Bozell & Graham Column: An Excusing Frenzy for Biden's Fact-Mangling

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The Washington Post caused an uproar inside the media when it reported Joe Biden had told a “moving but false” war story at a campaign stop in Hanover, New Hampshire on August 23. He told 400 people he’d been asked to travel to Konar province in Afghanistan to recognize the heroism of a Navy captain, but the captain protested that he didn’t deserve it.

Biden even boasted of his own bravery. Some told him he shouldn’t go, but he said, “We can lose a vice president. We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.” He added: “This is the God’s truth.

It wasn’t God’s truth. It was a fabrication.

The Post checked the records and concluded: “In the space of three minutes, 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.”

Biden went to Konar province in 2008, when he wasn’t Vice President. The Navy captain he met was actually a 20-year-old Army specialist, Kyle White. Biden never pinned a medal on White, but watched President Obama do so in 2014. Biden did pin a medal on a man who didn’t want the medal, but that was an Army staff sergeant, Chad Workman, in 2011.

This was no “gaffe.” It was either (a) a trail of gaffes indicating Biden’s lost his marbles, or (b) a lie.  Which was it, and how serious is this? The media’s answer was predictable. 

We should be impressed that the Post actually reported on this story, but the usual spin quickly fell into place to offset the indictment. Those are just more legendary Biden gaffes, and they’re so endearing, and he’s no Trump.

ABC political director Rick Klein: “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.”

Former NBC reporter Shawna Thomas (now with Vice News): “When Trump lies, it's about Google and Google changing votes, and making you scared about things. When Joe Biden lies, it's about trying to say he's going to be commander-in-chief and he understands heroism.”

NBC’s Chuck Todd dragged in Ronald Reagan to aid Biden:”There's a part of Biden that seems more Reaganesque. That way you’re like, ‘Oh, it's Grandpa, it's Uncle Joe,’ whatever that is. ‘Eh, let the old man do it.’”

That one’s priceless. They were not generous to Reagan. In 1983, then-NBC anchor Tom Brokaw told Mother Jones magazine that Reagan doesn’t understand “the enormous difficulty a lot of people have in just getting through life, because he’s lived in this fantasy land for so long.”

They blasted Reagan throughout his entire career. “Reaganesque” meant “insane,” or “senile,” or evil,” or any combination of those.

Peter Hamby, a CNN political reporter for ten years, explicitly lobbied his colleagues to spike this entire narrative.“Biden’s gaffes really only showcase what we’ve known about him for a long time—that he makes gaffes. Compared to the horror show coming out of Trump’s mouth on a near-daily basis, who cares?”

Who cares, indeed? For decades now – and especially when he was Vice President – the media have downplayed and ignored Biden’s gaffes and misstatements and lies. This whole energetic frenzy of excuse-manufacturing once again underlines the fraudulent media boast that they are “facts first” and care most deeply about “the truth.” 

Joe Biden
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