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The media’s anti-Biden pivot is politically motivated

Joe Biden has lost the commentariat. Credit: Getty

July 10, 2024 - 5:20pm

In recent days, American news media outlets have intensified their criticism of President Joe Biden, with some calling for him to drop out of the 2024 presidential race. After a decade working to “save democracy”, the press appears to be reporting the good old-fashioned facts. Unfortunately, all is not quite as it seems.

This newfound scrutiny of a man who previously seemed unable to do any wrong is clearly driven by newspapers’ electoral concerns, not a commitment to transparency or public interest. The simple reality is that the media’s anti-Biden pivot is more a political calculation designed to ensure a Democratic victory in November than an exercise in journalistic ethics.

Still, the speed and sheer depth of the about-turn has been brutal. The day after his disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump at the end of last month, the New York Times published an editorial describing Biden as “a shadow of a great public servant”. The Times minced no words in its concerns — which were focused almost entirely on electability. “The clearest path for Democrats to defeat a candidate defined by his lies is to deal truthfully with the American public: acknowledge that Mr. Biden can’t continue his race,” the piece argued.

NBC News this week featured a Parkinson’s expert who speculated that Biden might have the disease, further fuelling doubts about his capacity to serve. This followed reports that a top neurologist specialising in Parkinson’s had visited the White House multiple times, ostensibly raising concerns about Biden’s cognitive health. CNN’s Jake Tapper also joined the chorus of criticism this week: “Many Democratic officials with whom I’ve spoken say President Biden, and his family, and his inner circle appear to be in complete denial.”

Perhaps the most damning media moment was a CNN appearance by Carl Bernstein, who reported that, for over a year, people close to Biden have come to the White House Chief of Staff, Jeff Zients, with concerns that the President is not of sound mind.

This all follows years spent by the media glossing over an endless parade of troubling moments from Biden, including numerous falls, freezing up in public, and confusing France’s Emmanuel Macron with long-dead former president François Mitterrand. Instead, the press focused on Dark Brandon memes, heartrending tales of his devotion as a father, and, of course, his love of ice cream.

While the media’s newfound zeal for reporting negatively on a Democratic candidate is evident, there are still major gaps. For example, the press has been vociferous on Biden’s shortcomings as an election candidate. But few news organisations have tackled the all-important question of who is currently running the world’s most powerful country.

Journalistic investigations into outrageous revelations that Hunter Biden is now effectively a gatekeeper to the presidency have been scant, with one outlet, Axios, driving almost all of the reporting. Likewise, there have been no deep dives into the extensive concealment of Biden’s mental state, no journalistic task forces launched to reveal how this could happen or who was involved.

Instead, the press is doubling down on its “Save Democracy” sloganeering as a means of rationalising its approach to journalism as political advocacy. Given all this, if Biden’s polling improves — as, at least at some point, it very well might — these criticisms are likely to dissipate. Media narratives could quickly shift, with outlets downplaying previous health concerns and refocusing on Biden’s positive aspects. Or, of course, reverting to the norm of attacking Trump.

If Biden’s polling numbers rebound, the media will likely pivot and label the debate — along with everything we’ve seen before and afterwards — “episodic in nature”. Then, just as the hosts of Pod Save America pledged to do no matter how much evidence stacks up of Biden’s intellectual dysfunction, they’ll line up for their chosen candidate.

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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 days ago

Expect another pivot if he’s the nominee, regardless of how bad his polls are. For the Left, victory is everything. Once he’s the nominee, the media will do everything in its power to drag his moldering old corpse across the finish line.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
10 days ago

Let’s face it, the partisans on both sides will vote for their man regardless of what happens between now and the election. One of the leftists in the media recently said he’d vote for Biden’s head in a jar of purple liquid before voting for orange man bad. The election will be determined by a few “votes” in a few key counties in a few key states. The democrat apparatus is set up to make sure those ballot boxes are stuffed, so it doesn’t matter what state of mind old Joe is in, …..to save democracy!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 days ago

Of course it’s political. If it becomes apparent that Biden is not going anywhere as the Dem candidate, the narrative will shift to the great and wonderful people in the administration. Harris will be venerated as a remarkably capable VP who will take over the role as President. The relentless coverage of Biden’s cognitive decline will not disappear – the cat is out of the bag now – but the narrative will shift away from him towards the wonderful people working behind the scenes to save democracy. It’s all so gross and predictable.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
10 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Also clumsy, artless and insulting. These people have no respect for their audience.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 days ago

Their audience do not deserve respect

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
10 days ago

The MSM have a political agenda? Amazing! Who knew? Lol…
Next there’ll be allegations they don’t actually do real journalism but just make things up…

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
10 days ago

‘The media’s anti-Biden pivot is politically motivated’
Any information about the religion of the Pope?

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
9 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

This just in: experts agree he may still be Catholic.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 days ago

But probably trans

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
10 days ago

This is why I can’t stand those people.

It was obvious in 2020 that Joe Biden wasn’t all there, so to speak. They have done nothing but prop him up and smear anyone who claimed otherwise. Now suddenly we are asked to believe that they are shocked at his condition? It looks like the very thing they’ve tried to stop will ultimately happen – the return of President Orange McBadMan.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
9 days ago

“This newfound scrutiny of a man who previously seemed unable to do any wrong is clearly driven by newspapers’ electoral concerns, not a commitment to transparency or public interest”
Well duh. But it is also driven by the realisation that the “Who are you going to believe: us or your own lying eyes?” narrative had not only reached the end of the road but had actually fallen into a ravine live on national TV.
If the US electorate are too witless to move from the realisation that the Democrat-aligned media have been lying to them about Biden’s mental competencies for years to registering that that same media have been lying to them about absolutely everything else for the best part of a decade, then, well, there is really no hope for them.

Arthur King
Arthur King
9 days ago

Biden was clearly on uppers for the State of the Union address, but not for the debate? Why? Did the Dems set him up to fail since it was decided Biden could not win?

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
8 days ago

These people are nothing but parasitic vermin. The amount of wilful denial required to trust them is truly staggering. Putative liberals are no less demented than their QAnon counterparts. May their downfall be profound and long-lasting.

Bethany Haye
Bethany Haye
8 days ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

Parasitic vermin? Where have I heard that before?

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
8 days ago
Reply to  Bethany Haye

Oh no! I must be literally Hitler!

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke
8 days ago

The MSM’s new found zeal for reporting on Biden’s condition is a consequence of their having been caught out in a four year lie. The zeal, however, will disguise, as best they can, the length and scale of the lie. They won’t eat any more humble pie than they have to.