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President Joe Biden had yet another dustup with a reporter on Monday. Biden rumbles with journalists like he was facing off against his one-time, alleged swimming pool nemesis Corn Pop.
In the latest round of Biden vs. The Press, a reporter explained that, “Economists are saying a recession is even more likely than ever.” That was too much for the pugnacious prez. “The majority of ’em aren’t saying that. C’mon, don’t make things up, OK?” he responded. “Now you sound like a Republican politician. I was joking. That is a joke.”
Except, it happens a lot. He argues with CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and, of course, Fox News. According to one study, he gave only a fraction of the number of interviews given by Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Biden knocked NBC anchor Lester Holt for “being a wise guy” for asking about inflation. He even joked about running down ABC’s Cecilia Vega — in an electric vehicle, of course.
This isn’t Trump, who the press attacked almost hourly. This is Biden, the preferred candidate of the news media. That’s what makes his behavior so astonishing.
The confrontations come when Biden is frustrated that the press isn’t sticking with the approved narrative. He made that point when interviewed by non-journalist and designated sycophant Jimmy Kimmel. Biden whined that “everything gets sensationalized by the media.” Earlier in the day, he criticized journalists in an off-the-record session, knocking “the quality and tenor of press coverage of his administration,” according to Politico.
The White House communication staff keeps the president under wraps. Politico wrote in September, “When Biden gives public remarks, some White House staffers will either mute him or turn off his remarks, according to White House officials.” That much was obvious when Biden started to answer questions during the White House Easter Egg Roll and a White House PR staffer literally pushed him away from eager journalists.
Part of Biden’s problem is longevity. He’s had 49 years to fight with the press. His political career is nearly the same age as the average newly elected member of the House of Representatives. But most of the issue is that Biden simply doesn’t like tough questions. Ever.
Everyone knows that Biden has had brushes with Fox News’s Peter Doocy, but the president has fought with a wide variety of outlets. Here are three of the best examples:
1. Biden won’t even talk to the press: Forget open government, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report January 13, 2022, slamming Biden for rarely talking to journalists. The report stated, “He has given far fewer press conferences and media interviews than either Barack Obama or Donald Trump in their first years in office.”
The report explained that “Biden held just one full-scale solo press conference at the White House and four on foreign trips during his first year in office.” He also gave “just 22 interviews as president to members of the news media.” That paled in comparison to 92 by Trump and 150 by Obama in their first years.
2. President tells off CNN reporter: CNN Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins asked Biden about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. “Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President,” she inquired.
“I’m not confident. What the hell, what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?” came the harsh response. He was even tougher answering her follow-up question. “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business,” he slammed.
3. Biden fights with CBS reporter: In March, CBS reporter Christina Ruffini quizzed Biden about his failed Ukraine policy, noting, “deterrence didn’t work.” “Let’s get something straight. You remember if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say that, in fact, the sanctions would deter him. Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter,” Biden answered.
Of course, that had been the party line coming out of the White House from Vice President Kamala Harris on down. Biden argued continued pressure would stop the invasion. So Ruffini asked her question again. Biden got testier. “That’s not what I said. You’re playing a game with me. The answer’s no,” Biden snapped back.
All of these incidents reflect the White House attitude that Biden’s popularity would be higher if only the press were kinder. In reality, the news media have done a far better job covering up the president’s failures than his own press team. And they aren’t even on the payroll.