Washington Post Gives up the Game in Trying to Rescue Joe Biden After ‘CheatSheetGate'

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

It never fails. A Democrat politico boxes themselves into a corner, and the mainstream media jumps into action in an effort to play clean up.

It’s happened many times throughout many different Democrat presidential administrations, and it happened yet again on Thursday when the Washington Post swooped in to try and rescue President Joe Biden in the aftermath of what some have called “CheatSheetGate.”


To quickly summarize the controversy, during a Rose Garden press conference alongside South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday, Biden was spotted by photographers carrying notes just prior to taking questions from the press. On one page of the notes were the name and photograph of a reporter, Courtney Subramanian from the Los Angeles Times, along with a handwritten note at the top that read “Question #1.” There was also a question typed underneath her information, as though what she wanted to ask had been pre-submitted to the Biden White House for approval.

Though as CNN noted the question Subramanian asked “was not identical” to the typed one on the notes, the essence of what she asked was pretty much what was on Biden’s note, as the Washington Post admitted in an article that tried to absolve Biden of any wrongdoing.

“[The cheat sheet question] is generally what Subramanian asked Biden about when he called on her at the joint news conference with South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol,” they wrote.

But while also informing readers that it’s not uncommon for handlers for a president going back many administrations to take the temperature of reporters in advance to see what they might want to ask the president about (which is what we’re supposed to believe happened in this case), in this instance it was “rare” for Biden to have been aware of such a detailed question. They further pointed out that the L.A. Times played word games when asked about it, but essentially confirmed that their reporter did indeed tell the Biden team during an overseas trip what she wanted to ask him at the presser:


But in their advance conversations, reporters rarely offer anything as specific as Subramanian’s topic; the typical answer is “news of the day,” which leaves the options for questioning the president open. “You don’t want to give away your question,” said the veteran reporter. “It’s incredibly bad form to do that.”

White House officials declined to speak on the record, and Subramanian didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Times, Hillary Manning, said Subramanian didn’t provide White House officials with a specific or even general question in advance of the news conference. However, while covering Biden on a trip abroad, the reporter mentioned to officials that semiconductors was “one of several topics she might want to cover,” said Manning.

In other words, the Biden team indeed knew in advance what Subramanian wanted to ask him, and she was very specific about it.

Amazing to me that all that information was in a piece that was designed to make Joe Biden not look like a “world leader” who needs to have his events micromanaged by aggressive handlers and questions tightly scripted.

The Washington Post says “democracy dies in darkness” – it’s been on their masthead since a month into Donald Trump’s presidency. But as has been reaffirmed since then, they are perfectly okay with that “darkness” as long as it’s a Democrat who is presiding over it.


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