When Donald Trump was president, the media devoted countless syllables to his “war on journalism.” It was an issue of such magnitude that in July 2018 New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger himself traveled to the White House to meet privately with the president over his anti-press rhetoric, which Sulzberger called “not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.” Despite a request by Trump’s aides that the meeting be kept off the record, Sulzberger shared the details with his 53 million Twitter followers.
CNN’s Jim Acosta, one of Trump’s biggest adversaries in the media, published a book chronicling Trump’s daily skirmishes with the media, culminating with the conclusion ‘The president’s insane.”
So naturally the media were appalled by Biden’s verbal assault yesterday on Kaitlin Collins, also of CNN, right? Well, not exactly. Here for those who missed it is the exchange, a transcript of which follows.
Kaitlin Collins: Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President?
Joe Biden: I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior. What the hell — what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?
Collins: You said —
Biden: I said — I said — what I said was — let’s get it straight — I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and that diminishes their standing in the world. I’m not confident of anything. I’m just stating the facts.
Later in the same video, Collins challenged Biden to explain how he saw fir to characterize his dialog with Putin as “constructive” when Putin still denies human rights abuses and cyber attacks, to which the president responded, “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.”
So where is the media outrage? Why is there no editorial in the New York Times today decrying the president’s attack on a free press? Where is Jim Acosta defending one of his fellow CNN reporters?
Those who might answer those questions by maintaining that Biden’s rudeness was a one-off incident are mistaken. He has shown himself before to have a short fuse when it comes to answering tough but reasonable questions. When asked by CBS News’s Bo Erickson seven days into his presidency whether he would support the CDC rather than the teacher’s union on closing schools, Biden testily snapped back, “Why are you the only guy that always shouts out questions?”
He was even harder on Fox News’s Peter Doocy, who asked him what he had talked about with Putin in their first exchange by phone. “You,” Biden shot back snidely. “He sends his best.”