Biden Gaffes Covered Up by Biased Media!
Kirsten Powers has an amusing piece in the NY Post headlined “BIDEN’S BUNGLES: A BLATANT BIAS.” It echoes sentiments I’ve been seeing in the comments section:
Barack Obama’s choice of Joe Biden as his running mate prompted a small wave of warnings about Biden’s propensity for gaffes. But no one imagined even in a worse-case scenario such a spectacular bomb as telling donors Sunday to “gird your loins” because a young president Obama will be tested by an international crisis just like young President John Kennedy was.
Scary? You betcha! But somehow, not front-page news.
Again the media showed their incredible bias by giving scattered coverage of Biden’s statements.
There were a few exceptions. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” co-host Mika Brzezinski flipped incredulously through the papers, expressing shock at the lack of coverage of Biden’s remarks. Guest Dan Rather admitted that if Palin had said it, the media would be going nuts.
So what gives?
The stock answer is: “It’s just Biden being Biden.” We all know how smart he is about foreign policy, so it’s not the same as when Sarah Palin says something that seems off.
Yet, when Biden asserted incorrectly in the vice-presidential debate that the United States “drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon,” nobody in the US media shrieked. (It was, however, covered with derision in the Middle East.) Or when he confused his history by claiming FDR calmed the nation during the Depression by going on TV, the press didn’t take it as evidence that he’s clueless.
So, the liberal media is covering up Biden’s gaffes while falling all over themselves to make Sarah Palin look like an airhead, right? Well, sort of.
Powers essentially gives the answer: Biden is a known quantity. He’s been around Washington more than three decades and earned a reputation as a bright guy in command of the issues, especially foreign policy, but with a tendency to say dumb things from time to time because he never shuts up.
Sarah Palin arrived on the scene, by contrast, to the sound of Who in the hell is she? This set off a frantic round of investigative reporting but allowed her first significant public impression to be her convention acceptance speech, which she hit out of the park. She was more popular in the polls than any of the other three people on the two tickets. But, then, she went into hiding, refusing to give press interviews — apparently a campaign decision — and emerged to give two really bad ones to Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson.
It should be noted, too, that Biden’s not the only gaffe-prone, seasoned foreign policy expert to be given a pass this cycle. The lefty blogs were livid all summer that McCain’s various statements confusing countries, religious sects, and otherwise seeming to call into doubt his expertise were being “covered up.” (Interestingly, as with Biden, we somehow all know about the gaffes even though the media haven’t reported them. Very odd, that.) But, as I noted at the time, you get a certain benefit of doubt when you’ve been around the block a few times.
Palin and Barack Obama didn’t have a bank of credibility to draw from. They basically had to step out into the spotlight and survive. I thought for months that Obama would wither under the intense light being reflected through the media magnifying glass, precisely because of the big leap from and essentially uncontested Senate race to a presidential contest. Obviously, he didn’t. By comparison, Palin has.
In all four cases, the press is guilty of bias. Confirmation bias. Once they’ve got a narrative, it’s very hard to change it.