The New York Post front page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was largely written by a reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said.
Bruce Golding, a reporter with the Rupert Murdoch-run tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because of concerns about the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
The article came late in a heated presidential campaign and suggested that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The Post based the story on photos and documents said to have come from the hard drive of a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden.
The article cited two sources: Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump who is now charged with federal fraud, reportedly brought the paper’s attention to the hard drive last month; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer, alleged to have given the paper “a copy” of the hard drive on October 11th.
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Mr Giuliani said he chose The Post because “either no one else would take it, or if they did they would spend all of their time trying to contradict him before they get it out.”
The top editors met on October 11th to discuss how to use the material provided by Mr. Giuliani. The group included tabloid veteran Colin Allan, known as Col; Stephen Lynch, Editor-in-Chief of the Post; and Michelle Gotthelf, the editor in chief for Digital, according to someone with knowledge of the meeting. Mr Allan, who was the Post’s editor-in-chief from 2001 to 2016 and who returned as a consultant last year, urged his colleagues to act quickly, the person said.
As the deadline approached, editors urged staff to include their bylines in the story – and at least one, aside from Mr Golding, declined, two post-journalists said. A Post spokeswoman had no comment on how the article was written or edited.
The article entitled “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS” appeared on Wednesday in two lines: Emma-Jo Morris, assistant political editor who joined Fox News in Murdoch after four years, and Gabrielle Fonrouge, who has been postal reporter since 2014 .
Ms. Morris had no article in the mail prior to Wednesday, a search on her website revealed. She joined the tabloid in April after working as an associate producer on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Show, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her Instagram account, which was privatized on Wednesday, included photos of her posing with former Trump administrators Mr. Bannon and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Roger J. Stone Jr., a friend and former campaign advisor to Mr. Trump. (In July, the President converted Mr. Stone’s sentence into seven crimes.)
Ms. Fonrouge had little to do with reporting or writing the article, said three people with knowledge of how it was prepared. She learned that her line wasn’t included in the story until after it was published, people said.
The article relied on documents allegedly off-disk to indicate that as Vice President, the elderly Mr Biden had directed American foreign policy in Ukraine for the benefit of his son, a former board member of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.
The article also suggested that the elderly Mr. Biden had met a Burisma adviser, Vadym Pozharskyi. On Wednesday, a Biden campaign spokesman said Mr Biden’s official schedules did not include a meeting between the former vice president and the advisor. Last month, two Republican-led Senate committees investigating the matter said they had found no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president.
“The Post’s senior editors have decided to release the Biden files after several days of hard work proving their merit,” Allan said in an email.
The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal have reported that they have not been able to independently verify the data in the Post article that contained the security language. You related at one point to an email allegedly sent to Hunter Biden.
“The story has been reviewed and the Post stands by its reporting,” a Post spokeswoman said in a statement.
Kenneth P. Vogel contributed to the coverage.