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On the day that President Joe Biden signed into law a bipartisan, $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will help rebuild bridges, roads and broadband nationwide as well as transform public transportation in this country, the Washington Post opted to run a Biden gotcha piece on its front page. And a strange one, at that.
As Beltway journalists fan out each day in search of new angle for the Dems in Disarray narrative, the Post’s Tyler Pager decided the reason Biden’s approval ratings are down is because he’s not pessimistic enough. “A growing number of Democrats worry that the White House has repeatedly underestimated the scale of the challenges facing the country,” the Post reported. The article pointed to a July 6 comment Biden made about the Covid virus being “on the run,” as a key example of Biden presenting a too-rosy picture of current events to Americans.
Anyone who can read a graph knows that in July the virus clearly was on the run — the average number of cases over a seven-day span had fallen from 68,000 in April, to 12,000 by July. But Biden was out of line, according to the Post, for emphasizing the then-good news about the pandemic.
The Post basically hit Biden for not inciting general panic with his public comments regarding the challenges the U.S. faces today, as we come out of an unprecedented global pandemic, which has scrambled economies around the world.
Doesn’t this feel like a media trap? If Biden had spent his first year in office leaning into doom-and-gloom rhetoric, it’s almost certain outlets like the Post would criticize him for it and ask why can’t he be a more optimistic leader, like Ronald Reagan. Recall that in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter earnestly addressed the country about the crippling energy crisis, he was mocked by the media for his “malaise” speech.
Also, the president before Biden lied to the press and to the public almost every time he moved his lips, but Biden is too optimistic in his world view? It’s a Both Sides Olympics as the press trying to find fault with a Democrat in the wake of Trump’s insane reign.
Trump told America the pandemic would be over by Easter 2020, and that the virus would soon just “disappear.” Following that brand of delusional Oval Office behavior, it’s not possible to point to Biden’s straight-shooting rhetoric this year and pretend he’s dodged the hard truths.
As for the Post, it couldn’t actually find Democrats who agreed with the odd premise of the article — they “fear that the administration’s tendency to downplay the issues has only made things worse.”
The Post quoted several Democrat officials in the article. Not one of them came close to suggesting that Biden needs to become gloomier in order to be a more successful leader and president. Most of them commenting on messaging:
• “I am saying we have to break these issues down into simpler, more immediate terms.” (Rep. Connor Lamb)
• “There hasn’t been great communication about what these bills mean for people.” (Rep. Josh Gottheimer)
• “I don’t think Democrats brag enough.” (Steven Reed, mayor of Montgomery, Alabama)
• “I don’t know what the Republican record of accomplishment is. They’ve not done anything.” (Rep. Mike Doyle)
The only person in the piece who confirmed the Post’s premise was a Republican, former Ohio governor John Kasich.
The Post couldn’t find any Democrats who agreed that Biden is guilty of sugarcoating things, but that didn’t stop the daily from publishing the piece and its wildly misleading claim. It’s an example of the Beltway press deciding to push a certain Biden narrative and not letting the facts get in the way of the story.
The article also contained one of the strangest paragraphs of the year, as the Post desperately searched for Biden flaws (emphasis added):
The American Families Plan was rebranded over the summer as the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, a bill defined not by its content but by its price tag. It later became Build Back Better, more commonly referred to as BBB, an acronym with the unfortunate feature of lacking a vowel that allows for pronunciation.
The newspaper wasn’t alone in terms of working overtime on Monday searching out strange Biden gotcha angles. Politico suggested the infrastructure bill signing was less of a Biden win because a new poll shows fewer Republican voters support it.
For years, the Beltway press insisted that for all major legislation, Democratic presidents need bipartisan support for the bills to really count as legitimate accomplishments. Landing GOP support on the Hill is viewed as the most important step of passing any law.
Incredibly, Biden did that with the infrastructure bill, temporarily piercing the Republicans’ radical brand of obstructionism. Politico then decided to go one step better (or worse) and suggest the $1.2 trillion bill was tainted because not enough Republican voters like the bill.
I don’t remember this kind of hand-wringing coverage when Trump signed his highly partisan tax bill into law in 2017 and just four percent (!) of Democrats thought it would help the middle class.
There are lots of fair topics Biden could be criticized for. Not being pessimistic enough doesn’t seem like a worthwhile one.
(Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)
💰 GOOD STUFF:
I had been wondering about this angle of the ongoing inflation story and I’m glad the Wall Street Journal finally addressed it, “What Does Inflation Mean for American Businesses? For Some, Bigger Profits”:
Executives are seizing a once in a generation opportunity to raise prices to match and in some cases outpace their own higher expenses, after decades of grinding down costs and prices.
Mattress maker Sleep Number Corp. has pushed through three major price increases this year. So has Carrier Global Corp. , a manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment, which typically changes its prices once a year.
🎤 FUN STUFF — BECAUSE WE ALL NEED A BREAK
Bedouine, “The Solitude”
Acclaimed LA folkie Azniv Korkejian, who performs as Bedouine, defines “angelic” with her lilting voice and soothing, ode-to-Joni-Mitchell guitar. Add to that a detective’s eye for songwriting detail that produce modern folks fables, and the singer-songwriter continues to delight.
Baby when you're gone the night's so quiet
Dinner table it's one-sided
Too many pillows, too big a bed
Can't decide where to lay my head
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