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The media has been breathlessly attacking Biden. What about Trump?

  
Via:  John Russell  •  4 days ago  •  42 comments

By:   the Guardian

The media has been breathlessly attacking Biden. What about Trump?
The bigger story is Donald Trump's appalling unfitness for office. He tried to overturn a legitimate election and is a felon

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S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Margaret Sullivan

The bigger story is Donald Trump's appalling unfitness for office. He tried to overturn a legitimate election and is a felon

It's possible for two conflicting ideas to be true at once.

And so it is with the mainstream media's unrelenting focus on Joe Biden's mental acuity, following his terrible debate performance earlier this month.

First truth: the president's stumble and the political fallout that followed is a huge, consequential news story that deserves a lot of coverage.

Second truth: the media coverage is overkill - not only too much in quantity and too breathless in tone, but also taking up so much oxygen that a story even more important is shoved to the back burner.

That bigger story, of course, is the former president's appalling unfitness for office, not only because he tried to overturn a legitimate election and is a felon, out on bail and awaiting sentencing, but because of things he has said and done in very recent weeks. As just one example, he claimed that he doesn't know anything about Project 2025, the radical rightwing plan hatched by some of his closest allies to begin dismantling our democracy if he wins another term.

Trump's disavowal is a ridiculous lie, but I doubt most members of the public know anything about it, nor do they likely know much - if anything - about Project 2025.

But anyone following mainstream media coverage could not miss knowing about the latest polls on whether Biden should step aside, how Kamala Harris would fare in a head-to-head competition with Trump, and which members of Congress have called for a new Democratic nominee.

And those are just the news stories - not to mention the nonstop punditry on cable news and the near takeover of the opinion sections of major publications.

Meanwhile, what of Trump's obvious cognitive decline, his endless lies, his shocking plans to imprison his political enemies and to deport millions of people he calls "animals", his relationship with the late accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein?

"Sure, you can say, we've covered those things," commented Norman Ornstein, emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a longtime observer of media and politics. But, Ornstein pushed back: "Where? On the front page above the fold? As one-offs before moving on? In a fashion comparable to the Defcon 1 coverage of Biden's age and acuity?"

There really is no comparison in the amount or intensity of coverage. One journalist, Jennifer Schulze, counted New York Times stories related to Biden's age in the week following the debate; she counted a staggering 192 news and opinion pieces, compared to 92 stories on Trump - and that was in a week when the US supreme court had ruled he has immunity for official acts.

Nor is there much self-scrutiny or effort to course-correct. Only self-satisfaction and an apparent commitment to more of the same.

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post queried the Times about any pushback, specifically from the White House. "Have you gotten any complaints about age coverage since the debate?" Wemple asked top Times editor Joe Kahn, who recently praised the paper's coverage in a note to staff. Kahn said no.

He also dismissed as "factually wrong" the criticism from former Times editor Jill Abramson that the Times "failed in the first duty of journalism: to hold power accountable" because reporters didn't break through what she described as an enormous White House cover-up of Biden's mental and physical decline. Kahn also brushed off criticism on social media from the left and the right.

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On Monday, the Times sent out as "breaking news" a story whose headline announced that an expert in Parkinson's disease had visited the White House eight times in a recent eight-month period; much further down in the story we learn that the same doctor also had made 10 visits to the White House in 2012, and that he has supported the White House medical team for more than a dozen years. But many people never get past the headline.

Why is the pundit class so desperate to push Biden out of the race? | Rebecca SolnitRead more

"I'm starting to think the Times will see it as a 'win' if Biden drops out," one media observer told me this week.

Of course, the problem certainly is not just the New York Times, despite its agenda-setting influence. It's also TV news, both network and cable. And, to a lesser extent, it's other major US publications.

Where does that leave us?

All of these disturbing elements - the Democrats' dilemma, the media's failures, and the cult-like, unquestioning support of Trump - could add up to one likelihood in November.

A win for Trump, and a terrible loss for democracy.

