We reported yesterday on how the grumblings from some reporters over President Joe Biden’s lack of press availability were growing louder by the day.
“Today would be a great day for journalists to be able to ask the president of the United States questions about Afghanistan,” CBS News White House reporter Kathryn Watson tweeted Thursday. “Aside from yesterday’s ABC interview, he hasn’t taken questions on Afghanistan (or anything else) since last Tuesday.”
Joe Concha, a media reporter for The Hill, was even blunter about the matter.
“No White House press briefing today, and the president has nothing scheduled regarding any public remarks or press conference scheduled to talk Afghanistan,” he wrote. “The White House continues to mostly run and hide during this crisis.”
While complaints about lack of press access are nothing new for this President, the fact that he and key members of his administration have been mostly AWOL since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in a relatively short amount of time has been more than a bit concerning, and has further raised questions about Biden’s state of mind and ability to lead in the midst of a full-blown crisis, the brutality of which is playing out on a world stage, and angering even some of our staunchest allies.
With all of that in mind, you’ll be interested to see a portion of an interview MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-anchor Willie Geist did with White House Comms Director Kate Bedingfield this morning in which she laughably proclaimed, after being asked if Biden would take questions after the presser he has scheduled for this afternoon, that “the President never shies away from taking questions.” Yet in the very same segment, she contradicted herself by also telling Geist that she’ll “leave it up” to Biden to decide whether or not he’ll take questions from reporters this afternoon.
You really can’t make this stuff up. Watch:
WH Comms Director:
“The president never shies away from taking questions.” pic.twitter.com/5waJYWCwcS
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) August 20, 2021
New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel had the perfect, short, sweet, simple, and to the point response:
“The president never shies away from taking questions.” pic.twitter.com/MyT0tcvg8a
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) August 20, 2021
When you consider the fact that there have been mainstream media reporters complaining since day one about Biden dodging reporters by rarely having formal solo pressers (in fact, he didn’t have his first one until roughly three months into his presidency, and since then they’ve been few and far in between), and when you have numerous instances where his handlers have stepped in to take the lead by herding reporters away from him like cattle, naturally you’re going to have journalists who are done with having their intelligence insulted and who will proceed with responding accordingly, as Watson and Vogel both did above.
On the other hand, as my colleague Brad Slager pointed out yesterday, this is Joe Biden’s “basement doctrine” – the strategy he put in place last year during the pandemic to limit interactions with members of the press. The media by and large let him get away with it, which is a big reason why the White House continues to utilize the strategy to this day.
The MSM “built” this in a way, and unfortunately it’s not just reporters who are punished for it but the American people are, too, because they don’t get the answers they need.