We can’t keep ignoring Biden’s frailty

The mainstream media have gone to extraordinary lengths to play down the president’s senior moments.

Jenny Holland

Topics Politics USA

Anyone paying attention to American politics knows perfectly well that President Joe Biden has long passed peak mental acuity.

Throughout his term, we have seen him falling up the stairs and wandering off stages in the wrong direction. We have watched footage of him at press conferences, slack jawed, blinking or staring vacantly into space. He often gets his words jumbled up, too. In 2022, he announced that Russian troops were pulling out of Fallujah, Iraq, when he meant to say Kherson, Ukraine.

For the most part, Americans have been willing to tolerate these senior moments. But last week brought news that pushed that tolerance to its limit.

First, Biden forgot the name of French president Emmanuel Macron during a campaign rally in Las Vegas. He confused Macron with François Mitterrand, who was president between 1981 and 1995 – and died in 1996.

Then, a few days later, the real bombshell dropped. Special counsel Robert Hur published a report on Biden’s mishandling of classified documents. Hur was appointed by Biden’s Department of Justice (DoJ) to investigate whether the president had illegally retained sensitive materials after he stopped serving as vice-president under Barack Obama. While Hur decided not to press charges against Biden, the reason he gave for this was alarming. He wrote that Biden is an ‘elderly man with a poor memory’. It would therefore ‘be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him… of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness’.

The next day, the White House hastily arranged a press conference to try to rebut Hur’s report. But this had precisely the opposite effect. During the presser, Biden managed to refer to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as ‘the president of Mexico’. He also became visibly angry with the journalists who questioned his mental alertness.

One reporter asked Biden to address the charge that, in interviews with DoJ officials, he could not remember the year his own son, Beau Biden, had died of cancer. ‘How in the hell dare [they] raise that’, Biden said. ‘It wasn’t any of their damn business.’ He then made matters worse, yet again. ‘I wear, since the day [Beau Biden] died, every single day, the rosary he got from Our Lady of…’ A look of frustration then passed across his face, as he had clearly forgotten the name of the shrine the rosary came from.

It was a sorry spectacle. But luckily for Biden, the corporate media were on hand to cover for him, as they so often are.

Some of the biggest names in American television immediately went into damage-control mode. Rather than acknowledge Biden’s now obvious mental frailty, they have turned their fire on Hur and his report. CNN asked whether Hur had ‘crossed a line’. MSNBC complained that he had used ‘gratuitous language about [Biden’s] mental acuity’.

‘Nothing to see here’ was the overwhelming consensus of the mainstream media. On MSNBC’s The ReidOut, commentators expressed relief that the report had been released now in February, rather than in October. Clearly, Democrats hope that voters will forget that Biden is incapable of retaining basic information by the time election day rolls around in November.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Toobin – CNN’s former legal analyst – called the report ‘an outrage’ and ‘a disgrace’. He insisted that honing in on Biden’s age and cognitive abilities was not something that the ‘prosecutor needed to do’.

Toobin may have had a point if he were talking about the geriatric owner of a local bowls club who had misplaced the funds raised from a bingo night. But he was talking about the president of the most powerful nation on Earth – a nation that is currently facing many complex crises both at home and abroad. America has not been in a more perilous situation in my lifetime. It is no exaggeration to say that Biden’s doddering state is a problem for national security.

Thankfully, while the big-name anchors were clutching their pearls over this attack on Saint Biden, lower-ranking staff were actually committing acts of journalism. CNN reporter Daniel Dale pointed to three untrue statements that Biden made during the Thursday night press conference about his handling of classified information.

Similarly, the White House press corps did not treat Biden with the kid gloves that he and his administration have come to expect. Some reporters were downright aggressive towards the president. They did not accept Biden’s excuses or explanations.

The high-ranking talking heads may all be willing to go down with the Biden ship. But it seems there are many good journalists who are growing tired of carrying water for this decrepit administration. Perhaps there is some hope for journalism, after all.

Jenny Holland is a former newspaper reporter and speechwriter. Visit her Substack here.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics USA


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