  • Margaret Sullivan is a Guardian US columnist writing on media, politics and culture


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    4 days ago
On Monday, the Times sent out as "breaking news" a story whose headline announced that an expert in Parkinson's disease had visited the White House eight times in a recent eight-month period; much further down in the story we learn that the same doctor also had made 10 visits to the White House in 2012, and that he has supported the White House medical team for more than a dozen years. But many people never get past the headline. Why is the pundit class so desperate to push Biden out of the race? 
 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 days ago

Everything about President Biden IMHO is merely a deflection/distraction/projection from the ranting raving demented socio-psychopath vengeful retribution campaign of the former 'president'

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 days ago

I forget where I saw this recently, but a lot of the so called main stream media are contributors to this 2025 PROJECT, the one the former 'president' knows nothing about, but were all in his cabinet, they're saying a lot of horrible things, but I know nothing about them, but I wish them well . . . .

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
1.3  CB  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 days ago

It will take the public to call the networks and tell them to "blank-off" the one-off debate debacle. We all have our good days and our bad days. To end the Parkinson's 'reset,' because it turns out it was a nothing-burger. and a president like the rest of us who are aging and are entitled to healthcare is free to have a 'check,' and finally to consider that many of them in the media are 'eating their own lunch' when they sat a table to consume Biden in the public and not leave enough to protect them from "the thing with a thousand eyes oozing pus and slimy lies across the middle and southern states" —Donald.

Don't even think of Joe, when their personal and familial asses need saving from the dictatorial right! Apparently, Hillary's lost to Donald was not enough in a personal history lesson to teach the 4th Estate that truth in reporting does require journalist to sometimes take a positive and proper stand up for it! Apparently, Donald's warning that he is 'hot' after a goodly number of their butts by name does not stir professional corporate-industry or personal self-survival in them.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
2  Gsquared    4 days ago
A win for Trump
a terrible loss for democracy

The two are synonymous.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3  Trout Giggles    4 days ago

All these journalists counting how many age related news stories about Biden and wringing their hands over how much coverage Biden's bad showing...why aren't they out there beating the drums against trmp and getting that coverage above the fold?

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
3.1  CB  replied to  Trout Giggles @3    4 days ago

I am especially 'upset' with Abby Phillips on CNN and Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. Both anchors should know better! Both insist on ramming the story down the listeners throats until we squeal for merciful relief. And, its "I know we should talk about Donald, but Biden . . . . "  Not even two stories later since the last presidential debate.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  CB @3.1    4 days ago
hillips on CNN and Andrea Mitchell on MSNB

Yeah, how dare the "news" report that the leader of the free world can't meet with other leaders in the early evening because his brain doesn't work at night.   That's not nearly as important as what flag the wife of a Supreme Court justice flew or whether Trump bragged about his golf game. You know, the important stuff. 

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
3.1.2  CB  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.1.1    3 days ago

There is absolutely nothing wrong with meeting leaders in the prime-time of daylight. Mature Elderly people should be allowed to rest. You can poo-poo it all you want. And since you went there. Donald, a mature elderly man, in his former presidency, was 'reported' to be up at O-dark-thirty daily tweeting his lies and other bizarre bashings about incidental persons. . . we can presume that his naps happen during the daytime. Because sleep will overtake the best of humanity. . . and I know you think of Donald as. . .human.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @3    4 days ago

It seems hard to find any news outlet - right - left - or otherwise - that doesn't give the former 'president' any really 'bad' press that I can see but they sure as hell trash President Biden constantly.  So, President Biden is under enormous pressure and some folks never take that into account but my point is I guess just reinforcing what you all say.  The coverage on the two is FAR FROM EQUAL IMHO

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Tessylo  replied to  Tessylo @3.2    4 days ago

There is a fair share of left and middle leaning coverage I know, but not as much as I would consider equal by any means

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.2  Tessylo  replied to  Tessylo @3.2.1    4 days ago

It's hard when all the right seems to have is 'LEFT BAD, no matter what'

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Tessylo @3.2.2    4 days ago

You're not going to convince them to change their minds. They hate the left, they hate us, they hate free thinking individuals who won't march to the beat of their drums

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
3.2.4  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.2.3    4 days ago

You do realize that drips with irony right?

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.5  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.2.3    4 days ago

Oh, I know, most of my fans don't read the logical and sensible posts that my friends post here outlining all facts with videos and citations out the wazoo usually and the first remark from some folks is, yeah, well Hillary or prove it or some other bullshit.  It's frustrating but our reality.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2.6  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @3.2.4    4 days ago

If you want to reverse it, be my guest.

