Was That A Press Conference or a Reporters’ Game of Gotcha?

Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

I’m not sure I saw the same press conference today as some of the television news reporters and pundits. I thought President Biden was like a breath of fresh spring air after listening to Trump disrespect and harangue the media for four years.

I wonder if we could trace back to the exact time that gathering information became a “gotcha” game for somewhat immature reporters?

Biden answered the questions. He wasn’t angry about any of them, although he did bristle a little when he was asked if he thought the overcrowded conditions at border facilities were acceptable.

“Is that a serious question?” he asked, and then added, “come on now.” Even that was a reasonable answer to a stupid question.

He was sincere, informative, and didn’t dodge anything compared to Trump and many other politicians in the past and present.

Biden has failed to unify Congress…in 58 days!

One TV personality cracked me up when he said Biden has “failed to unify Congress,” since taking office. Give me a break. He’s been in office 58 days. What on earth did they expect — that they’d all play nice because the president wants them to?

But he is uniting the country.

I liked Biden’s answer, “I haven’t been able to unite Congress, but I’m uniting the country.” He also said he didn’t know if there would be a Republican Party in four years and noted that even republicans are tired of the antics of Republican lawmakers. It’s true. Lawmakers opposed the stimulus bill that gave $1400 to every American taxpayer. That doesn’t feel like they’re on our side, or even their constituents’ side. They oppose voting rights. Hey, the people who elect them are...dum de dum dum, voters. Whoops.

He did have something to say that should have been reported about that question, though. He said that the country isn’t as divided as our partisan congress makes it appear. Talking about the stubbornness of Republicans who won’t pass voting rights measures, and opposed $1400 stimulus checks, the president said the people want things done and that even many republicans, if not most, want stronger voting rights and an end to states doing things like closing the polls at 5 p.m., when most people have just gotten off work.

The president wants to fix the infrastructure.

The president wants our infrastructure fixed, and it’s one of the most important issues directly affecting the people. It’s crumbling, he said, and we need a plan to address it. Our roads are terrible, as anyone who has driven much in the country already knows. There are many bridges on major roads that need repair and even some that are no longer safe.

Because of climate change, major roads in many areas will need to be built higher, in some cases 3 ft. higher. Not one reporter mentioned this in the immediate aftermath of the conference. No questions on climate change — and issue that concerns every human in the world.

Biden being a decent man has caused the crisis at the border?

It seemed to me some reporters who were allowed to ask several questions attempted to pound the president on immigration. The maintain the reason so many are crossing our border is because it is well known that Mr. Biden is a good guy. Oh, spare me. Should he be a bad guy? That isn’t the main reason people are coming to the USA. They live in places where they will likely be killed. They are desperate. It is winter and that’s the best time to try to cross the terrible miles of desert. It sounded as if Biden alone was responsible for situations and conditions that have been problems for many years before his two months in office. He noted that even Trump had an increase of migrants at this time of year.

He was lambasted about not doing enough, but ignored when he said Department of Defense assets like Fort Bliss are being outfitted to hold more people in more humane conditions. I could be mistaken but I don’t think he was asked one question about that plan.

What? Do they just have their questions written out or studied and no matter what the president says, they still ask the question, even if he answered it in the last thing he said.

He never insulted or called down reporters as Trump did, but that did not mean reporters were kind to him — or even fair.

A reporter kept alluding to meeting a 9-year-old at the border who had been sent to the US alone by a parent. The reporter’s point or question was hard for me to discern, as it seemed to me that she had inserted herself into the story (something reporters were once trained not to do) and seemed to blame the president for having a reputation as a “nice guy” and therefore causing an increase in minors attempting to cross into the US. Her point was lost on me as I wondered what Biden should do or how he would avoid such a thing. If people in other countries trust our president, isn’t that a good thing? Is he to seek a reputation as an evil guy (like our former president) so people won’t come to the USA? Ahem. It didn’t work that well for Trump.

Are they just not interested in gun control or the recent massacres?

Little was asked about gun control, although we’ve had two gun massacres in the last week. No one seemed interested in getting the president on record as to what he thinks can be done. He did answer one question on it and indicated he’d like to see assault weapons banned again. He helped get that done in the past, and I wondered why we didn’t want to hear more about it.

If they filibuster…”we’ll try something else.”

He scoffed at questions about whether he was worried about republicans usig the filibuster to stop his initiatives on voting rights. If the republicans filibuster, he said, “we’ll try something else.”

I’m surprised no reporter pinned him down on what “something else” might be. I think GOP lawmakers know damn well that this president is not worried about whether they approve of him or not (as Obama sometimes seemed to be). Even with a tied senate and a less than robust majority in the house, Biden knows the game inside and out and also knows the main players. The republicans will be ill-advised to get Joe Biden stirred up. He knows how to operate. Unlike his predecessor, he’s competent. More than.

Kim Jong-un won’t get an invitation to the White House.

How refreshing were his answers on North Korea lobbing missiles again. He didn’t bother to make any statement on the nasty little North Korean dictator, but said he’d handle it with our allies, and hopefully, diplomatically. It seemed to me the epitome of speaking softly and carrying a big ole stick. And it was measured, and an answer aimed at the world. How wonderful to have a president who knows what he’s doing.

Two months? Be glad it wasn’t 300 days!

I noticed, too, the media whining about it being two months into Biden’s term before he held an official press conference. Of course, he’s answered questions from reporters about 40 times in two months, not to mention he’s been just a little bit busy. After all, he has to undo four years of absolute chaos and mismanagement.

Trump went 300 days without holding a press conference. They just sniveled.

For a media treated with so little respect during the gawdawful Trump years, one would think they’d at least try to get off on the right foot with the decent and respectable Biden. I didn’t see that. I saw some of them not so much asking and seeking information as trying to trip up the new leader of the US.

(Surely it would not have anything to do with the fact TV networks are mostly owned by 1 percenters who happen to be republicans).

This man, who proved himself a statesmen and skilled politician long before being elected president, is not the incompetent, spittle-spurting, crude and rude Trump. It might behoove networks who wish to keep the respect of their viewers to remember we overwhelming chose Biden as president. Has anyone mentioned Biden has done more to stop the pandemic in 58 days than Trump did in over a year. Why no questions about the heroic efforts to get us all vaccinated? Biden promised to get 200 million vacinated in the remainder of his first 90 days in office. Wow. Did they hear him? We heard…crickets.

Most Americans range from greatly respecting this president, to at least kinda’ respecting him. Even his enemies call him “decent.”

I just prefer that as long as he acts like the respected and respectable leader of the free world, and takes us forward rather than backward, that even the largely republican-owned television media treat him accordingly.

The news media in general needs to get back to seeking real information instead of playing the gotcha’ game. I know it was an awful four years to be in the news business. They don’t have to defend themselves anymore, or try to avert the end of America as we know it. They just need to do their jobs and report information. All of us voters out here in citizenland can decide what to make of it and what to do about it.

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store