The Media’s Aversion to Questioning Biden

by | Nov 4, 2020 | Opinion, page 2

There was a day (not in my lifetime) when national media could be trusted to ask hard questions and deliver the facts. The editorial pages offered arguments, sure, but regardless of whether one’s family received the Times or the Journal, the engaged citizen could get informed. These days being informed is only possible with a painstaking review of all biased sources. Even then, your analysis is sure to have blind spots.

My aim isn’t to tell you whether you should have voted for Biden or Trump. Instead, I bring the argument that every major source of media has a master—and that master is the political interest of their subscribers’ party of choice. Combining a predominantly-liberal mainstream media and scandal-ridden conservative candidate, we (Americans) were not given the information we deserved prior to Nov. 3.

For the past few months we’ve seen the media do everything possible to stop Biden from opening his mouth on camera given his many gaffes. They continued ripping into Trump, rightly so in many cases, while judging that Biden didn’t need a campaign anymore—he just needed to wait for Trump to lose.

When Biden did get in front of a camera, and had to open his mouth (think the last debate, 60 Minutes, every other interview with a liberal network) few have questioned him on anything substantive. Reporters have pushed no line of questioning regarding the laptop found at a repair shop, which contains emails suggesting potentially corrupt business deals involving Biden and his son, Hunter.

Did the laptop really belong to his son? Were the emails referring to “the Big Guy,” to his knowledge, Joe himself? Who knows.

The only instance I can find of a related question being asked is in this video, where Biden walks away from an unidentified reporter beginning “… one more question. The FBI …” And he’s gone.

The New York Times story “What We Know and Don’t About Hunter Biden and a Laptop” takes a weird turn in the subtitle, asserting that Trump’s allies have “promoted claims of corruption” to “damage the Biden campaign.” It’s a reasonable take, but neutral sources are not supposed to have “takes.”

Why does an alleged story about Hunter Biden have its subtitle and opening paragraph stress that the allegations work in Trump’s favor? Why does a news story frame the issue as accusations made by the Trump campaign, despite the American public’s clear interest in its truth or falsity?

Why, to tell their liberal readership, with a smile and a wink, that the allegations against Biden are surely false.

Writes Pulitzer-winning Times reporter Adam Goldman, the relevant documents were “purportedly” accessed in the computer to aid an “unsubstantiated argument peddled by Mr. Giuliani and other Trump supporters” that Biden somehow abused his power to benefit his son.

There’s nothing to worry about, the second paragraph below seems to say, because according to a Biden campaign official and one of Biden’s attorneys, the story is false.

Is this what passes for journalism in 2020? The story may be false, or it may be true. Most likely it’s a combination of both. Instead of being informed, or gaining justified suspicion while the questions are ignored, the public’s knowledge was in limbo while the media abdicated its responsibility. My point is not that the allegations against Biden are true; it’s that we have the right to press him on it.

There is a second issue the media forgot about in the weeks leading up to the election, one with (I would argue) even greater consequence for the country. Before and following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as the newest justice of the Supreme Court, many Democrats, including potential Vice President Harris, have called for “packing” the court.

Democrats “packing” the Supreme Court would consist of increasing its size (can be done without a constitutional amendment) for the express purpose of nominating liberal judges to shift the court’s ideological axis left. While it would cause rulings more favorable to liberals in the short run, it would fatally injure the public’s faith in the court as an apolitical institution. The court stands at a higher approval rating than either Congress or the president.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried court-packing in the ‘30s, though even as a wildly popular president, the proposal was rejected in the court of public opinion.

Harris dodged the issue in the VP debate. While Biden previously denounced court-packing, he said in the Sept. 29 debate that he would not answer the question.

Before the last presidential debate, Biden said he would give his position on court-packing before the election. He never did, providing his final answer in his 60 Minutes interview where he said he’d create a commission of constitutional experts to tackle the Supreme Court.

And so, the media dropped the issue, and Americans went to polling centers without knowing whether Biden would submit to his party in fundamentally undermining the separation of powers in American government.

There is no Walter Cronkite of today, probably because there’s no objective source with high popularity. Today, there is little demand among the politically active for balanced news, but infinite demand for echo chambers. 

We need media that presses candidates on difficult questions, even when the other candidate seems unimaginable. And since media is a reflection of consumers’ demands, as citizens and students, we need to demand more from our media.

If Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States, I sincerely hope the media does a better job questioning him than it has in 2020.

<a href="https://www.theredlandsbulldog.com/author/gibson/" target="_self">Trueman Andrews-Gibson</a>

Trueman Andrews-Gibson

Trueman is the current Editor-in-Chief, set to graduate this spring with degrees in Philosophy and Political Science. He previously served as News Section Editor. Following graduation, he plans to attend law school.

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