Before we get to the New York Times’ tongue-bath treatment of the First Lady, let’s track the media response to the disgrace created by her husband. Joe Biden abandoned thousands of Americans — citizens and legal permanent residents, not to mention tens of thousands of our allies — to the Taliban in his haste to get out of Afghanistan. Taliban squads are presently going door to door to find those Americans, and it doesn’t look like they want to hand them tickets to the next plane out of Kabul.
With thousands of Americans trapped in Afghanistan, what has the media been doing? Mostly averting their eyes:
U.S. newspaper stories with "Afghanistan" in the headline since Aug 1. pic.twitter.com/771qSKFhit
— Seth Masket (@smotus) September 19, 2021
In fact, national media outlets have tried mightily to talk about nearly anything but the hostages provided to the Taliban by Biden and his administration. The Associated Press’ deep dive on Saturday was a notable exception to the Media Cone of Silence, but its appearance on Saturday morning — the nadir of the weekly news cycle — almost made it look apologetic. At least they put significant resources into reporting on it, however, and the headline made the urgency clear: ‘Fearful US residents in Afghanistan hiding out from Taliban.’
Meanwhile, the New York Times puts significant resources into, er …. how Biden feels “bruised,” and how Jill Biden is joining his “battle for the soul of the nation“:
Another pandemic surge prompted Mr. Biden, a veteran moderate, to attack Republican governors and embrace vaccine mandates. A bipartisan infrastructure deal hung in the balance. The American withdrawal from Afghanistan, during which 13 service members were killed in a terrorist attack, was criticized as violent and haphazard.
But the events left another Biden feeling bruised.
“I love him, and it’s hurtful,” Jill Biden said in an interview, the first she has granted to a newspaper since becoming first lady. “I do feel the sting of it. I wouldn’t be a good partner if I didn’t.”
Eight months into Mr. Biden’s presidency, both husband and wife are finding that winning the “battle for the soul of the nation” is perhaps his most elusive campaign promise. In Washington, an outrage-driven approach to politics has replaced Mr. Biden’s rose-colored belief that bipartisan deal making can be an art form. As he tries to prove that this is still possible, his wife is not a bystander.
“Wife Supports Husband” isn’t exactly a man-bites-dog exposé. Amazingly, this Katie Rogers puff piece never even mentions the American citizens and LPRs Biden left in Afghanistan in his zeal to remove all the troops and every bit of logistical support the US designed the Afghan army to require. The only criticism this piece acknowledges is that the retreat was “violent and haphazard,” not that it resulted in a swift Taliban victory and that we left our fellow Americans and Afghan allies at the mercy of terrorists.
Here’s a question that the New York Times should be asking in this context: Hasn’t a president who abandoned Americans to the enemy in his 12-year quest to retreat already lost his “battle for the soul of the nation”? Doesn’t that matter a little more than the potential for a White House wedding for Biden’s granddaughter, a factoid weirdly tossed into this mix by reporter Katie Rogers?
Apparently not at the New York Times, which seems very anxious to push Masket’s graph all the way down on the X-axis. Our friend John Ondrasik points out the strategy in a very straightforward manner:
I can’t hear her scream if she’s not on TV https://t.co/89BAhKvSLj
— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) September 20, 2021