“They’re among the only press in the world that does this. Seriously. Seriously.”
That was President Biden whining once again this week about the press simply doing what it has always done with presidents following public events: Ask questions. And given how few questions Biden has answered in live settings during this presidency and particularly in the past year, you wonder why just a couple more would bother him.
How many questions has he answered, you ask? Try this context on for size: In 2021, Biden has held exactly three solo press conferences. In Donald Trump’s final year in office, he held 35, or nearly 12 times as many.
President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, delivers remarks on Hurricane Fiona in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
As for live television interviews, Biden has exactly zero this year. Yes, Biden has done a whopping three television interviews overall, but those were pre-taped, which allows for the possibility of any potentially awkward or confused moments to be cleaned up in the editing room afterward.
So when Americans saw Biden sit down with Lester Holt before the Super Bowl, that was taped days before. When they saw him with late night comic-turned-Democratic activist Jimmy Kimmel, that too was pre-taped. And when voters saw the president with Scott Pelley for what wasn’t even a softball session, but T-Ball with a beachball on the tee, that occurred three days prior.
In a sane and sober world, one would find it odd that a sitting president who earned more votes than any candidate in history isn’t taking questions for the most part during a midterm election year. We keep being told that Biden has all of this momentum lately, but for whatever reason his handlers don’t want him to take any meaningful questions about how exactly the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce inflation (it won’t per respected studies and the Congressional Budget Office).
Or why he is silent about cashless bail laws that are allowing violent criminals back on the street to hurt or kill innocent people again and again.
Or why this administration keeps insisting (See: lying) the U.S. southern border is closed. How did two million-plus people enter the country in the past fiscal year through said border again? And how exactly is fentanyl pouring into this country and killing an average of 300 Americans per day?
President Biden answers questions from reporters on Air Force One.
That last question deserves more context: Because imagine a 747 plane crashing every day in this country. Do you think the aviation industry would be shut down and changes made immediately to prevent it from happening? Of course it would.
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Biden dissing the press isn’t a one-off, either. Just two weeks ago, the U.S. president advised Philippines President Bongbong Marcos to not answer questions during an event at the White House.
“I wouldn’t bother answering,” Biden said as reporters shouted questions at both leaders.
Way to go, Mr. President! The Philippines’ is ranked 149th among 180 countries on the press freedom index. And you just encouraged its leader to treat the press like dirt.
And while the president mocks the press, most of the media remains silent about the almost total lack of access to this president. That would not be the case if his predecessor had done the same thing, or complained about the press yelling questions at him. The reaction would be quite the opposite. Jim Acosta would be in therapy for a week. The fainting couch store would run out of fainting couches.
Joe Biden is a president who is more scripted and hidden from the press than any we’ve seen in the modern TV era.
President Joe Biden walks from the East Room after speaking about Afghanistan at the White House, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Don’t expect things to change before the midterms, either. The goal is to keep the focus on Donald Trump, the guy out of power. And many media organizations are doing just that.
All while the guy in power continues to be overlooked. Funny how that works.
Then again, maybe it isn’t.