Fresh off of last week’s headlines-making town hall, where former vice president Joe Biden argued with a retired Iowa farmer on the Ukraine scandal and Biden’s age, NBC News published a favorable on-the-campaign-trail article on Biden’s recent bus tour in Iowa.
Biden’s bus tour’s slogan, “No Malarkey,” referred to one of Biden’s oft-used phrases that meant he will not engage in meaningless and empty discussions and rhetoric. The bus tour spanned twenty-seven campaign stops in an eight-day span. NBC News pointed out that this was “by far his most intense and sustained campaigning since he launched his candidacy in April.” The news outlet did not mention why Biden took almost eight months to engage Iowa voters on a grassroots level, which we covered previously. We reported that Biden’s fundraising struggles, his multiple gaffes on the campaign trail, and his past statements on race and social issues led to a lackluster summer campaign for Biden’s campaign, yet none of these factors made it into NBC News’s article.
Instead of accurately portraying Biden’s campaign struggles as outlined above, the article quoted multiple campaign advisors and staffers on how the bus tour would energize Biden’s core group of supporters within the Democratic Party. The article quoted Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Pete Kavanaugh, who praised Biden’s “personal interactions that come with retail politics,” in addition to an anonymous campaign aide who told NBC News that Biden showed he is “willing to fight.”
The news outlet also excused Biden’s late entry into Iowa by repeating his campaign’s talking point that it was to avoid Trump’s tactics. Specifically, the campaign said they worried that “Trump and his allies would target not just him but his family.”
NBC News’s article on Biden’s Iowa bus tour did not pass the sniff test as far as journalistic ethics and neutrality are concerned. The article favorably portrayed the Biden campaign and neglected to mention why Biden’s campaign was under siege by the media and his primary opponents over the summer, which delayed his Iowa grassroots efforts until recently.