Puck: White House Reporters Knew About Biden All Along

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

According to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 86% of Americans now believe Joe Biden's too old to serve as president. The mainstream media's fluffing of Biden and deflection to the fitness of Donald Trump hasn't fooled most voters, and that includes 73% of Democrats. 


In fact, the mainstream media hasn't even fooled itself. Now that Robert Hur has exposed the Rehoboth Beach Emperor as having no clothes, Puck's Dylan Byers reports that White House correspondents knew it all along. In fact, they have little trouble discussing with each other, but balked at informing their readers and viewers to suit their own tastes:

This week, I surveyed members of the White House press corps—reporters, on-air correspondents, photographers, etcetera—and they all emphasized that the symptoms of Biden’s age had become more noticeable in recent months and a frequent discussion topic at the desks behind the Brady briefing room. “Anyone who covers this White House knows he’s showing the signs of his age—he whispers, he shuffles, he misremembers,” one White House reporter told me. “Anyone with an elderly parent knows what this is.”

Since the beginning of Biden’s term, many White House journalists have reported on, or alluded to, concerns surrounding Biden’s age in often gentle or euphemistic ways. Nevertheless, several of the journalists I spoke with said the true significance and importance of that issue, as they observed it, was not reflected in the coverage—often due to the sense that it was sensitive or unseemly, or because there was no obvious evidence that it had affected his performance as president beyond optics. Or, left unsaid, perhaps because they didn’t want to ruin their relationship with the White House by being the lone wolf to speak up.“It was something that felt indelicate to talk about,” one member of the White House press corps told me. In retrospect, some journalists felt like it probably warranted more coverage: “The amount of time we spent talking about it versus the time we spent reporting on it was not the same,” one of the reporters said. “There should have been tougher, more scrutinizing coverage of his age earlier.”


This report is behind Puck's paywall, but it's accessible as a trial article -- assuming you haven't already exercised that option. Byers has a long track record of political media analysis, so his perspective usually has value. If you can't access the source, click here for a screencap, but it's usually better to reward original reporting, especially in this instance ... where the lack of original reporting is precisely the issue.

Of late, we hear plenty from the news industry about a "crisis" for democracy as their platforms downsize or fail. They are a necessity for a well-informed republic, media professionals insist, But how can they make that argument while at the same time refusing to actually inform the public, especially about a critical failure at the head of government and state? I don't doubt for a moment what Byers reports as the excuses from the White House press cohort, but excuses are precisely what they are.

What is "sensitive and unseemly" about reporting a cognitive incapacitation of a sitting US president? This isn't about an affair; it's not a private issue in any way under these circumstances. The incapacitation of a president or governor is not a matter of "delicacy," either. 

Byers lands on one of the real issues in this passage. The reporters knew that to inform the public that Biden had begun sliding into senility would mean that the White House wouldn't treat them favorably. And that's what they really value -- not protecting democracy and "speaking truth to power," but pandering to it for the perqs. This is a real-life recreation of the fable of The Emperor's New Clothes, with the White House press corps playing the role of the obsequious courtiers. 


Byers mainly avoids the other real motive behind this conspiracy of silence. He mentions that this will be a test for news orgs to cover Biden honestly while doing the same for Donald Trump's "myriad" issues. But these news orgs have never had any shyness about reporting on Trump's shortcomings, both real and imagined, and both inside and out of the White House. And it's not at all difficult to conclude that the White House press corps prefers a senile Biden to a second Trump term, and decided to keep silent and participate in the fraud being perpetrated by the White House they're supposed to cover. 

It's the ultimate outcome of narrative 'journalism' and political activism under the banner of 'news.' The Fourth Estate has transformed itself into a sycophantic cheering section, which is why Americans have begun to detest them on almost as broad a scale as they see through them and Joe Biden.

Kudos to Dylan Byers for reporting on this. It points out again the need to find independent outlets with integrity, willing to take on the media and the political establishment rather than Krazy Glue their lips to its buttocks. 

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024