Over the last week it has become clear to me that the nation’s #1 Democratic Party propaganda organ, the New York Times, is trying out a new strategy to mitigate the damage being inflicted on the party’s prospects by the daily botches of the Biden Presidency. I was struck on Sunday that the Times print edition, following a dreadful week for Biden including his bumbling press conference and the continuing fallout from his “Bull Connor” speech in Georgia that was roundly condemned by member of both parties, included no stories about Biden’s performance at all.
There was alleged good news for Biden—Omicron was “easing.” This was in the far right, above the fold column that during the Trump years was almost always some kind of attack on President Trump. There was a story about Russia’s nefarious plans regarding Ukraine (but no mention that Biden had virtually invited him to attack, as long as it was incremental) and China’s offensive Olympics (which Biden refused to boycott); there was the obligatory story about the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” and, at the bottom, a story headlined.” Did the Stimulus Fuel Inflation Rates? A Growing Policy Debate.” This one at least mentioned the President, once. None of the others did.
Today, President Biden’s name doesn’t appear even once on the front page of I don’t have the resources to check, but I doubt there was ever a day during the whole four years of the Trump administration when Trump’s name was not on the front page, usually in a negative headline. I doubt this has happened very often since World War II; maybe never.
To be fair, nothing happened yesterday that would reflect badly on…no wait. There was.
Peter Doocy (above), the nepotism-assisted White House correspondent for Fox News, called out a question as reporters were being hustled out after a brief appearance by the President in the East Room of the White House. Doocy asked, “Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?” Biden who was still near to a live mic, snarled sarcastically, “It’s a great asset. More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.”
Of course it was another perfect “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden, or IIPTDXTTNMIAFB , for the mainstream media. Trump’s open contempt for “gotcha!’ reporters and the fake news purveying mainstream news media was portrayed in the Times and elsewhere a more proof of an autocratic bent and a determination to weaken Freedom of the Press. But Trump never engaged in direct ad hominem attacks to the extent of calling a reporter a “stupid son of a bitch.” If he had, I will state without hesitation that it would have been front page news, and probably the topic of multiple op-eds by the Times stable of Trump-haters.
The Times finally got around to noting the exchange on its website, buried as a “Daily Business Briefing.” Gee, I wouldn’t have thought to look for it there!
Doocy, whose question in fact was a bad one and really not a question at all, had the decency to tell Fox News’ Sean Hannity last night that Biden had called him later to say it was “nothing personal.” Sure! Heck, I know when I call someone a dumb son of a bitch it isn’t personal…
First the Times reporter emphasized that Doocy often “needles” the President (thus evoking Rationalization 2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or “He had it coming“ in Biden’s defense). Then he went to full whataboutism mode, reminding readers that George W. Bush, while running for president in 2000, had whispered an insulting description of a Times reporter to Dick Cheney near an open mic, and that Donald Trump had called CNN’s Jim Acosta “rude” and “a terrible person” when the reporter was indeed being rude. None of which mitigated Biden going several steps further into the gutter to slam Doocy.
Not does it excuse the mainstream news media giving Biden a pass that it never gave Trump. That’s the least of what’s going on here, however. The Times and its pals among media sources are working unethically hard to let the public know just how awful this administration is.
As an aside, I don’t comprehend Ann Althouse’s commentary on this incident at all. She writes, “Doocy didn’t need an answer to that question. He was just publicizing an issue that obviously hurts Biden. Biden was presidential enough not to say “Fuck you,” which would have been a completely justified and normal response.”
Really Ann? “Fuck you” would have been a justified response in a nationally televised exchange with the news media? She then adds,
Donald Trump was criticized for lacking civility, it becomes necessary to criticize Biden too, in order to avoid using the kind of hypocrisy I call “civility bullshit.” I still want the tag “civility bullshit,” because it’s a discussion of the problem of the double standard, and because I don’t think Biden is roundly denounced for lacking civility, for degrading the public discourse. I think his roughness is largely tolerated, and it isn’t characterized as a deplorable trend.
…whatever that’s supposed to mean. When the President of the United States replies to criticism with “Fuck you” OR “What a stupid son of a bitch” and it is deemed ‘justified and normal,” we will have finally become Jerry Springer Nation. I wrote in 2015 that Trump’s abandonment of the traditional decorum and demeanor we had previously expected from our leaders would corrupt future generations and the culture. I was right, but that doesn’t justify succeeding Presidents, journalists and blogging law professor making sure it continues.