Conservative pundits like to note (and note and note) that the headlines would be 12 feet tall if a son named Trump carried on the way Joe Biden’s son Hunter did. If Trump junior lost control of documentation in the form of texts, emails and self-made videos testifying to his incriminating behavior, 2.5 million years from now residents of the Andromeda galaxy would conclude it was the most important thing that ever happened on Planet Earth.
But this gets the dynamic wrong. The headlines would be 12 feet tall if any politician’s son behaved as Hunter did in a universe that also did not contain Donald Trump and his psychologically distorting effect on every media decision about what to cover and how to cover it. (See the psychiatry of “splitting.”)