Accuracy in Media

On a day that violence in the Gaza Strip took precedence, the Washington Post choose to treat President Joe Biden’s refusal to answer questions on Israel more like a Sunday feature from a newspaper automotive section than as a serious matter of policy.  

Appearing at a Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, Biden was asked by a journalist whether she could ask a question about Israel while Biden was behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 Lightning truck. 

“No, you can’t. Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it,” Biden said, following up with “I’m only teasing.”

The press generally treated the story as a joke but debated the appropriateness of Biden’s comments and the president’s avoidance of the question, but the Washington Post Politics section instead used the story to file 20 plus paragraphs about Biden’s love for cars. 

“His [Biden’s] entire life,” the Post’s national political reporter, Matt Viser, wrote dreamily, “has been crafted, in many ways around cars.” 

And there is more of that, reading more like a Harlequin romance, than a newspaper.   

“The affection for automobiles is as much a part of Biden as his Irishness and his love of ice cream, and it’s one that has deepened over the years.”

The ice cream comment is especially apropos as the White House had previously revealed Biden’s favorite ice cream is chocolate chip—remarks widely criticized as they came as Congress met about impeachment in January. 

In true Harlequin style, the Post even managed to get an image of Biden, shirtless, washing a Trans Am in the White House driveway, by mentioning a parody of Biden by the humor site, the Onion. 

The Post also worked in a Hunter Biden reference, a person who is generally persona non grata by the press when it comes to Biden stories. 

“Remember the first car we got was a 1972 Caprice Classic convertible,” Hunter told Popular Mechanics in a joint interview with his dad in 2016, according the Post. “Fifteen hundred bucks at the Manheim Auto Auction.”

After regaling readers with vignettes about important cars in Biden’s life (’51 Studebaker, ’52 Plymouth convertible, ’56 Chevy, Mercedes 190SL, Corvette Stingray), it’s only somewhere after paragraph 25 that the Post gets down to the news portion of the story. 

The news of course was grim, including a stalled $4 trillion spending scheme in front of Congress, the gas shortage caused by the cyberattack on Colonial pipeline, inflation, mask guidance for COVID and of course, Israel and the Gaza Strip. 

“Biden on Tuesday wanted, if only for moment,” said the Post, “to leave that all behind for what he could pretend was an open road, but was really just an open lot of concrete.” 

And apparently, so did the Washington Post, if only for one story, and even if was just a lot of something else.  




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