Journalists Must Stop Covering the Biden Presidency Like It’s Normal

'Politics as usual' approach to reporting won't cut it, will only enable our norm-defying commander in chief

• August 3, 2021 4:59 am


Every American, especially the ones with journalism degrees, understands the critical role journalists play in sustaining our democracy. If politics is the moral equivalent of war—and most experts agree that it is—journalists are the elite commandos operating behind enemy lines, risking it all so the rest of us don't have to.

One shudders to imagine the wretched authoritarianism that might have befallen our great nation if, for example, CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter had lacked the courage to spellcheck former president Donald Trump's tweets. Nevertheless, the threat to American democracy persists.

Political journalists have yet to prove they are up to the challenge of covering Joe Biden's norm-defying presidency. Instead, they cling bitterly to "objectivity," the arcane notion that defined the journalism industry in the years before its largely blue-collar workforce could be replaced by educated intellectuals.

As Margaret Sullivan writes in the Washington Post: "Mainstream journalists want their work to be perceived as fair-minded and nonpartisan. They want to defend themselves against charges of bias. So they equalize the unequal. This practice seems so ingrained as to be unresolvable."

Given the unique challenge Biden and his allies pose to the American democratic experiment, a "politics as usual" approach to journalism is not only inadequate—it is downright dangerous. Effective immediately, our nation's journalists—whose heroism is beyond dispute—must stop covering this moment in history as if there's anything "normal" about it. There isn't!

Biden promised to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the virus continues to decimate the population. Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, elite enclaves frequented by Biden supporters, have become hotbeds of contagion. Democratic politicians have waged biological warfare on Washington, D.C., where the Democratic mayor continues to put lives at risk by ignoring safety protocols.

Journalistic convention might suggest there are "two sides" to a story about Democratic politicians behaving with a reckless disregard for human life. Common sense suggests otherwise.

Speaking of Martha's Vineyard, that's where former president Barack Obama is hosting a super spreader event later this week. He's throwing himself a 60th birthday bash at his $12 million mansion, where nearly 700 people are expected to attend. George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg are among the invited guests.

Journalistic convention might suggest this frightening example of pathological narcissism is merely a "quirk" that Obama's base—Ivy League grads with multiple homes—finds relatable. Common sense suggests that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Biden continues to humiliate himself in public, while U.S. athletes embarrass their country at the Olympics. To be fair, we can't really expect them to project American greatness abroad when their commander in chief is drooling all over himself at home. Leadership starts at the top.

Journalistic convention might suggest that invoking the 25th Amendment—by which a president can be removed if deemed "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office"—is an extreme measure that doesn't deserve serious consideration. Think again!

Meanwhile, Biden's adult son Hunter, a former crackhead, is poised to make a fortune selling his "artwork" to patrons who will remain anonymous, except to the "artist" himself. Hunter's paintings, which have been panned by critics, are expected to sell for as high as $500,000 a piece. He was previously paid $2 million to fabricate stories in a memoir about his crack addiction and is presumably still "working to unwind" his investment in a shady Chinese investment firm.

Journalistic convention might suggest this isn't normal—that a president's son so blatantly seeking to cash in on his father's name is a scandal worth reporting as such. In this case, journalistic convention would be right, but for some reason, our typically fearless journalists have expressed little interest in doing so. Common sense suggests their passion for investigating Democrats is not as intense as their passion for investigating Republicans.