In a far cry from the treatment received by his predecessor in the White House, President Joe Biden got more than a little “honeymoon” grace from the mainstream media upon taking office in January. But those days appear to be over.
At least, that’s the assessment of Fox News host Howard Kurtz, who wrote in an op-ed Wednesday that mainstream outlets, like CNN and NBC, seem to have “flipped a switch” when it comes to Biden and “suddenly discovered that [he] is unpopular” among the American public.
But a fundamental question has emerged, he suggested: Have reporters across network news suddenly found their journalistic integrity, or is there an ulterior motive at play here, such as a desire to try and limit the damage that Biden’s compounding failures are doing to the Democratic Party?
“It’s almost like someone flipped a switch and the press suddenly discovered that Joe Biden is unpopular,” Kurtz wrote for Fox on Wednesday. “Or perhaps it’s that Democrats are increasingly nervous about the fate of the Biden presidency. But the previous conventional wisdom — that Biden had simply hit a rough patch — is being replaced by a more anguished debate.
Media opens eyes
Kurtz noted that the mainstream press has recently begun to “dutifully” report on President Biden’s rapidly declining poll numbers, and are “adequately” covering the many setbacks suffered by his administration.
That includes sending reporters to ask increasingly pointed and less deferential questions of the president — when he actually deigns to answer questions — or his chief spokesperson, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
The trend seemingly began amid what Kurtz called the “chaotic withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August, but has continued as a migration crisis rages on at the U.S.–Mexico border and as congressional Democrats remain at odds over Biden’s pricey federal spending proposal. (And that’s not to mention the pandemic.)
“Not a surprise”
Writing Wednesday, the media watchdog for Fox pointed to a recent Politico article that detailed the growing sense of alarm among Democrats over Biden’s blunders: “Biden Trapped in Coronavirus Malaise,” the headline read in part, according to Kurtz.
“If Biden had taken the win on the infrastructure bill — rather than bowing to the Bernie wing by tying it to a gargantuan measure that is way too costly to pass — his fortunes would be looking different now,” Kurtz wrote.
“And of course,” he added, “it’s not a surprise that Biden’s plunging numbers pretty closely track the Delta variant surge, which thankfully is starting to decline.”
Indeed, given his plummeting position in the polls, Biden has his work cut out for him when it comes to rallying voters ahead of the 2022 midterms.
“Biden has to dig his way out of a deep hole just to regain the confidence of his supporters,” Kurtz argued Wednesday. Will he pull it off? I wouldn’t hold my breath.