Except I really am a free thinking individual and marching to the beat of my own drummer has led to me to many a mishap in my life, especially being a liberal in the military

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2.7  Trout Giggles  replied to  Tessylo @3.2.5    4 days ago

I don't think they will be happy until they run some us of out of town

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
4  Sean Treacy    4 days ago

Lol.. watching democrats whine about press coverage is like watching the Harlem globetrotters complain about officiating.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @4    4 days ago

The press has always gone easy on Trump. He would never have gotten elected otherwise. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    4 days ago
The press has always gone easy on Trump.

wow.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.1    4 days ago

That's been said for the last 9 years and is sooooo wrong

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.1    4 days ago

When Trump entered the campaign in 2015 he was already the most unqualified major party candidate for president in the history of the country. 

The media just let that skate by. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
4.1.4  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    4 days ago

jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1.5  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1.4    4 days ago

in all seriousness, what would you know about it ? 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
4.1.6  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1.5    4 days ago

My God JR, you yourself were posting anywhere from 2 to 5 articles a day from 2015 on and to an extent, still are today

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1.3    4 days ago
he media just let that skate by. 

Are you kidding?  

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
4.1.8  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1.5    4 days ago

Probably more than you. You keep repeating the same wrong shit over and over without backing it up. You could just ignore my comments instead of defaulting to a personal attack or a snide remark.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
4.1.9  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    4 days ago

jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

Thank you for confirming leftists live in an alternate reality.

The press created Trump during the Republican primaries as he was the only candidate they thought Hillary could defeat. Once he was nominated they turned on him and have been against him ever since. Problem is they can't kill the monster they created.

How many unsubstantiated leaks were regurgitated by the media during the Russian collusion hoax? Each more sensational than the last. Every last one of them as fake as the journalist that "quoted" the original lie. Then came the Madcow Trump tax BS. Which leftist sheeple gobbled up. After that it was the Ukraine hoax (made all the funnier by it being proven Biden forcing Ukraine to fire the prosecutor that was investigating the company his son worked for. Then pulling the same shit again with Israel aid.). The secret interviews by House Democrats; Schiff being played by two Russian shock jocks; and all of the leaks that amounted to nothing. Now it is all the lawfare BS.

The press finally figured out most people have Trump fatigue. We aren't buying their regurgitated bullshit any more.

Now they are concentrating on Biden- since Trump is no longer selling; except to the TDS driven.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1.10  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1.8    4 days ago
Probably more than you.

that'll be the day

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1.11  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1.8    4 days ago

jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
4.1.12  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1.10    4 days ago

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Quiet
4.1.13  MonsterMash  replied to  JohnRussell @4.1    3 days ago
The press has always gone easy on Trump.

jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.1.14  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Right Down the Center @4.1.12    3 days ago
that'll be the day

I was thinking more of John Wayne in The Searchers

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
4.2  Gsquared  replied to  Sean Treacy @4    3 days ago
watching democrats whine about press coverage

Nothing whatsoever compared to the incessant bitching and moaning about press coverage from republicans for decades.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Expert
5  Nerm_L    4 days ago

Do we need to put the last eight years of Trump reporting on a loop?  In case no one has noticed, Trump is already under indictment and has been convicted of 34 felonies .   96

Trump's lies, crimes, and treasons are already being dealt with by the institutions of democracy.  That news ain't new news; it's stale old news.  Democrats' success in vilifying Trump has become Biden's undoing.  Old, old, old news about Trump just can't compete with breaking news about Biden.

Joe Biden is getting all the attention because he has made himself newsworthy.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not Trump's fault. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1  Tessylo  replied to  Nerm_L @5    4 days ago

cocoa puffs

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Expert
5.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Tessylo @5.1    4 days ago
cocoa puffs

corn pops

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2  Right Down the Center  replied to  Nerm_L @5    4 days ago
Old, old, old news about Trump just can't compete with breaking news about Biden.

I guess people were getting tired of more than 8 years of hate Trump 24/7.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Right Down the Center @5.2    4 days ago

fuck trump

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
5.2.2  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.1    4 days ago

No thanks

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Expert
5.2.3  Nerm_L  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.1    3 days ago
fuck trump

Is that you Stormy?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
6  Greg Jones    4 days ago

Biden and his far-left progressive supporters and servile sycophants deserve all the bad press and negative attention they are getting.

 
 

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