Despite the disdain with which many in the mainstream media treated President Donald Trump throughout his first term, few could claim with a straight face that he was not among the most accessible commanders in chief in recent U.S. history.
Apparently, the same can not be said about Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who is facing renewed criticism for reportedly disabling a conference call chat feature during a recent virtual news conference.
“Be sure to take a lot of questions”
The former vice president has infrequently fielded questions from reporters, but the latest incident is raising significant concerns about his willingness to shoot straight when interacting with the press.
Biden held a conference call via Zoom on Wednesday, but he disabled the chat feature reporters had been using to pose questions, according to the Daily Beast’s Sam Stein.
Stein, who also appears regularly on MSNBC, is set to become the White House editor for Politico.
“The Biden transition team appears to have disabled the public chat function on its transition zoom calls, a place where I and others had been routinely complaining to them to take more questions,” he tweeted.
Linking to that tweet in a subsequent post, Stein used the forum to deliver a message to the Biden transition team, writing: “So, Biden team, if you’re on Twitter while doing the Zoom… Be sure to take a lot of questions.”
“Tons of folks looking to ask questions”
Of course, Fox News noted that Stein was not the only reporter to bring up the issue of limited access to Biden and key figures on his team. In fact, the same reporter was among those who raised similar objections following another Zoom call earlier in the month.
“Hey guys, there [are] tons of folks looking to ask questions and since this is being done once a week, could we PLEASE go longer or at least hold more frequent briefings,” Stein reportedly wrote in the chat forum of the Dec. 18 call.
Zeke Miller of the Associated Press also weighed in, asking the Biden team to “take a few more questions” and noting that there were “a lot of folks here with questions.”
White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg offered an even harsher take, asking if there was “a point in saying we want to ask questions” if Biden surrogates “only call on the same small group every week.”
Somewhat ironically, Biden campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo told CNN’s Brian Stelter in November that Biden’s relationship with the press would be healthier than Trump’s, insisting that the former vice president “believes that the media is a critical piece of our democracy, that transparency is incredibly important” and “that it’s the media’s job to hold him accountable.”