Should ABC publish the full, raw video of the Biden-Stephanopoulos interview?

Answer: Yes. Will they? Not on your life. Joe Biden’s strange, emotionally disconnected interaction with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos yesterday raised more than a few questions, especially given Biden’s non-sequitur speech yesterday on COVID-19 and refusal to take any questions. At points in the interview with Stephanopoulos, Biden didn’t look entirely engaged, and when he was engaged, it was to scoff at the suffering of the Afghans as so four days ago, man:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But we’ve all seen the pictures. We’ve seen those hundreds of people packed into a C-17. You’ve seen Afghans falling–

BIDEN: That was four days ago, five days ago.

That answer and its complete lack of empathy will haunt Biden and Democrats for a long time to come. It drives a stake through the heart of the myth of Biden’s supposed compassion, which was the only quality that could compensate for his lack of competence.

Curiously — at least according to the edited cut — Stephanopoulos never followed up on that response, not even to correct Biden to say it had happened two days earlier. That and other aspects of the released clips raised the question of whether Stephanopoulos coached Biden, or at least cosseted him in a way that couldn’t have happened in a true press briefing. If so, that might be powerful evidence of intentional bias on ABC’s part, as well as evidence of non-competence on Biden’s part.

Our friend Hugh Hewitt has demanded that ABC produce the raw video showing the full Biden/Stephanpolous performance:

ABC has responded by releasing the full transcript. That’s not necessarily the same thing, and it doesn’t answer the real question. Just how much did Stephanopolous do to prop up Biden, and would ABC News transcribe any such support? Duane Patterson makes the explicit case:

News organizations only rarely publish the raw tape of interviews in their entirety. Of course, when it comes to David Daleiden and James O’Keefe, that’s the gold standard they apply (“heavily edited tapes” is a cliché in such reporting). In this case, if the tape exonerates Stephanopoulos, perhaps ABC News will release it to quash this criticism. If they don’t, perhaps we can draw some conclusions from their lack of transparency.

However, any action they take now won’t address a more basic issue with this stunt. Joe Biden has avoided taking questions from the White House press corps for over a week in the middle of the worst foreign-policy and military debacle the US has suffered in at least 46 years. Why did they let Biden off the hook with this one-on-one, quarterbacked by a former Clinton staffer, rather than with their own White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, an actual reporter rather than a morning-show host? All this does is give Biden an excuse not to answer these questions in the future by claiming he’s already answered them and brushing Afghanistan off as old news … while thousands of Americans remained trapped behind Taliban lines.

Even the raw tape won’t answer that criticism. The whole effort was nothing but a free pass. And in the end, Biden couldn’t even handle that competently.