Like just about anything else that undermines the Democrats’ preferred narratives, the Getty Images photo that revealed that President Joe Biden’s responses to questions at his joint press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier this week were scripted went mostly unreported throughout the corporate press. And, compared to the damage done by the out-of-control spending and woke policies at home and incoherent foreign policy abroad pursued by Biden, perhaps it isn’t earth-shaking that he needs cheat sheets on those rare occasions when his handlers allow him to field live questions from the press.
We’ve already seen plenty of evidence that the 80-year-old commander-in-chief requires printed cards with detailed instructions to navigate public events. He spent most of the 2020 presidential campaign doing virtual events; the press and public were given little or no access to him. That’s continued since he entered the White House.
Starting from his first meeting with his first formal press conference in March 2021, he has been carrying such cards with him in such settings. In March 2022, he was caught holding a card with answers to possible questions about the war in Ukraine. And in both a June 2022 event with wind industry executives and then a November 2022 summit in Indonesia, the cameras were able to see the cue cards he carried that told him precisely what to do, with phrases like “You enter,” “You take your seat,” “You thank participants,” and “You depart.” And to the consternation of his handlers, sometimes he reads the stage instructions aloud.
But this week’s cheat sheet goes beyond the usual embarrassment about an octogenarian president who is unable to perform without a script and often incapable of following the instructions he’s given.
It’s one thing for the White House staff to tell the president what to do or even to supply him with answers to possible questions that he can’t be relied upon to remember without a script in front of him. It’s quite another when members of the White House press corps are actively colluding in the charade. And that is what the photo of his presser cheat sheet revealed.
The card labeled “Question #1” in the “Reporter Q & A” showed a picture of Los Angeles Times White House correspondent Courtney Subramanian (followed by the phonetic guide to pronouncing her name) and then the text of a question about semiconductor manufacturing.
Biden duly called upon Subramanian, who then did ask a question about semiconductors, though not the exact same question that was on his card. In any event, Biden followed the script and gave her the answer to the question he thought he was getting rather than the one she posed.
It’s generally no secret what questions reporters are liable to ask, since most follow the dictates of the news cycle. And while the tradition of White House pressers has generally called for senior reporters for major outlets to be given priority to ask questions, other presidents have been comfortable enough in public to be able to choose for themselves and to be able to answer without scripts or notes.
A New Low for the Press
But the question this incident poses is far more serious than the fact that Biden can’t maneuver through a public event without minute instructions.
The card shows that Subramanian is submitting her questions in advance of the presser. And it is likely that others who are called upon are required to do the same. That means that even when his staff allows Biden to face the press in live events — and he has held fewer press conferences than any president in the last 30 years — what we are seeing is something along the lines of a Kabuki play and not anything that previous generations would have recognized as an actual opportunity for the press to get real answers about the issues of the day.
This is appalling not just because it shows Biden is incapable of behaving as all of his predecessors have done and submit regularly to unscripted grilling from an often-adversarial press corps. Given his age and his inability to get through public appearances without all manners of gaffes and evidence of confusion, what the cheat sheets demonstrate is that the corporate media considers itself obligated to assist the White House in a deceitful show aimed at demonstrating Biden is capable of governing, when that is not the case.
That goes beyond the unwillingness of virtually any member of the current White House press corps other than Fox News’ Peter Doocy to pose tough questions. It means they have abandoned even the pretense that they are there to hold the administration accountable and are instead merely the media auxiliaries of the Democratic Party.
Even more than just this disinterest in basic journalistic ethics, this kind of cooperation shows the lengths to which some reporters and their bosses are willing to go to cover up Biden’s incapacity to serve.
Part of a Pattern
The willingness of the press to go into the tank for Democrats is nothing new.
Last fall, legacy media journalists covered up the extent of Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman’s incapacity in the wake of a massive stroke. Their lies were only revealed when, in the sole debate of that race, Fetterman demonstrated that, even with electronic aids, he had trouble comprehending questions and answering them in a coherent fashion. His recent return to the Senate after spending several weeks in a hospital to be treated for severe depression showed that there was little improvement, but even now the corporate media treat any mention of his problems as evidence of bad manners or prejudice against the disabled rather than a justified concern about a senator who cannot fulfill his duties.
Biden’s announcement of his intention to run for re-election next year puts this problem in clear focus. It’s impossible for citizens to judge whether it is wise to elect a man already clearly in decline to serve until he is 86 when the people whose job it is to tell the truth about the government are reduced to supporting actors in a show aimed at covering up the truth.
This transcends the longstanding problem of liberal media bias. Like the press’s conniving to spread the Russia-collusion hoax and their assistance in the silencing of the Hunter Biden laptop story, playing along with the Biden show is clear evidence of corruption. It means it is impossible to believe anything that reporters who play this game write or say. It also means that, in the absence of objective medical tests that are made public and which the White House has shown no interest in conducting, no serious person can possibly accept the assurances about Biden’s mental acuity that we are being asked to believe.