Conservative pundits like to note (and note and note) that the headlines would be 12 feet high if a son named Trump carried on as Joe Biden’s son Hunter. If Trump Jr. lost control of the documentation in the form of texts, emails and self-produced videos documenting his incriminating behavior, 2.5 million years from now, the inhabitants of the Andromeda galaxy would conclude that was the most important thing that ever happened on planet Earth.
But that skews the dynamic. Headlines would be 12 feet tall if a politician’s son behaved like Hunter did in a universe that also didn’t contain Donald Trump and his mind-distorting effect on every media decision about what to do cover and how to cover it. (See “split” psychiatry.)