- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

Media can’t avoid ‘Where is Joe Biden’ narrative

The 2020 presidential campaign is upended by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has put the media, presidential primary candidates former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and President Donald Trump in a delicate situation. But the mainstream media avoided the anti-Biden criticism from the left-leaning media and the resulting narrative that Biden disappeared during the pandemic.

None of the mainstream media outlets ever asked the question, “Where is Joe Biden?”

Instead, the media attempted to change the narrative and highlight Biden’s digital adjustments in a time of social distancing. One example was NBC News’s analysis, which claimed [1] that Biden is winning the battle of American voters’ minds and hearts during the pandemic.

But the likes of BuzzFeed News, Slate and the New Republic slammed Biden for a slow digital response. BuzzFeed News did not pull punches in its headline [2], “Where is Joe Biden? Online, Being Drowned Out By The Coronavirus And Trump.” The website noted that switching to digital messaging is “a steeper adjustment for Biden” and that Biden was “never known for being hip to the internet.”

Slate headlined [3] its concerns, “Democrats Are Getting What They Bargained for Out of Joe Biden.” The left-leaning website claimed that Biden’s “disappearance … has allowed Donald Trump to dominate the crisis narrative.” It added that Biden is “a distant presence who will not be actively alienating and who is associated with enough good ideas and capable people that you could reasonably bet on him to be an improvement over the current disaster.”

The New Republic went further than the other two and said [4], “Joe Biden Is Wasting a Crisis.” It went on to claim that Biden’s campaign is “the inevitable result of decades of capitulation and learned helplessness.”

The mainstream media was focused on avoiding criticism of Biden’s wait-and-see approach to the coronavirus pandemic, so much so that it did not publish any critical pieces of Biden’s low public profile for several weeks. It has not done its job properly, which is why the only Biden critics are left-leaning website like BuzzFeed News, Slate, and the New Republic. The media has a responsibility to criticize lawmakers on their job performance, and Biden’s disappearance meets that criteria. It is yet another example of selective news coverage.