He’s brought some of it on himself, to be sure, and Trump supporters undoubtedly feel the press plays pattycake with him compared to the president.
But as I’ve argued for months, the anti-Biden drumbeat began well before he got into the race. Many pundits predicted he’d crash and burn as soon as he got in. Then it was the flap over unwanted touching, then the gaffe watch that became a gaffe patrol, then the abortion flip-flop, then the lousy first debate, and on and on.
Joe’s fragile candidacy was exciting no one and it was only a matter of time, they said, before his candidacy collapsed.
And yet Biden was polling around 30 percent, with a double-digit lead, when he got in, and all this time later he’s polling around 30 percent, with the same double-digit lead.
The plain fact is that for most reporters and commentators, the former vice president is too old, out of touch and uninspiring. And yet, Democratic voters — the real voters, not the professional libs who tend to dominate Twitter — kinda like him.
Well, it turns out the Biden team is far more resentful of his media coverage than the earlier hints of dissatisfaction would suggest.
Ryan Lizza, who recently joined Politico, brings the deep-dive approach from his New Yorker days to the Biden-media relationship and hits paydirt:
“Many of the reporters covering him are really young. Biden is not. The press corps, or so the Biden campaign sees it, is culturally liberal and highly attuned to modern issues around race and gender and social justice. Biden is not. The reporters are Extremely Online. Biden couldn’t tell you what TikTok is.”
The liberal CNN contributor quotes a top Biden adviser as saying the lousy coverage “is unrelenting. Every story that has been written about Biden for a month has been negative! I would ask Warren and Sanders and these folks: He’s been pummeled for months. For months! So why is he going to fall apart now?”
Insert caveat here: Biden can’t have a disastrous performance at tonight’s ABC debate in Houston. He has to stem the tide of unforced errors. Elizabeth Warren (sharing the stage for the first time) could get hot and pass him.
From the Biden perspective, pundits and tweeters don’t get Biden’s resilience because of “the gap between a press corps, as well as the wider online political class, that is largely in its twenties and thirties and a candidate who would be 78 at his inaugural.” Many of the reporters, in this view, haven’t covered a real Democratic primary because they started working after 2008.
A “well-known Democrat” told Politico that the young’uns “view this party as dominated by woke millennials and through the lens of coastal issues. They are products, increasingly, of fairly elite schools and they don’t talk to a lot of voters who don’t look and talk like them except their parents, who also tend to be similar to them.”
And, from this unnamed woman, my favorite quote: “I get this question all the time: Why does the press hate him so much? And the answer is because they are younger and they want someone cooler.”
Now I don’t have to tell you that shouldn’t matter. Whether they like Joe or not, whether they think he’s hopelessly square or not, they should cover him with as much fairness as they can muster.
But it does matter. Much of the press continues to cover Biden as one banana peel away from landing flat on his back.
In the meantime, Biden leads Trump by 15 points in yesterday’s ABC/Washington Post poll (which was quickly attacked by the president as a “suppression poll”).
As the front-runner, Biden should be aggressively scrutinized. His attempt with NPR to claim he opposed the Iraq war two years earlier than he did is far more important than his mixing up New Hampshire and Vermont.
But here’s the thing: If Biden was as woke as the press corps wanted — embracing free college, Medicare for All and so on — he’d be so liberal that he’d probably lose the general election. And that would be uncool.
Footnote: On Aug. 30, the Washington Post reported that the White House had “sidelined” John Bolton on the Afghanistan talks because his “opposition to the diplomatic effort…has irritated President Trump,” while “his tough management style and bellicose worldview have frayed relations with some colleagues.”
John Hudson, who wrote the piece with Josh Dawsey, tweeted that an NSC spokesman told them: “This article is based solely on unconfirmed leaks and written with an apparent bias against Ambassador Bolton. There’s more truth in the National Enquirer.”
Eleven days later, Trump fired Bolton, citing their policy disagreements and failure to get along with administration officials.