I’m being generous; the original headline was “Joe Biden Makes Sense!” which I decided was too arch.
I stopped watching the Sunday talking head shows once all of them defaulted to “resistance” narrative-pushing-all-the-time, but every now and then I drop in for a few minutes of nausea. Today I caught “Meet the Press,” once my favorite of all such shows (when Tim Russert was practicing real journalism there), but now, with the embarrassingly dim Chuck Todd at the helm, a rotting symbol of how far the professional has fallen in ethics and quality, I avoid the program like an Alec Baldwin movie.
Joe Biden was being interviewed (I have excised here a good, fair but tasteless joke about what Todd interviewing Biden resembles) and Todd asked this despicable question:
“Do you think there’s already blood on the President’s hands considering the slow response?”
Hack. Asshole. Todd breached one ethics rule by stating as fact what has not been shown to be true and cannot be shown, that the President’s “response” was “slow.” Todd’s colleagues called Trump’s response of shutting down travel to China racist and precipitous. There is not a single death due to the Wuhan virus that can be attributed to the President; China, perhaps, but not President Trump. It’s hard to imagine a more inflammatory and unjustified, not to mention irresponsible, question.
Yet although it represented an open invitation to Joe Biden to let loose with his most slanderous attack on the President yet, he demurred, saying, “I think that’s a little too harsh.”
One might wish that he had delivered a ringing denunciation of Todd’s rhetoric, but he was being fed softballs by a loyal political ally; it would be unreasonable to expect Biden bite the hand that feeds him by giving Todd the public rebuke he deserves. The fact that Joe had the integrity to reject Todd’s obscene characterization, even using two weasel words (“think” and “little”) shows that he has limits to the unethical assistance he will accept.
Biden followed up his mild slap-down with a substantially reasonable critique of the President:
“He should stop thinking out loud and start thinking deeply. He should start listening to the scientists before he speaks. He should listen to the health experts. He should listen to his economists.”
I can’t fault much of that. Trump does think out loud too much, and that habit has been especially troublesome in this crisis. He’s not going to stop, obviously, but Joe’s not wrong. Asking Trump to “think deeply” (or Joe Biden, for that matter) is ludicrous, but it sounds nice. Do we have a political figure who thinks deeply?
Joe’s addiction lately to promoting scientific expertise in broad term is annoying, and really just blind appeals to authority: in the Wuhan pandemic, the advice and predictions of scientists have been all over the place, and often proven wrong quickly. Listen to economists? Which economists? When the economists say, “Screw all the old, sick people, let’s get the economy moving again or we’re all doomed,” and the scientists say, “We don’t know enough about this virus: keep the nation locked down until at least July,” what do you do then, Joe?
Never mind, though. At least Biden refused to cross an ugly and unconscionable line of hyper-partisanship when handed an opportunity to do so.
As for, Todd, NBC should suspend him for that question, for its own sake. The majority of the public already disapproves of the media’s reporting on the pandemic , as it should, and journalism’s level of trust among Americans has never been as low as it is now. Yet partisan hacks like Todd seem determined to drive it lower still. Every slice of credibility and trust the mainstream media loses with such displays as this diminishes the power of reporters and pundits to influence our elections with their agenda-driven lies, omissions, spin, distortions, false framing and fake news.