Team Biden to networks: Stop booking Rudy for interviews

Is Rudy Guiliani a threat to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign? That would seem to be the message from two of Biden’s top people – senior adviser Anita Dunn and deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield. They have sent a letter to the major television networks demanding that Rudy no longer be booked as a guest on news shows.

While this looks like authoritarianism that the left frequently uses against those who do not fall in line, the demand also reminds us of a time when Barack Obama encouraged Democrats to boycott Fox News Channel (FNC). If the left is afraid of the truth, or simply of a different point of view, the source of that friction must be shut down. There is no room for more than one point of view.

Interestingly enough, Anita Dunn is in the middle of delegitimatizing Rudy now. She also played a role in the FNC boycott during the early days of the Obama administration. She was the White House communications director. Now she and Bedingfield are trying to silence Rudy Guiliani. They accuse Guiliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, of spreading “false, debunked conspiracy theories”.

“By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation.”

“We write to demand that in service to the facts, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani,” they continued, suggesting that the Trump surrogate has “demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative.”

That is a standard accusation these days. Both sides of the aisle accuse the other of lying if what is being said isn’t jiving with a narrative. In this case, Team Biden is facing a downward trend in Uncle Joe’s campaign and his staff is worried. So, their inclination is to simply demand that their friends in the media stop interviewing the man who goes on television and tells viewers what he wants them to know about whatever controversy is in the news – right now it is Ukraine.

I suppose this is a natural progression for Biden’s campaign. Remember recently when Biden jabbed his finger in the face of FNC’s reporter Peter Doocy and told him to “ask the right question”? Kate Bedingfield was quite proud of her boss for that remark and tweeted the exchange out. Biden also said he’d “beat Trump like a drum”.

Speaking of unhinged behavior, as Biden’s campaign does of Rudy, I thought at the time that Biden sounded unhinged with Doocy and posted it on Twitter (you can follow me @penguinponders). I found Bedingfield’s tweet about the exchange to be odd but clearly she was proud of the candidate.

As a side note, I watch Showtime’s The Circus, a semi-documentary style series that records the candidates out on the trail and in candid interviews. It’s all from a liberal, anti-Trump point of view. Two liberal reporters and one GOP Never-Trump consultant are the “talent” in the show. When the show included Biden’s exchange with Doocy in that gaggle with reporters in Iowa, the “ask the right question” statement was edited out. When I tweeted about that, I had a little exchange with one of the three privately, in DM. The GOP consultant tried to tell me I had it wrong, that Biden’s “ask the right question” incident happened the next day. He was wrong and there is no defense for the edit, other than to help Joe Biden. This is why Americans don’t trust reporters.

Apparently Team Biden didn’t like Rudy’s performances in service to his client as he appeared on Sunday morning shows. Rudy is a no-nonsense kind of guy and doesn’t sit idly by to let show hosts spin events and narratives to make Democrats look better – in this case, it was the alleged Biden family corruption with their dealings in Ukraine. This Ukraine story is as toxic for Biden as it may be for Trump. The media didn’t bother to do any investigating about Biden threatening to withhold aid to Ukraine during the Obama administration, nor did they uncover his son Hunter’s sweet deal with the Ukrainian gas company. Reporters only awakened from their 8-year slumber during two Obama terms when Trump won the election.

Giuliani appeared on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation,” with the shows’ hosts, George Stephanopoulos and Margaret Brennan, respectively, among the recipients of the letter from the Biden campaign.

The letter was sent to more than a dozen TV news executives and journalists, including the presidents of CNN (Jeff Zucker), Fox News (Suzanne Scott), MSNBC (Phil Griffin), ABC News (James Goldston), NBC News (Noah Oppenheim) and CBS News (Susan Zirinsky), and hosts such as CNN’s Jake Tapper, NBC’s Chuck Todd and Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

Rudy Guiliani is the president’s personal lawyer. He is doing his job. He sometimes goes rogue and his conversations with reporters go in different directions but he is aggressively defending President Trump and that is a good thing. Democrats are accustomed to friendly media and old Joe seems to be having trouble when he is asked legitimate questions that may be uncomfortable to answer. He isn’t very quick on his feet.

The networks haven’t responded to Team Biden’s strongarm tactics yet. Guiliani has, as you might expect.

Over the course of an hour on Sunday evening, Giuliani fired back with half a dozen posts on Twitter.

“Joe and Hunter Biden are clearly rattled by the affidavit showing there is a named accuser and not an anonymous source,” he tweeted, without giving any details. “The Bidens have played the influence game for years and now the American people are demanding answers!”

Regarding the letter from the campaign, he said: “Think of the Biden arrogance and entitlement to protection. They believe they own the media and they are demanding that they silence me. They know I have incriminating facts, not hearsay, because they know what they did in selling Joe’s office to a Ukrainian crook.”

Dunn and Bedingfield characterize Guiliani as a Trump surrogate when he is much more than that. He is the president’s personal lawyer and he is mixed up in the Ukraine story himself. He isn’t just defending Trump, he is also defending himself. Dunn and Bedingfield think the networks are damaging Biden’s campaign and must have an interview with a Biden surrogate if Rudy is on air. Not just a Democrat but a campaign surrogate. Networks do that, though, so their demand falls short. Senator Coons, for example, speaks as a campaign surrogate when he appears on FNC and not just as a run-of-the-mill Democrat for balance. Many of the anchors on cable news channels often sound as though they are on the Biden campaign’s payroll. Give me a break.

Biden’s team keeps a short leash on him. He doesn’t sit for many interviews and certainly not with reporters who are not on his side of the aisle. This is a way of increasing protection from the press as his campaign hits bumpy terrain. It sure doesn’t inspire confidence in the candidate and his ability to handle controversy if his team has to demand special treatment. And his campaign’s strong-arming of the media is now surprisingly transparent. It should be an embarrassment that the letter was made public but it won’t be to them. Remember, Bedingfield proudly tweeted his “ask the right question” response. They think this is normal behavior. The campaign should make Biden available if he’s being treated wrongly and let him defend himself.