President Joe Biden is suffering from a series of actions he took over the weekend and from the reactions of the formerly positive Fourth Estate. Whether it was pulling a bait and switch on the infrastructure plan and then having to walk back his comments, or launching airstrikes on the Iraq-Syria border, it seems that the media who once proudly defended the president are starting to feel the pressure of their support.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Faith must be enforced by reason; when faith becomes blind, it dies.” This is a thought that may be haunting the reporters and outlets who have taken an unofficial vow of loyalty to the commander in chief.
On Sunday evening, President Biden ordered a number of strikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border area. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said:
“The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries.”
In 2017, President Trump ordered airstrikes against a Syrian airbase. At the time, multiple media outlets began debating whether his actions were either legal or moral. CBS asked how Trump “was able to order U.S. strikes on Syria without congressional approval.” CNN went a step further, bringing in scholars to debate whether the strikes were legal.
Opposition members of Congress lambasted the move and were quick to try and deny the president the ability to launch such attacks. They tied themselves in knots attempting to explain why President Obama was right to take advantage of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (“AUMF”) directive, but that Trump was not.
And now the Fourth Estate is in the unenviable position of trying to counter its previous reportage without running afoul of its own malleable standards.
Flip Flops and Floundering
Another volte-face from the president has rendered the heady reportage of last week all but null and void. On Thursday, June 24, he said that he would not be signing the bipartisan infrastructure plan negotiated by 21 senators unless the Senate signs a reconciliation bill on his larger package. He stated at the time:
“What I expect — I expect that in the coming months this summer, before the fiscal year is over, that we will have voted on this bill, the infrastructure bill, as well as voted on the budget resolution. But if only one comes to me — if this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”
President Biden wavered from his position and “clarified” what he meant on Saturday, releasing a statement saying that his former comments “created the impression that I was issuing a veto threat on the very plan I had just agreed to, which was certainly not my intent.”
Was it his “comments” that created the confusion or the man himself?
Support in All the Wrong Places
Despite having the support of Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he does “trust the president,” news outlets finally seemed to have had enough of the flip flops. CNN wrote, “His efforts to clean up those comments amounted to one of the most significant course corrections of Biden’s highly disciplined presidency, which had until now mostly defied his reputation as a gaffe machine.”
That the words “gaffe machine” in direct connection to the president could make it to the pages of left-leaning Fourth Estate outlets perhaps provides a sense of the frustration that has been building since Joe Biden became the Democratic Party frontrunner.
Only halfway through his first year, President Biden appears to have squandered the goodwill bestowed upon him for not being President Trump. The firmly anti-Trump media has thrown its dwindling public trust all-in for the White House occupant. If Biden continues to force America’s journalists to confront their own hypocrisy, what little support he has left may soon run dry.
Read more from Mark Angelides.