I bemoan, on a daily basis, the fact our collective national memory is so short.
For instance, the proper noun “Watergate” is forever seared into the national consciousness — but what actually happened there, and how did it lead to President Richard Nixon’s downfall? Ask enough of my fellow millennials and I’d venture to guess at least 20 percent believe Nixon set off one of those “Mission: Impossible”-style lasers in a bank vault as he was trying to rip off $200 million from a casino mogul who crossed him and stole his girl. What’s worse, I’d also venture to guess another 20 percent would come up with an even worse answer.
And absolutely none of them would know how the scandal birthed one of my personal favorite political concepts: the “modified limited hangout.” That’s a shame, because GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin believes it’s critical to why mainstream media outlets are suddenly acknowledging Hunter Biden’s laptop is genuine.
(Not that there was any question, mind you; here at The Western Journal, we’ve been documenting since day one how the toxic MacBook was almost certainly Hunter’s — and what it meant for his father, particularly in light of his son’s shady business dealings. As the scandal unfolds, we’ll continue bringing you news and analysis you won’t see in the mainstream media. You can help us do so by subscribing.)
A quick catch-up if you haven’t been paying attention to the unfolding scandal: Johnson, along with GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, has taken to the Senate floor three times since March 28 to talk about Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings with the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, a Chinese energy company close to the Chinese Communist Party and one of the wealthiest women in Russia.
Johnson also noted that much of Hunter Biden’s activity in Eastern Europe came weeks after a 2014 revolution deposed the country’s corrupt government, freezing many of Burisma’s assets — all while Hunter’s dad was vice president.
“What a coincidence,” Johnson said Tuesday, according to the New York Post. “It’s quite interesting to see how much significant activity involving the Bidens and corrupt actors in Russia and Ukraine occurred within a six-week period only two months after the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity.”
In an interview with investigative journalist John Solomon of Just the News published Thursday, Johnson said that he saw a connection between the mainstream media’s sudden acknowledgment of the laptop’s veracity — and it all goes back to the “modified limited hangout.”
Part of the reason why is that the information on the laptop paints the Bidens as “grifters” and “influence peddlers.”
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“They knew exactly what they were doing,” Johnson told Solomon on the “Just the News — Not Noise” podcast. “They were using Vice President Biden’s position and his name to peddle influence, and rake in, vacuum in millions of dollars from all over the world.
“The Bidens are grifters. They’re influence peddlers. They’ve made millions. They’ve compromised themselves, and they’ve compromised America’s national security.”
As for outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post acknowledging what’s on there is real, Johnson called this a “limited mea culpa.”
“I call it a modified limited hangout,” he said, since the media is letting on “a little bit of truth to try and get by the moment.”
The phrase comes from a March 22, 1973, conversation between then-President Nixon, then-White House Counsel John Dean, then-White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and Nixon adviser John Ehrlichman.
A “limited hangout” is a tactic used when one is caught in a lie; the liar lets some of the truth out while protecting the important stuff from being known.
In this case, with the Watergate burglary bearing down on the administration, Nixon’s brain trust had a better idea: Have Dean write a misleading report about the burglary, which admitted some fault but insisted the White House wasn’t involved:
PRESIDENT: You think, you think we want to, want to go this route now? And the–let it hang out, so to speak?
DEAN: Well, it’s, it isn’t really that–
HALDEMAN: It’s a limited hang out.
DEAN: It’s a limited hang out.
EHRLICHMAN: It’s a modified limited hang out.
PRESIDENT: Well, it’s only the questions of the thing hanging out publicly or privately.
Spoiler alert: This didn’t work out spectacularly well. However, the concept holds. Sure, now that we’re 18 months on from the point where Hunter Biden’s laptop — and the damaging revelations it held about the now-president’s son’s shady business dealings, including potential involvement from his father — might have had an influence on the election, mainstream media outlets are now agreeing it’s credible and they’re investigating Hunter’s dealings. This is being pursued with some urgency because Hunter’s tax problems are currently before a grand jury.
However, anything beyond Hunter’s influence-peddling and grifting? Don’t expect to see it. As Johnson noted, this “modified limited hangout” will only involve the bare minimum that it has to — unless the GOP presses the issue.
“You have the corruption in their federal agencies and within the news media itself that really needs to be exposed, and people need to be aware of what’s happening,” Johnson said.
Is that likely? Consider that when this might have changed the course of history, social media companies wouldn’t even let anyone post about the New York Post’s reportage.
Now, mainstream media outlets are authenticating it, kind of — although they’re apparently not working too hard to find out if the “big guy” who was to receive part of Hunter’s China deal was Joe Biden himself, or whether the pictures of the then-vice president with some of his son’s billionaire contacts puts the lie to the president’s claim he never discussed his son’s business dealings with him.
That’s one difference between 2022 and 1973, at least: Why do a modified, limited hangout from the White House when the mainstream media outlets are more than willing to do it for you?