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Does Biden avoid the Media Heavyweights because he is afraid?

by | May 6, 2024

By Dave Andrusko

With less than six months until the Presidential election, media outlets are desperately looking for evidence President Biden’s re-election team can turn around its floundering campaign. Some, however, do entertain the possibility that the re-election campaign is locked into a dead-end strategy.

Writing for NBC News, Mike Memoli leads with this preposterous headline: “Biden’s general election strategy: Less is more.” Bear in mind President Joe Biden has spent nearly 40% of his time in office on vacation.

The gist? “As President Joe Biden ramps up his re-election effort, his campaign is also scaling back how much he says on the trail, part of a larger new strategy to hone a sharper message he’ll take into the general election, according to Biden aides. Shorter, crisper remarks from Biden are part of his campaign’s broader strategy of having him appear more in smaller settings that the president’s aides believe serve him better than large, traditional rallies with voters.”

Does anyone not on the campaign payroll possibly believe this to be true? That the reason “The president has in recent weeks made notable efforts at brevity, in both official and campaign events” is because “Biden aides say they hope to refine a more compact stump speech for the president to use as the pace and intensity of the campaign builds later this summer”?

The truth, of course, is snuggled in among all the happy talk in one compact paragraph. Memoli writes

The approach also has the appearance of a strategy aimed at minimizing the potential for Biden to make mistakes in a razor-close election. Some of Biden’s verbal missteps have occurred when he’s talking at length, veers off the prepared text or answers a reporter’s question when that wasn’t part of the plan.

Or, to be more blunt, President Biden is incapable of even the simplest of statements without embarrassing gaffes.

There is another school of thought captured in this headline for a story written by the Washington Post’s Alexi McCammond: “Is Biden afraid of reporter?”

Actually, the headline is most likely designed merely to get clicks. President Biden’s behavior shows not that he fears sharp questions from the reporters but that (a) his staff won’t let him or that (b) “Spurning the legacy media doesn’t carry the same risks,” as Stephen Stromberg told McCammond. Notice this excuse lets President Biden off the hook.

Stromberg explanation is that it’s largely the age old battle of reporters who want information versus campaign staffers who expect the media to give unwaveringly favorable coverage. He adds the self-serving and wholly untrue statement (since the Post is vehemently anti-Trump) that “Good journalists are on no team because they believe that the public requires critical examination of important institutions.”

Charles Lane, also of the Post and also interviewed by McCammond, offered much sterner comments than his colleague. For example,

And FWIW, the White House has parceled out interviews with POTUS like diamonds, favoring softball pitchers. Like his recent interview with Howard Stern.

Let’s end with McCammond’s opening statement:

President Biden’s team has largely kept him away from tough interviews during his time in office and instead opted for conversations with friendly comedians and podcast hosts. With polls showing that broad majorities of voters are concerned about his age and fitness for a second term, Biden is missing opportunities to address these issues (and others) by refusing to sit down with independent journalists.

To which Lane adds

Clearly they’d rather take heat for avoiding an interview than for bungling one. Age issues freak them out, but even a younger Biden gave staff the willies because of his tendency to go off script.

Categories: Joe Biden
Tags: Joe Biden