitting — while Hunter Biden is the first member of a sitting president's family to be convicted of a felony, he isn't running for office. His dad's the president, not him. He is not the presumptive candidate for any major party, or anything else.

What Hunter Biden is, of course, is a symbol. Of what isn't always entirely clear. But you can get some hints from how the coverage played out.

'Contrast' was the word on cable news coverage of Hunter Biden

CNN and MSNBC used the verdict to talk about the differences in how Trump and Joe Biden react to the judicial system. The word "contrast" got thrown around a lot.

As in: "Contrast is everywhere." That was Claire McCaskill, the former U.S. Senator and MSNBC pundit, chiming in. "You have a president who doesn’t interfere, doesn’t pardon his friends, doesn’t lambaste the rule of law even though he had the power to stop this prosecution against his own son."

In case it's not clear, the president she's talking about is Biden.

On CNN, Jamie Gangel said, "I do think it’s notable that Hunter Biden’s trial and this conviction is an example of no one being above the rule of law, including the president’s son, and stands in stark contrast to how former President Trump behaved up in New York, coming out every day, saying the judge was corrupt, that it was a witch hunt."

What's next for Hunter Biden? Sentencing, likely appeal and looming trial on tax charges

Ah, the rule of law — also a popular topic Tuesday. All three networks noted the overwhelming evidence against Hunter Biden, and there was a general lack of surprise about the conviction. It's what the conviction means where paths diverge.

On Fox News, Harris Faulkner noted that after Trump's conviction, Joe Biden made comments about how no one was above the law, and that he had said he would not pardon his son if he were convicted. In a rather bizarre moment, Faulkner wondered if Biden regretted making the comments now.

Later Faulkner asked Jonathan Turley, Fox News legal analyst, about the political fallout of Hunter Biden's conviction.

"I don’t know how this helps or hurts (Joe Biden), but he can’t go on daises across the country saying, 'I’m going to get back in office and I’m going to pardon my son.' So how does he talk about this?" (Biden typically talks about the case only when asked.)

Turley said, "Everyone has taken the president’s denial of any intent to pardon with a grain of salt."

'It hurts Trump, hard stop'

They have? Whatever the case, the political ramifications are impossible to ignore, because politics is the thick red line painted down the middle of the country, and everything falls on one side of it or the other — including (especially) Hunter Biden and his legal woes.

"To try to figure out who this politically benefits, it hurts Trump, hard stop," Chuck Todd said on MSNBC. "You don’t know if these things help Biden at all, but it certainly hurts Trump, because I think his rhetoric about a rigged system really works against him when you look at all of the supposed advantages that the Bidens had in this case."

Hunter Biden is, in the end, whatever the media want him to be, a sort of empty vessel into which pundits can pour their beliefs to make whatever points they're trying to make. In that regard his trials — a tax trial is next — are the perfect story, a hook to hang opinions on. He's a symbol of what's right with the system or what's wrong with his father, depending on who you listen to.

And listen you must, because no one is going to stop talking.

Reach Goodykoontz atbill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com. Facebook:facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. X:@goodyk. Subscribe tothe weekly movies newsletter.

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Hunter Biden is convicted and now the system isn't rigged? Sure, Fox News (2024)

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