Joe Biden was 24 in 1967 when the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” first hit radio. The song could be Biden’s campaign theme song today to describe how his media friends are boosting his presidential candidacy.

The famed F-bomber of Team Obama, Biden’s position was called “progressive patriotism” and termed “a bold appeal to bedrock American values” in news accounts this week after he announced Thursday that he is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Perennial Democrat and ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos described Biden as “so familiar he can go straight to the general election in some ways.”


Journalists humanized the candidate. “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell went for the folksy nicknames. Biden became “Uncle Joe” or “Regular Joe from Scranton, Pennsylvania.”

ABC depicted Biden as a friend to the working class, holding his first campaign meeting “at a Teamsters hall in Pittsburgh emphasizing that lunch pail, labor union politics that he’s always championed.”

Biden’s scandals and gaffes were either downplayed or skipped altogether.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” was agog, with anchor David Muir declaring: “The major new headline tonight in the race for 2020: Former Vice President Joe Biden will announce he’s running this week in a video Thursday morning.”

Biden has run two failed presidential campaigns, but now his third is the “major new headline.”

By Friday, ABC, CBS and NBC had devoted more than 47 minutes to Biden’s candidacy in their evening newscasts. Most of that was either positive or downplaying Biden’s negatives.

NBC said Biden “took direct aim at President Trump,” which seems odd phrasing from a press that thinks everything Trump does incites violence.

Biden also got love from establishment lefties, especially from “The View.” Co-host Joy Behar used the chance to bemoan America under Trump.

“We’ve never had a president this bad,” Behar said, noting how terrible America is now in her view. “We were the good guys and now we’re not. Now we’re not. People look at this country in horror and say what happened to America? It breaks my heart.”

Journalists who are already coping with declining popularity suffer every time another journalist seems to go too far.

MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews wasn’t thrill-up-his-leg excited, but he was close. “I thought that message today was very – very thrilling to me. I thought it was very American … a powerful message,” he told viewers.

Biden actually compared Biden to “one of the world’s greatest champions of human rights and political inclusion” – South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

Matthews played a clip of Mandela and segued to say that “Joe Biden made a similar appeal and a similar critique.” This was Matthews trying desperately to apply racial relevance to a man The Atlantic called one of the “white men in their 70s” running in this election.

NBC noted that Biden was having a fundraiser, “at the home of David Cohen, senior vice president of Comcast, parent company of NBCUniversal.” Comcast is also the parent company of MSNBC.

When Biden was slammed, it came from the left. Mostly he was criticized for how he handled the 1991 Senate confirmation hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in which Anita Hill testified that Thomas had sexually harassed her.

Hill is still unhappy with how she was treated and the media did highlight that, especially since Biden wouldn’t apologize for his conduct in questioning her.

No one asked if anyone wanted to apologize to Justice Thomas.

The Washington Post’s Monica Hesse said Biden “is becoming the master of not getting it.” “The View” hosts begged him to apologize to Hill. Behar even scripted it for him, suggesting, Biden tell Hill that “I’m sorry for the way I treated you.”

Biden wouldn’t bite. Meanwhile, his “View” buddies joined him in the fraudulent claim that the Obama White House had “not one single whisper of scandal.”

Controversies involving Biden required a magnifying glass to find.

Stories of Biden making some women uncomfortable with hugs and other hands-on behavior got less than two minutes of coverage.

The former vice president’s awkward remarks – like calling a former congressman his “old butt buddy” or telling an African-American audience that Republicans are “going to put y’all back in chains” – went unmentioned.

There were a few Biden naysayers. CNN highlighted the former vice president’s plagiarism scandal, with politics reporter Chris Cillizza saying, “he’s never really shown the quality of candidate that we expected him to be.” Cillizza showed comparison clips of Biden’s speech and the one it appeared he had copied from.

“Morning Joe” Host Joe Scarborough was similarly downbeat. Scarborough demolished Biden’s chances, saying that “almost every Democrat I have spoken with is concerned that this is going to end badly for Joe Biden, and that he should not get into the race.”

No Longer Prom-inent

The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner has fallen on hard times. President Trump is continuing his boycott of the “nerd prom” and journalists are unhappy. This year’s dinner Saturday night will feature a historian instead of a comedian. Party!

The Washington Post blamed Trump for the collapse of humor at the dinner. “Trump, unlike former presidents, seems to lack a funny bone,” we were told.

CNN’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter declared: “It’s not ‘nerd prom’ anymore” and huffed that the president will “hold a media-bashing rally instead.”

CNN’s “Reliable Sources” anchor Brian Stelter complained that “the White House is actually telling the administration officials to boycott the dinner celebrating the First Amendment.”

But after how last year’s dinner mistreated White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Trump has every reason not to attend.

More signs of a bad week for journalism

Journalists who decry the term “fake news” can’t be entirely thrilled about the return of Brian Williams. The MSNBC anchor scandalized NBC back in 2015 when it was discovered he lied about events that took place while he was covering the war in Iraq in 2003.

Now Politico is touting the “big comeback” of the mythmaker. It was only last year that Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple was bemoaning how “MSNBC now has nine hours per week with big credibility problems” – a mix of Williams and host Joy Reid. Brian Williams 2.0 won’t help.

Journalists also got caught up in criticism about where and how they are willing to stalk potential interview subjects.


MSNBC and NBC reporter Mike Viqueira caused a stir by cornering Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaving church on Easter Sunday. That was followed by his colleague Kristen Welker interrupting the annual White House Easter Egg Roll to ask President Trump about impeachment. She shouted to Trump: “Are you worried about impeachment, Mr. President?”

Journalists who are already coping with declining popularity suffer every time another journalist seems to go too far.


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