NY Times Front Page Cherishes New Spin: 'Convicted Felon' Trump vs. Statesman Biden

June 3rd, 2024 7:50 AM

In Saturday’s front-page story by New York Times White House reporter Peter Baker on the aftermath of the Trump trial in Manhattan, Baker relished the contrast between Biden and the “felon” Trump, while fiercely defending the Democratic president against allegations his administration had anything to do with the former president’s prosecution.

The print edition headline was over the top: “Biden Denounces G.O.P. Moves To Subvert the Decision of a Jury.” So disagreeing with the verdict in one heavily politicized case is subverting justice?

President Biden took on his newly convicted opponent on Friday, declaring that a New York jury’s guilty verdict against former President Donald J. Trump should be respected and denouncing efforts to undermine the justice system as “reckless,” “dangerous” and “irresponsible.”

Breaking his long silence over Mr. Trump’s legal troubles, Mr. Biden directly and unambiguously characterized the putative Republican nominee as a lawbreaker whose conviction amounted to a victory for the rule of law. And he rejected assertions that the prosecution was a political witch hunt, noting that it was not a case brought by his own administration.

Never mind the presence of Matthew Colangelo, former third-in-command in Biden’s Justice Department, on prosecutor Alvin Bragg’s team. The press love to pretend that all these Democrat prosecutors -- many like Bragg, elected on the promise of prosecuting Trump -- aren't political. We all know if an elected Republican DA in a deep-red district that voted 90 percent for Trump indicted Biden, they wouldn't demand respect for the prosecutor and judge and jury.

Baker allowed Biden to pose as a noble defender of American norms.

The president’s decision to address the outcome of the trial directly was a major strategic shift. Ever since Mr. Trump was charged in this first of four indictments brought against him by state and federal prosecutors over the past year, Mr. Biden has resolutely refused to discuss the matters. He had hoped to stay above the fray and avoid fueling the former president’s false claims that the White House was directing the prosecutions.


Indeed, Mr. Trump has been trying to goad Mr. Biden into engaging on the New York case as well as the other indictments by falsely accusing the president of masterminding them. While Mr. Biden appointed the attorney general who has overseen the two federal cases against Mr. Trump, there is no known evidence that the president himself or his White House have played any role in them….

Baker managed to even turn his son Hunter's upcoming federal gun trial inside out to reflect badly on Trump's accusations.

The notion that the Justice Department is simply a political weapon surely comes as something of a surprise to Mr. Biden given that the same department is putting his own son, Hunter, on trial on Monday on federal gun charges.

Baker dropped the word “felon” a lot, though the actual offense Trump was convicted of, falsifying business records, was a rarely prosecuted misdemeanor, charges boosted up by convoluted and controversial legal shenanigans into felonies. Baker smirked in print: “It says something about today’s politics that running against a felon is not seen as a winning strategy.”

Things really got obnoxious at the end, with Baker letting loose with what seemed like years of bottled-up hostility cherishing the compare-and-contrast between Biden’s presidential public persona and Trump the “convicted felon.”

The president’s formal statement came at the start of an announcement about the latest cease-fire proposal in the Middle East and shortly before meeting with the visiting prime minister of Belgium and hosting a celebration of the Kansas City Chiefs. Mr. Biden then left for Rehoboth Beach, Del., for the weekend before heading to France next week for ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

That is a contrast the Biden campaign is all too happy to foster: On the one hand, a commander in chief welcoming foreign leaders and football champions to the White House, grappling with momentous questions of war and peace and traveling to the iconic beaches of Normandy to pay tribute to American heroes. On the other hand, a challenger railing against the system and preparing for a sentencing hearing where he may get prison time, just as convicted felons typically do.

“Trump will descend even more deeply into rage and self-pity. He cannot help himself,” [former Obama adviser David] Axelrod said. “Biden and the campaign would be well served to lean more deeply into the contrast between a president fighting to address the pressing concerns of people, and Trump, who fights only for himself.”