The Limits of Elite Media
There are some things they just can't sell
The latest poll from the Washington Post and ABC News sent shockwaves through America’s media commentariat over the weekend, with numbers that are absolutely dire for President Biden. “This poll is just brutal”, announced former Democratic spokesperson turned ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos. He’s correct: with approval ratings at just 36 percent, and lagging far behind Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis in potential general election matchups, the voting numbers are terrible. But the personal ratings are somehow even worse than that — 68 percent of those polled, including 48 percent of Democrats, believe Biden is too old for another term. And just 32 percent think he has the mental acuity to serve as president — including 69 percent of Independents.
The numbers jarred Stephanopoulos and commentators across the spectrum. But they’re also a wake-up call for the media about their limitations in selling certain ideas to the American public, well after they’ve seen enough evidence to the contrary.
From the moment that his campaign for the 2020 presidential nomination began, Biden was protected by the media elite. With precious few exceptions, he was treated to softball questions and kid-glove treatment, with a wall of media supporters who maintained that his central narrative — about “restoring the soul of the nation” — was a pure, virtuous aim bent on returning normalcy to fraught political affairs. They emphasized his best attributes and didn’t mind that he ran for president from a basement via streaming video. And when Biden hit speedbumps, they were there for him. How many of them stood up for the New York Post on the Hunter Biden story, or questioned the social media narrative, instead of dutifully reporting on an intel expert letter scheme as if it were not purposefully organized by Biden’s team to be a debate talking point?
With the exception of Peter Doocy, Joe Biden managed to go the entire presidential general election without taking a single tough question from a reporter. And even now, in his third year in office, even after finding out that he kept classified documents in his garage by his car, the tough questions aren’t there. Other than complaints about the lack of access to the president, the press corps is happy to take the crumbs they are fed. Biden is content to dodge all but the most obsequious interviewers — and when he does sit down, he’s served up questions as soft as the ice cream Joe just loves oh so very much — yes, we know — yet he still manages to meander and offer legally eyebrow-raising answers
There comes a point where you just can’t spin something any more — there’s too much proof that what you’re saying simply isn’t true. Three years into the first term of a man whose inauguration was hailed by CNN as something that would “inspire our friends and shake our foes,” people can see that just hasn’t happened. Voters aren’t more confident about the economy or inflation, the culture war hasn’t died down one bit, the world seems as dangerous as ever, and the direction of the country feels terrible. Once those feelings are locked in, they’re not easily overcome — and the media giants can only spin for so long before the truth becomes evident. The truth about Joe Biden is that he’s too old, he’s too slow — and only die-hard partisans say otherwise. This means getting re-elected will require him to destroy his opponents. The media will help him try. But even they can’t accomplish miracles.
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