Good Lord These Poor Journalists Trying To Make Thing Happen

Journalism
CNN screenshot, not actually today

Much as we hate to acknowledge it, Donald Trump was almost right about a thing when he predicted the press would miss him. Not because the press was out to get him as part of the most unfair witch hunt ever in the history of America. But because Trump was such a fucking cartoon that it was easy to plug his outrageous statements and policies straight into the national limbic system. He just never stopped being terrible, and so getting people to read about his latest nastiness was mostly a matter of just quoting him directly.

But now that there's a president who's just behaving normally, the hunger is still there. See for instance this morning's Politico Playlist and this ridiculously thirsty Washington Post piece wondering whether Biden will say or do something at his presser today (Evan has a livebloog up right now!) that will be that most prized thing ever, a gaffe.

It's not really all that surprising, given that Joe has occasionally gone wildly off script in the past, including that time when he had to drop out of the 1987 presidential race for using lines from British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock as if they were his own. That became Biden's "you fuck one sheep" moment, so it shouldn't be too surprising the Post is salivating for another, with the headline "Biden once called himself a 'gaffe machine.' His first presidential news conference will test his discipline."


The Politico piece breathlessly relays some comments from New York Times reporter Annie Karnie, just to get a sense of what reporters are dying to ask Biden.

"I think there are plenty of important topics we haven't heard from him directly about," Karni told Playbook. "Immigration and the border, how he feels about unity when Republicans are set on depriving him of any successes; real questions about how he gets anything else done without ending the filibuster; what kind of political capital is he willing to spend on gun control; even a better sense of his day to day."

So gee, has anyone actually explored any of those questions at all? Like maybe last week, when Biden sat down for that interview with George Stephanopoulos and actually talked about that stuff? We get it, yes, that was an interview, not a press conference, so we're supposed to be aghast that it's taken so long for Biden to stand at a podium and take questions from several people.

That Politico piece also created a bit of a stir because Karni said, when she texted her thoughts to Politico's Ryan Lizza, that she was speaking on background, if you're into press kerfuffles:

Mind you, though, we're with No More Mister Nice Blog's Steve M, who asks, quite reasonably,

If "the administration has been drowning [the press] in briefings," then WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU TREATING THE LACK OF A BIDEN PRESS CONFERENCE AS A WORLD-HISTORIC CRISIS ON THE LEVEL OF COVID OR 9/11?

Which brings us to that story in the Post, which of course starts off with Joe Biden's 1987 acknowledgment that while sheep are far safer around him than goats are around Erick Erickson, he could indeed be a bit of a doofus:

Joe Biden approached a battery of microphones on Capitol Hill, desperate to dampen a plagiarism scandal that threatened his first presidential run. "Ladies and gentlemen, I made a mistake," he said that day in 1987, his emotions at times running as hot as the lights. "I've done some dumb things. And I'll do dumb things again."

Nodding to the large number of journalists assembled, he added, "I want to get this straight, man — I'm not going to get this many of you in the room again until I'm inaugurated." The group laughed.

Spoiler: And 34 years later, he was indeed inaugurated, and now the Post is wondering whether Biden will be disciplined, or a loose doofus cannon. Bill Clinton's former press secretary Mike McCurry weighs in with an observation about how Biden has "certainly has been very disciplined" and isn't "mixing it up or being as impromptu as he was during previous parts of his career," before getting to the inevitable joke about Biden having "stayed in the basement" during the presidential campaign, not that there was a deadly pandemic or anything.

Then it's time for the MONSTROUS GAFFES that Biden just can't seem to avoid, even now!

But some of the same garrulousness that caused him problems three decades ago is still prompting headaches. For all of their efforts to exert control, Biden's White House aides have had to correct various statements during his two months in office.

Biden said on "CBS Evening News" that former president Donald Trump should not receive intelligence briefings, but the next day the White House clarified that it would be up to intelligence officials to make that determination. Biden said his administration was aiming for 1.5 million vaccinations per day rather than the 1 million he had earlier pledged — only to have the White House later say 1 million was still the goal.

Egad! What a gaffe machine! The man is such a nonstop gaffer that you should expect to find him listed right after "key grip" in movie credits! Later, the piece tries again to impress us with amazing tales of Biden the Blabbermouth Crazy-Talker who drives his aides nuts with all the stuff they have to cover for:

During the presidential campaign, Biden would sometimes disclose his latest fundraising figures before his staffers were ready to release them — in one instance revealing a particularly low haul that his aides were hoping to bury in another news cycle. At another point, he spontaneously committed to releasing figures on his campaign staff's diversity, causing his fairly diverse staff to scramble to put together those figures.

The mishaps became frequent enough that the Biden campaign got in the habit of holding sessions with reporters the day after primary debates to clarify any mistakes that had been made the previous night.

Good lord, we hope those poor beleaguered staffers got combat pay.

Still they have had a rough time, like when Biden's press secretary literally tried to hide in the bushes to avoid taking questions about the sudden firing of the FBI director, oh wait, NOT BIDEN.

In conclusion, If Donald Trump challenged journalists and fact checkers by spewing lie-enriched garbage every time he opened his mouth, Biden seems to be in danger of boring them to death. "WHAT ABOUT HUNTER'S GUN, MR. PRESIDENT?!"

Join Evan right now for the press conference. Maybe Biden will mispronounce something!

[WaPo / Politico]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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