Who Does the Associated Press Think They Are Fooling?

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

By now, you have probably already heard about an Associated Press report in which the authors try desperately to convince their readers that everything is mostly fine in Bidenland. The report was widely mocked and criticized on social media, with many pointing out how it clearly contradicts what America saw from President Joe Biden on the debate stage against former President Donald Trump.

This raises an important question. If the AP knows that Biden’s age problems and cognitive difficulties have constantly been on full display, what is the point of lying about it?

The article, titled “Biden’s leadership is often sharp, focused, but sometimes uneven,” attempted to portray the president as a competent chief executive who might have a few struggles here and there. It might as well have been titled, “Please, for the love of God, stop believing your eyes and ears.”

As RedState’s Bonchie points out, the headline alone is absurd on its face:

Think about the process that occurred for that to go to print. Five different reporters wrote that story... It was later sent up the food chain and gone over by an editor. That insanely laughable headline was then put on top of it. Yet at no point before hitting publish did anyone in the chain pause and say, “You know, maybe this isn’t such a great idea.”

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The article itself engages in the type of mental gymnastics that even Simone Biles would not be able to touch. The authors go to great lengths to paint a picture of the president that is far different from what the public saw at the debate.

He is often sharp and focused. But he also has moments, particularly later in the evening, when his thoughts seem jumbled and he trails off mid-sentence or seems confused. Sometimes he doesn’t grasp the finer points of policy details. He occasionally forgets people’s names, stares blankly and moves slowly around the room.

Biden’s occasional struggles with focus may not be unusual for someone his age. But at 81 years old and seeking another four years in the White House, the moments when he’s off his game have taken on a fresh resonance following his disastrous debate performance against Republican Donald Trump. The president appeared pale, gave nonsensical answers, stared blankly and lost his train of thought.

The authors claim that Biden’s issues are on display both privately and publicly but indicate that he is mostly on point.

The way Biden acts in private, according to regular observers, often tracks how he comes off publicly. In both settings, he can be commanding one day and halting another.

A day after his debate blunder, Biden’s voice at a North Carolina rally was forceful, his eyes alert, his delivery confident. As he spoke, cheers filled the room.

But sometimes, Biden speaks so softly that it is difficult to make out his words even with a microphone. He’ll stop mid-sentence and trail off during speeches. At other times he runs the room, leading the audience, joking and shaking hands with thrilled supporters, in clear command of the moment. His gait is often stiff, but sometimes he jogs.

So, what explains the AP’s tortured effort to spin Biden’s mental state into something less off-putting? The answer is more than simple media bias. The authors know that anyone who watches Biden’s debate performance or many blunders during speeches and press conferences can see that something is very wrong with the man who runs our country.

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It seems the Associated Press is targeting a certain group of people: low-information voters who might not pay as much attention to the president’s foibles as others who are more engaged in politics. The AP could be hoping to influence those who may have wondered about Biden’s cognitive issues but hadn’t yet seen how problematic they have become.

Perhaps the authors believe that those who have only a passing interest in watching politics will be assured that while Biden might have some problems here and there, his lapses are rare enough to justify voting for him instead of the Orange Man What Is Bad™ who is a dire threat to democracy and blah blah blah.

If I’m right in my assessment, it is understandable that the activist media would try such a strategy. After that debate performance, it’s probably the best they can hope for. They might actually convince a few voters. But the problem is that even those who are not political junkies have likely seen enough to know that Biden’s age is a serious issue and will not be easily fooled by a gaslighting propaganda piece.


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