Apologies in advance for using the so worn and tired “gaslighting” metaphor but there is literally no other name for what the national media have been doing for weeks as we head into what should be an absolute blowout election for Republicans.
Have you heard that two very important figures heading into the midterms, President Biden and Democrat Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman, are in the best shape of their lives? They’re, like, iron man marathon ready. They’re, like, 1600 SAT score sharp.
If that hasn’t been your unshakable impression of these two men all along, then I guess that’s your fault for choosing to believe what’s right in front of your face rather than what the media tell you is in front of your face.
MSNBC host and Washington Post writer Jonathan Capehart recently conducted an interview with Biden. The moment that earned the most attention on social media was when Biden appeared to be sundowning in the middle of being asked about whether he would run for reelection. “Dr. Biden is for it?” asked Capehart, referring to the president’s wife. Squinting at the floor and slowly bobbing back and forth, it was unclear what was happening. Had Biden just retired for a nap on camera?
“Mr. President?” Capehart said. “Oh!”
Biden had appeared to come to! He even managed to offer that his wife believes his presidency is “very important.”
It was like that suspenseful scene in Peter Pan when Tinkerbell’s spark has almost died, but a round of applause re-illuminates the fairy. She lives!
More remarkable than Biden’s flickering ether, though, was Capehart’s insistence afterward that what everyone had just witnessed was actually a display of virile manhood.
“Sure, Biden is getting old,” wrote Capehart on Tuesday. “But the almost-octogenarian I interviewed was fit and eager to take on the decisions that land on a president’s desk.” He said that Biden “loves” and “relishes” being president. What a stud!
As for that awkward mental stall, Capehart said Biden had “looked at me as if to say, ‘Brother, you know I’m not going there,’ which I took as my hint to end the interview.” See there? All is on the up and up with this fine specimen of manliness.
The case of John Fetterman is even more brazen. Pennsylvania voters and anyone else who watched the debate between Fetterman and Oz this week were treated to perhaps the saddest meeting between two political opponents in a crucial race that might determine which party controls the Senate. There have been signs all along that Fetterman, who suffered a severe stroke in May, is not in optimal health condition, but so many in the media said it was nothing of concern.
After an NBC reporter interviewed Fetterman and observed, “it wasn’t clear he understood what I was saying,” Kara Swisher of The New York Times took it upon herself to rebuff the implication. “Sorry to say but I talked to @JohnFetterman for over an hour without stop or any aides and this is just nonsense,” she said on Twitter.
The women of ABC’s “The View” also angrily defended Fetterman’s honor, accusing the NBC reporter of breaching some non-existent rule of ethics by describing what she saw (formerly a practice known as “journalism”), and maintaining how normal it is for ordinary people to need closed-captioning for everyday communication. Even ones who aren’t deaf. Especially ones who aren’t deaf!
Unfortunately, none of that was true. Fetterman’s debate performance revealed him to be incapable of fluidly expressing his thoughts, incoherent in some verbal outbursts, and unconvincing in attempts to defend his positions. He was incapacitated in every sense of the word.
But I’m sure Kara Swisher enjoyed a seamless conversation with silver-tongued Fetterman all on her own.
They say the exact opposite of what you can see with your own eyes. Sorry again, but there’s no other word for what they’re doing.