Reporters Blame “Right-Wing Media” for Their Failure to Disclose Biden’s Infirmity – Jonathan Turley 7/4/24


The media is sorry . . . sort of. After the shocking appearance of President Joe Biden in the presidential debate, the public has turned its attention to the press which has, again, buried a major scandal for years. According to CNN, the reporters at the White House are really, really sorry but explained that it was the “right-wing media” that prompted them to avoid the story. It is a telling admission that, yet again, reporters chose not to report on a story because they wanted to frame the news for political purposes. It is precisely the pattern that I discuss in my new book The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage where the media now rejects objectivity and neutrality as core values in journalism.

For years, there have been questions about President Joe Biden’s mental and physical decline. Those concerns reached their apex when Special Counsel Robert Hur issued his report. While finding that Biden had unlawfully retained and mishandled classified material for decades, he concluded that prosecution would be difficult because a jury would be swayed by the appearance of an elderly man with declining memory.

The media pounced and attacked Hur while media figures attested to the President’s acuity and ability. Then, as videos repeatedly surfaced showing the President confused and fragile, the media declared them “cheap fakes” and attacked Fox News and other outlets for airing them even though Fox noted that the clips were unedited. (For full disclosure, I am a Fox News analyst). Virtually every news outlet aired the attack with politicians, pundits, and celebrities attesting that the President was sharp and engaged.

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough stated

“start your tape right now because I’m about to tell you the truth. And F— you if you can’t handle the truth. This version of Biden intellectually, analytically, is the best Biden ever. Not a close second. And I have known him for years…If it weren’t the truth I wouldn’t say it.”

Then the presidential debate happened and, after years of being protected by staff, tens of millions of people watched the president struggle to stay focused and responsive.

So, as an embarrassed press struggled to explain the most recent belated disclosure, the reason is the “right-wing press” and the need to counter their narratives.

While saying that reporters “are now expressing regret,” CNN explains that “some members of the White House press corps who have regular exposure to President Biden are now admitting they were “turned off” from exposing his mental decline before last week’s debate in part because of the attention it has got from ‘right-wing media.’”

It was just part of shaping the news, which is now the priority in journalism.

A recent series of interviews with over 75 media leaders by Leonard Downie Jr., former Washington Post executive editor, and Andrew Heyward, former CBS News president, reaffirmed this shift. As Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, editor-in-chief at the San Francisco Chronicle, stated: “Objectivity has got to go.”

But that objectivity seems to depend heavily upon what ideology you are advocating….

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