Truth Matters? ABC Panel Defends Joe Biden Telling False War Story

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Apparently, the truth and the accuracy of details meant little to the so-called “powerhouse roundtable” on ABC’s This Week. During the latter half of the Sunday show, the panel defended former Vice President Joe Biden after The Washington Post exposed that a war story Biden had been telling for years was actually a tall tale.

But it wasn’t entirely false. As The Post explained and ABC rationalized on Thursday, Biden created the story by conflating several real events into a, sort of, Frankenstein’s monster designed to tug on the heartstrings of listeners. According to The Post, “Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.”

But the facts be damned on ABC News.

First up was ABC political director Rick Klein, who said the story “shows the best of Joe Biden and the worst of Joe Biden. It's him connecting and telling a really compelling story. It’s also him sanding away the edges and conflating things and maybe confusing details.”

Fill-in host and chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz was concerned President Trump could use the false story “against Joe Biden in a credible way”. Klein, making the argument from the perspective of Biden and his supporters, suggested Biden’s lies had a better cause behind them:

I think from Biden's perspective though, and Biden supporters, they could say: “Look, when the Vice President does it, it is to make a point in a more artful way perhaps and to connect with people in a genuine way. When Donald Trump does it's often to demean and belittle.”

 

 

Both Raddatz and NPR correspondent Asma Khalid argued that the news story about Biden’s lies wasn’t “resonating” with voters. Khalid talked about how Biden’s supporters were simply brushing off the incident:

I don't think it resonated at all. And I should preface this by saying I was out with Joe Biden at a Joe Biden evens, so it’s a slice of the electorate. But I specifically wanted to hear from people about this and time after time I was told, you know, “well, I put my foot in my mouth, we all put our foot in the mouth.” There’s a sense that these qualities are almost endearing to voters. There’s a sense that they find him more believable because he makes missteps every so often.

Washington Post national correspondent Mary Jordan was flippant about her own paper’s reporting on Biden’s latest gaffe. She suggested the voters she was talking too were telling her: “Come on, let's focus on the big stuff, it's the economy and the character of the leader and the character of the country that we want going forward”.

“And that's what they're saying. It's big time. It's big stuff that we care about. It’s not about the stories,” she concluded.

As Klein’s argument showed, it’s a double standard with it came to Democratic candidates and President Trump. If it was Trump telling Biden’s tale, then the media would be running story after story about him intentionally “gaslighting” America. Perhaps that’s why the news story wasn’t “resonating”.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s This Week
September 1, 2019
9:40:22 a.m. Eastern

MARTHA RADDATZ: I want to talk about what we started this segment with and that was with Joe Biden this week and that gaffe, telling that war story where elements of it were true but certainly it was a conflation of a lot of things that he has experienced, do you think that harms him, or that people just won’t care.

RICK KLEIN: I think that story, in particular, shows the best of Joe Biden and the worst of Joe Biden. It's him connecting and telling a really compelling story. It’s also him sanding away the edges and conflating things and maybe confusing details. I don't know that anyone of these make a difference, but I think cumulatively it could matter. And it’s really up to voters. And people have made the comparison to President Trump with his misleading statements is on another scale. All of that is true.

RADDATZ: But, can he use that in a way, saying: “Look, he does that, too.” Or—I mean, he’d never admit that he did it, probably-- does that probably. But, can he use that against Joe Biden in a credible way?

KLEIN: Well, I would presume that Donald Trump will use it in some way to say this is a guy that is making up things all the time. But I think for Biden’s prospective—

MATTHEW DOWD: He would know. Donald Trump would know.

KLEIN: I think from Biden's perspective though, and Biden supporters, they could say: “Look, when the Vice President does it, it is to make a point in a more artful way perhaps and to connect with people in a genuine way. When Donald Trump does it's often to demean and belittle.”

RADDATZ: You were with the voters in South Carolina. I was in Pennsylvania, as you saw, I didn't feel it was resonating.

ASMA KHALID: I don't think it resonated at all. And I should preface this by saying I was out with Joe Biden at a Joe Biden evens, so it’s a slice of the electorate. But I specifically wanted to hear from people about this and time after time I was told, you know, “well, I put my foot in my mouth, we all put our foot in the mouth.” There’s a sense that these qualities are almost endearing to voters. There’s a sense that they find him more believable because he makes missteps every so often.

MARY JORDAN: And What I’m hearing is that people just say, “come on, let's focus on the big stuff, it's the economy and the character of the leader and the character of the country that we want going forward”. And that's what they're saying. It's big time. It's big stuff that we care about. It’s not about the stories.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Double Standards Military Broadcast Television ABC This Week NB Polls Mary Jordan Rick Klein Martha Raddatz Joe Biden Donald Trump

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