“Hopeful Biden Says, ‘I Need You.’”
“Biden Sets Vaccine Goal That Would Allow Americans To Gather By July 4.”
These headlines, from the covers of the printed New York Times, LA Times, and Boston Globe, greeted Americans Friday morning, 51 days into the Biden presidency and a full year into the beginnings of America’s long lockdown experiment.
“Seven Takeaways From Biden’s Prime-Time Address” topped CNN’s site. Chris Cillizza’s first two “takeaways”? “Donald Trump dug the hole” was number one. Number two? “A return to empathy.” Chris Cillizza, it’s worth noting, is a 45-year-old man and does not work for the White House.
“Last night is why Joe Biden won the presidency,” Politico Playbook opened with a straight face.
If you hadn’t watched the president’s prime-time address, you might think it was something — anything — other than the most depressing, defeated, and resigned speech since President Jimmy Carter held the office. You might think he hadn’t devoted his third sentence to a baseless attack on his predecessor, and the entire rest of his address to death, sadness, loneliness, and despair. You might think he hadn’t literally threatened the American people, warning, “We may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track, please, we don’t want to do that again.”
Rather, to read The Washington Post homepage’s featured commentary on the address, you’d think “Much of that speech was about hope.”
“It was about seeing a shaft of light at the end of a dark horror,” Robin Givhan, a 56-year-old woman who once won a Pulitzer for “witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism,” wrote. “His white French cuffs and his crisp pocket square,” she went to tell us, “evoked all of the institutional power and authority at his disposal to make things better.”
“[H]is mere presence on television,” she insisted, was a declaration of “his pride in the country’s progress.”
If you’re wondering why you didn’t see any of this, don’t worry: It didn’t happen. But more and more, we all have to take a step back, throw some water on our faces, and look around in disbelief at the state of our corporate media.
Take the other big story of the week: Fox News’s Tucker Carlson dared say that our country, faced with a vicious China growing stronger every day, shouldn’t pat itself on the back for its military featuring “maternity flight suits.” This is so obvious it shouldn’t need to be said at all, but the Pentagon felt the need to react anyways, launching a full-on broadside on his heresy.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a veteran whose Blackhawk was shot down by insurgents, launched a fundraiser for her campaign called “F*ck Tucker Carlson.” The commander of Space Force filmed an unintentionally hysterical video on his webcam reminding his delicate troops that Tucker thinking pregnant women aren’t ideal fighting machines “is based off of actually zero days of serving in the armed services.”
So what does this have to do with corporate media? Reporters, in unison, chased the ball. And like that, just one day after the Pentagon (or someone at it) leaked the classified report showing the Chinese military dominating the United States in a Pacific war game, the news cycle changed to “Tucker Carlson Bad.”
So weird that Tucker Carlson’s thoughts on maternity flight suits have managed to morally outrage the entire DoD the same week a leaked war game outlined in great detail the very real possibility China could win a war against the US … https://t.co/y1aMcgzGPz
Barely 24 hours ago, a leaked DoD document figured a decent chance for how China could militarily subjugate the US … I wonder why poo pooing Tucker Carlson is suddenly a priority … I WONDER … https://t.co/d53O9gwlLm
Throw the ball and they’ll chase it. It’s a good trick. President Donald Trump knew it well, if he played it differently.
But that’s not all! This week also marks the Biden administration setting a record as the longest a president has gone without a press conference in an entire century. So do reporters even need a ball to chase? As we saw on the campaign trail and as we read Friday morning, the answer is no. While easily distracted from actual news, our corporate media is also perfectly content with, perfectly skilled at, perfectly shameless over crafting their new president’s propaganda for him basically regardless of what he says. The only question is, are you listening?
Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo White House Photo Courtesy Of Ana Isabel Martinez Chamorro/Flickr.
Chris Cillizza CNN coronavirus Covid-19 Donald Trump Joe Biden lockdown Politico Playbook Robin Givhan The Boston Globe The New York Times The Washington Post
“Hopeful Biden Says, ‘I Need You.’”