To be a Republican president is to experience unremitting hostility from the press. Questions shouted by reporters at Republican presidents are frequently angry and usually negative in tone. One of my favorite moments in politics came during the presidential campaign of 2012. It was outdoors, Mitt Romney was walking across an open space toward a helicopter, car or something, and a reporter shouted: “What about your gaaaffes?” A great moment in journalism.
It is quite different if you are a Democrat–especially, perhaps, a feeble-minded Democrat. The last thing any reporter wants is to make you look bad. So we have absurd scenes like this one, earlier today:
A cheat sheet held by President Biden during a Wednesday press conference revealed that the 80-year-old commander in chief had advance knowledge of a question from a journalist.
“How are YOU squaring YOUR domestic priorities — like reshoring semiconductors manufacturing — with alliance-based foreign policy?” read a question from Los Angeles Times reporter Courtney Subramanian.
Here it is:
So the first question goes to Courtney Subramanian of the L.A. Times, and there it is, written out for Biden. You can read the transcript of today’s White House press conference. President Yoon finishes his prepared remarks, and then we have this:
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you.
Now we’re going to take some questions. The first question is from Courtney of the Los Angeles Times.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Your top economic priority has been to build up U.S. domestic manufacturing in competition with China. But your rules again- — against expanding chip manufacturing in China is hurting South Korean companies that rely heavily on Beijing. Are you damaging a key ally in the competition with China to help your domestic politics ahead of the election?
We have seen prior instances where Biden has gotten questions in advance from reporters and has been given a sheet with the sequence in which he is to call on them. In this case, ironically, Biden’s answer to Subramanian’s question was rambling and incoherent, even though he had the substance of the question in advance.
One wonders what the editors of the L.A. Times would say about this: enacting a pantomime with the President, in which their reporter plays the part of an independent journalist. Is that their idea of honest journalism?
But they will never have to answer that question, because there is no one to ask it. The other news organizations are playing for the same team. And I think they all agree that this is the kind of thing you have to do when your man is, unfortunately, senile.