A Gallup poll last week showed President Biden with an approval rating among independents at just 34 percent, a record low for his young first term. The Washington Post’s response to that news was to run an embarrassingly long story on Saturday framing voter dissatisfaction with Biden as something exclusive to Trump supporters.
What’s that saying about democracy and darkness again?
If the article wasn’t such a brazen attempt at manipulation and history revision, it would actually be kind of funny.
The Post examined the “increasingly vulgar taunts” leveled at Biden, many of which reprise the “F-ck Joe Biden” chant now routinely heard at sporting events and outdoor concerts around the country. There’s an appearance in the article by a smoker wearing a “Proud White American” hat. And there’s a throwback to when former President Trump called Republican Sen. Mitt Romney a “pompous ass.”
This could have made for some enjoyable, light weekend reading. But then the article, authored by five Post writers, gets into the surreal. “During the 2020 presidential campaign,” the story said, “one of Biden’s political superpowers was his sheer inoffensiveness, the way he often managed to embody — even to those who didn’t like him — the innocuous grandfather, the bumbling uncle, the leader who could make America calm, steady, even boring again after four years of Donald Trump.”
Who held this impression of Biden, outside of Washington journalists who were working to get him elected? This is that thing the media do where they assert that something is true, simply because it reflects their own feelings about it. In this case, they believe that one of Biden’s “superpowers” was his image of an “innocuous grandfather,” someone who would “steady” the ship, and so they phrase it as a generally accepted truth.
That image of Biden exists only to the extent that the media proclaim it does. They must not recall that during a large portion of the 2020 campaign, their innocuous grandfather was actually facing very serious allegations that he digitally penetrated a woman against her will. And “bumbling uncle” is a nice way to put that a lot of people were concerned that Biden’s brain was turning brown with age, noticing he seemed to have difficulty finishing thoughts during the Democratic primary debates.
And those “F-ck Joe Biden” chants heard of late and sometimes humorously translated to “Let’s Go Brandon” have been heard at NASCAR races, baseball and football games, a Luke Bryan concert, an Aaron Lewis concert, anti-vaccination mandate demonstrations, and on and on. This, according to the Post, “demonstrates how a political party or cause often needs an enemy, a target of vilification that can unite its adherents — and, in this case, one refracted through the harshness, norm-breaking and vulgarity of the Trump era.”
True, hundreds of thousands of people did descend on Washington, many of them wearing pink hats made to look like women’s genitalia, to show their opposition to Trump immediately after he was elected. But I suspect that’s not what the Post means by the “harshness, norm-breaking and vulgarity” of that period.
And surely the organic nationwide trend of mass crowds of strangers spontaneously erupting in a chant that insults this president is about a “political party or cause” in need of “a target of vilification,” rather than, you know, obscene levels of inflation, skyrocketing energy prices, and a pandemic that never seems to get any better, even after Biden promised he could make it do just that. Surely it’s only Trump voters with a chip on their shoulders feeling that pinch.
It’s absurd, but the Post can’t let that get in the way of creating a new reality for its readers to believe.