While some of my excellent colleagues typically handle the media bias beat, sometimes an example pops up that’s so egregious, I simply can’t ignore it.
That happened when I woke up at 3:00 AM on Monday morning with a migraine and was then given a worse migraine by the following headline. I should have never picked up the phone.
One handshake, one hug and one selfie at a time, President Joe Biden is on a mission to connect with everyday Americans. https://t.co/cX7pvaCNcG
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 24, 2022
We’ll get to the content of the piece in a moment, but I want to note that it is not an editorial. Rather, it was written by Zeke Miller, the AP’s top White House correspondent, and it was filed under the guise of being hard news. Yet, when you read Miller’s article, it is one of the most embarrassingly biased puff pieces on Joe Biden to have ever been written. From the first paragraph, the sycophancy is apparent, and it only escalates from there.
Who in the world signed off on this as a hard news piece?
One handshake, one hug and one selfie at a time. If President Joe Biden could greet every American this way, longtime allies say, his approval ratings would soar.
Biden has never been at his best in big speeches, where his delivery can be stilted, his stories sometimes meandering. It’s the end of his speech that often marks the beginning of Biden’s favorite part of an event — the rope line, in the parlance of political operatives. He whirls around, scans the crowd and zeroes in on his first target for a one-on-one connection.
Can we talk about how demeaning this is to normal Americans? The idea being pushed here is that all of Biden’s objective failures wouldn’t matter if only he could sniff a few more women and shake a few more hands in public. Apparently, the president’s magnetism, of which none is demonstrated on camera, is just so incredible in person that if he could clone himself and do hundreds of rope lines a day, he’d have sky-high approval ratings. That’s the narrative Miller pushes throughout the entire article as he provides “examples” that supposedly prove his case.
It might be with someone like Tim Eichinger, a Milwaukee brewery owner who asked Biden a question during a TV town hall 20 months ago, and has since had a one-on-one videoconference with the president and seen Biden send a couple of letters to his grandson.
It might be a small child — Biden likes to carry some cash so he can discretely slip kids a few dollars and encourage them to buy ice cream. It might be someone who stutters — they come in for special attention from the president.
After Biden gave a speech on student loans on Friday at Delaware State University, there were plentiful handshakes and photos with the students on stage. Last Tuesday, at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, Biden invited one audience member backstage for a private photo, autographed some of the abortion rights signs that participants had been waving and mugged in a handful of selfies.
Aides say the 79-year-old has perfected his selfie arm, the products of which are widely shared on social media.
Who exactly does Miller think shows up at Biden events? Is it supposed to be impressive that the president interacts well with his most devoted followers, specifically those who have nothing better to do than show up to listen to a senile old man rant for a few minutes? Heck, if the standard is interacting well with a crowd, Donald Trump must be the most popular president of all time. Somehow, I doubt Miller holds that view, though.
I also love the claim that Biden has “perfected” the “selfie arm,” a claim attributed to his “aides.” Well, I mean, if the White House says the president is amazing, then that’s worthy of printing, right? It’s all just so absurd.
Besides, think about the insinuation being made by Miller’s piece. It basically boils down to suggesting Americans are too stupid to realize how great Biden is, and if only they could shake his hand, they would be enamored with his greatness. Meanwhile, those same supposedly stupid people are struggling to put food on the table, can’t afford to buy a house, and are being crushed by high energy prices.
None of that is worth reporting on, though. All that matters is Biden giving hugs and handshakes. That’s the real story here, not his abject failure to help those he ostensibly represents. You couldn’t pay for more biased, ridiculous coverage. And why would any Democrat, including Biden, when they can just get it for free from outlets like the Associated Press?
Truly, from a media standpoint, it’s good to be a Democrat.