Yesterday, the media actually did their job for once. White House correspondents decided to take a break from behaving as leftist activists so they could engage in some good ol’ fashioned journalisming during a press conference focusing on the ever-worsening situation in Afghanistan. Indeed, members of the press asked tough questions for a change instead of the typical softballs to which we have become accustomed.
Newsbusters’ Curtis Houck wrote an article on the whole affair, noting that “the White House press corps made an effort to raise tough questions with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Press Secretary Jen Psaki amidst the collapse of Afghanistan.”
NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe noted President Joe Biden’s remarks that “the buck stops with him” and asked if he is “taking any responsibility” for “any bloodshed that may be happening right now.”
Another reporter asked:
What is President Biden’s response to the people of Afghanistan who are now in the hands of the Taliban terrorists and feel abandoned by the United States or those in Taiwan and elsewhere that are fearful that the U.S. will abandon them to the aggression of China? And follow up to that is what is President Biden’s response to people in Israel and other countries who might also believe that the U.S. will be abandoning them to terrorists?
CBS’s Weijia Jiang also chimed in, asking Sullivan if U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after August 31 if Americans and Afghan allies remain trapped in Kabul. The adviser replied by stating he would not “comment on hypotheticals” and that he would “stay focused on the task at hand, which is getting as many people out as rapidly as possible.”
But other reporters didn’t let Sullivan off that easy. Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann piggybacked off of Jiang’s original query, asking if the U.S. government is committed to “ensuring that any Americans that are currently on the ground in Afghanistan get out.”
Sullivan responded with another subtle dodge:
That’s what we’re doing right now. We have asked them all to come to the airport to get on flights and take them home. That’s what we intend to do.
An unidentified female reporter working with Sky News continued pressing the adviser, asking him if he could confirm whether U.S. troops will ensure Americans and Afghan allies would be rescued even after the August 31 deadline. Another brought up Christian missionaries who could be in peril because of their religion and pressed Sullivan about whether these people would be rescued.
We are working with a variety of different types of groups, journalists, aid workers, NGO workers and so forth to help facilitate their departure from the country.
The national security adviser never actually indicated whether or not the U.S. would work to rescue Americans and Afghan allies after the 31st.
This was just a small sampling of the questions that were asked of Sullivan and Psaki. As much as I criticize the media, I’ll have to say they did a decent job here.
However, this should not be taken as a sign that these people will continue along these lines. Remember, most of these folks are still left-wing activists at heart, which is why I call them the “activist media.”
Right now, it is overwhelmingly clear that the Biden administration’s handling of this affair was marred with its signature incompetence. To put it simply, there is no way to spin this SNAFU into anything less than a disaster without beclowning themselves. The lies the media tells have to at least have a level of factual underpinning to them, otherwise, there is no chance of the deception being successful.
In the case of Afghanistan, there is no way to posit that the withdrawal effort is going swimmingly. Therefore, it is in the activist media’s best interest to play it straight on this one. As soon as this crisis passes, they will be back to functioning as the administration’s propaganda ministry.