By this point in the day, surely somebody on Joe Biden’s staff is suggesting that maybe town halls and public speaking appearances really aren’t such a great idea for the new President. The list of zingers from last night’s CNN town hall just keeps on coming, with none of them painting Uncle Joe in a very good light. During this exchange with Anderson Cooper, Biden is attempting to explain some of the problems being encountered while trying to get everyone vaccinated. One issue is the online registration process to request a vaccine. There have clearly been problems with some of the registration systems, but what prompted Biden to suddenly veer off the script and say that minorities, in particular, can’t figure the system out is a total mystery. Turn on your audio for this brief clip.
Biden: Minorities don't know "how to get online."
How can a president be so remarkably condescending to blacks and hispanics, and the media just nods along. pic.twitter.com/gs7MUdONc3
— DaybreakInsider (@DaybreakInsider) February 17, 2021
“The other portion is, a lot of people don’t know how to register. Not everybody in the community, in the Hispanic and African-American community particularly, and in rural areas that are distant or inner-city districts, know how to use, know how to get online to determine how to get in line for that COVID vaccination at the Walgreens.”
Do we really need to say it for the umpteenth time here today? Can you imagine the response if Donald Trump had ever said that? Or any Republican, really. The cries of racism would be echoing from the ceilings of every newsroom in the country. Aren’t statements like that pretty much defined as being racist or did all of those rules go out the window on January 20th?
Perhaps even more amazing was the way Anderson Cooper was willing to stand there on stage, nodding his head and acting as if this was the most normal thing in the world. I’ve had CNN on (muted) all morning while working and unless I missed it, none of their talking heads have brought this up for criticism or discussion. I think we’ve gone to the other side of the rainbow, Dorthy.
The sad part of all of this is that Biden was pointing out a very real issue in his own stammering way, and it’s one that applies to remote learning even more than COVID vaccination registration. It’s absolutely true that there are a lot of people who don’t enjoy the same access to online services for a variety of reasons. There are still plenty of senior citizens who never got into the internet craze, and they’re the ones who need to be registering for vaccinations before almost everyone else. Some rural areas have very limited access.
It’s also true that reliable internet access, smartphones and laptops are expensive. That means that low-income communities often face greater challenges in accessing such services. And yes, particularly in our larger cities, that means that some of the hardest-hit places will be majority-minority neighborhoods. But cut the malarkey, man. You don’t come out and just say it that way. Besides, there are plenty of poor white and Asian communities around the country too.
In the end, this was almost certainly nothing more than a classically defined “gaffe” on Biden’s part. What’s more surprising is the response (or lack thereof) on the part of the media. Clearly the rules have changed now that a Democrat is in the White House, so everyone had better just get used to it.