Author scolds press for painting Biden as ‘doddering old man,’ says he was ‘never given much of a honeymoon’

Journalist and author Marvin Kalb believes media is unfairly covering Biden

The Brookings Institution published a blog post last week that takes issue with the media portraying President Biden as a “doddering old man,” who is “barely able to articulate a single thought without slurring.”

Author and journalist Marvin Kalb, a nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, penned a blog post headlined, “Press “bothsideism” has failed Biden, and America.” The blog declared that “bothsideism” allows the press to criticize both political parties equally, but Kalb feels it’s being “unfairly applied” to Biden. 

“The press image of Biden, President of the United States of America, has been whittled down to that of a doddering old man, wobbly on his feet and barely able to articulate a single thought without slurring,” Kalb wrote, in a piece flagged by Mediaite. “Is that a fair and balanced image of Biden? Hardly. But can the press do better?”

President Biden will turn 80 in November.

President Biden will turn 80 in November. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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Biden has seen his approval ratings dwindle amid a rising tide of polls indicating that a majority of Democrats do not want him to seek a second term and an increasing number of editorial pieces are urging Biden not to run again. However, Kalb feels that “journalists seemed ‘poised’ from Day One of his administration to ‘balance’ their justifiably negative coverage of Trump with a run of unjustifiably negative stories about Biden.”

Essentially, Kalb believes Trump is to blame for the media’s negative treatment of Biden. 

“Granted, the press is ordinarily skeptical of any incoming president, but Biden was never given much of a honeymoon,” Kalb wrote. 

Kalb then acknowledged Biden’s approval rating has plummeted since his “controversial decision” to pull troops out of Afghanistan before claiming negative coverage resulted in poll numbers continuing to drop. 

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President Biden takes his face mask off before speaking during an event to mark International Women's Day, Monday, March 8, 2021, at White House.

President Biden takes his face mask off before speaking during an event to mark International Women’s Day, Monday, March 8, 2021, at White House. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“What we have all noticed is that as Biden’s poll numbers collapsed, negative coverage of him rose, leading in turn to still lower poll numbers, which have only further darkened his political prospects, a looping interaction between polling and press negativity from which there seems no escape,” Kalb wrote before quoting a Harvard professor who told him the media has a tendency to “focus on what’s going poorly or done poorly as opposed to what’s going well and done well.”

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Negativity sells, Klab explained, and he feels negative coverage of Biden is the result. 

“It is painfully obvious that many serious problems confront the American people, but, press coverage notwithstanding, not all of these are Biden’s fault,” he wrote. “For example, the seemingly nonstop, disruptive surges of covid variants could have erupted under any president. This all started under Trump, let us remember. But the covid crisis undoubtedly thickens the political gloom and shortens tempers about the administration’s failure to end the pandemic. Biden, a new covid victim himself, is now saddled with a crisis that seems endless—and is not his doing.”

President Biden clasps his hands while listening to questions from reporters.

President Biden clasps his hands while listening to questions from reporters. (AP)

Kalb also gave Biden a pass for inflation, because some reporters “simply drop inflation into the president’s tote bag of other problems,” and wrote that climate change is not his fault either. 

“Though Biden is currently saddled with managing wildfires and historic heat waves, and probably worse, he did come to office with ambitious plans for meeting and easing this crisis,” Kalb wrote. “But the GOP and even members of his own party refused to cooperate. His hopes were frustrated, and the crisis worsened. Is that his fault?”

The column then turned to Biden’s age and Kalb expressed frustration that Trump does not receive the type of criticism that the 79-year-old president does. 

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“He will soon turn 80, and, if he runs and is re-elected, he will be 84, old by presidential standards. Trump, who is likely to be his opponent, is 4 years younger. No spring chicken, as we used to say, but Biden is the candidate who routinely runs into a storm of criticism about his old age,” he wrote. “It has become so easy for the press to criticize Biden.”

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