Want to personally pose a question to Joe Biden? “I’m answering your questions,” Biden — or his campaign — posted on the Democratic nominee’s Instagram account. “Ask me anything!”
Want to get an answer? That’s a whole other issue, Mediaite’s Charlie Nash discovered:
2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told his Instagram followers to “Ask me anything!” after announcing he would be answering questions on the app. Over 24 hours later, however, the former vice president has yet to answer any.
“I’m answering your questions. Ask me anything!” Biden declared in an Instagram story, with a submission box for followers to ask their questions.
Over the next 24 hours, Biden did not appear to reply to a single question publicly on his Instagram account, instead posting campaign graphics, merchandise promotions, and a link to his interview with rapper Cardi B.
Biden could yet respond to the questions, either in an Instagram post or via video, but Instagram Q&As typically take place in real time straight after the questions have been fielded.
A politician who won’t answer questions? Heaven forfend! That’s nothing new, but setting up those expectations in a social-media “AMA” is an amateurish bungle. As Nash notes, those are usually live events, but even when they’re not, there’s an expectation of some timeliness to it. It’s the immediacy of the connection as well as the promised transparency that gives AMAs their cachet — and extends to public figures who understand it. And when they don’t, the celebrities who fumble it end up looking more clueless than when they started.
What makes this even more puzzling is why the campaign didn’t just write the answers themselves. Biden’s adventures in virtual Q&As make it pretty clear his team scripts out his answers for those venues. Why not just cut out the aged middleman and conduct the AMA with the same aides writing the scripts? Instead, it appears from Biden’s Instagram page that they have just removed the whole thread, perhaps after the Trump campaign started poking fun at their failure:
— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) September 8, 2020
Call this a “how do you do, fellow kids?” moment from Biden and his team. It’s more amusing than damaging; no one has thought of Biden and cool and hip since, well, we stopped using the term “hip” unironically. And frankly, Biden might have done more damage by actually engaging in the AMA and attempting to answer live questions.