Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media has consistently referred to former vice president Joe Biden as a political moderate in many of their headlines, articles, and analyses. Based on what Accuracy in Media found, the media should refrain from using “moderate” to describe Biden’s politics.

A political moderate does not take extreme political views or stances, especially in this age of political polarization. Biden’s record, in addition to his 2020 campaign promises, demonstrate that he should be called a left-leaning, left-of-center, or liberal politician instead of a political moderate.

McClatchy analyzed Biden’s platforms and promises and found that “Biden has proposed ideas more ambitious and liberal than policies supported by Hillary Clinton in 2016.” The news outlet noted Biden’s “embrace of an unabashedly liberal agenda” is not accurately represented in the media, too.

On the campaign trail, Biden proposed expanding the Affordable Care Act to the tune of $750 billion over the next ten years. Biden’s expansion of the Affordable Care Act would allow all Americans to enroll in it even if they had employer-sponsored insurance. It is not a moderate proposal because it could create another government-run health insurance plan, while raising government spending and increasing its involvement in American health care.

Based on several polls, Americans are not keen on a government-run health insurance system. The majority of Americans, to the tune of 86%, rate their personal coverage in a positive way, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Also, the Pew Center pointed out that Americans are increasingly skeptical of their government’s competence and their trust of government has reached near historic lows. These two polls demonstrate the difficulty of gaining Americans’ trust to believe their government can properly manager their personal health care.

Also, Biden proposed spending $1.7 trillion on climate change to push the United States to a net of zero carbon emission by 2050. This proposal dwarfed Clinton’s $60 billion climate change proposal in the 2016 election.

Biden also reversed his position during the campaign on the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions. He previously supported it due to his religious views. Gallup trends on abortion show that a minority of Americans (25 percent) support abortion under any circumstances, while the majority (53 percent) prefer legal abortions under certain circumstances. Abortion is a hot-button and divisive issue, but polls show that most American are not political extremists on the issue. Biden’s about-face on the issue is not a moderate political position because the end of the Hyde Amendment could lead to federal funding of abortions and other actions.

The mainstream media should refrain from calling Biden a political moderate when his campaign promises and track record suggest that he is more left-leaning or liberal than a typical political moderate.

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