At CNS, Fairness Is In Cognitive Decline
CNSNews.com has spent months pushing the Trump-approved narrative that Joe Biden has issues with senility and dementia, which it also imposed on Nancy Pelosi and others. But CNS will never portray Trump's mental slips as anything serious.
By Terry Krepel
Of course, CNS is simply doing the bidding of President Trump, who has made questions about Biden's mental health a key piece of his re-election campaign. CNS has proven to be a good Trump lackey -- something it's very much known for -- by amplifying those questions.
A June 29 article by Craig Bannister touted a Rasmussen poll finding that "Due to his ever-growing legacy of public gaffes and displays of confusion, 38% of likely U.S. voters now believe that former Vice President Joe Biden has 'some form of dementia'." Bannister added:
Biden’s mental lapses have gained added public attention since he became the frontrunner to become the Democrat Party’s 2020 presidential candidate. Last week, for example, Biden claimed while campaigning in Pennsylvania that 120 million Americans have died from the coronavirus 1,000 times the actual count.
Bannister was parroting an attack by Media Research Center co-worker Nicholas Fondacaro. Like Fondacaro, Bannister conveniently failed to mention that Biden corrected himself immediately after making the claim.
Bannister also did another article unironically quoting President Trump tweeting of Biden that "If I ever said something so mortifyingly stupid, the Fake News Media would come down on me with a vengeance." Bannister did concede this time that Biden "did appear to realize his mistake."
The next day, Bannister cherry-picked a quote from a statement from Biden on the issue and framed it as an unflattering headline -- Biden: ‘All You’ve Got to Do Is Watch Me’ to See if I’m Suffering Cognitive Decline -- in response to a question from a biased Fox News reporter.
Melanie Arter did a separate article based on the very same Biden response, then played gotcha:
Biden then confused the Thomas Jefferson Memorial for with the Lincoln Memorial.On July 14, Bannister found another poll on Biden's mental health to amplify:
While more than two-thirds of all likely U.S. voters say presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden should debate President Donald Trump, Democrat and Republican voters strongly disagree on whether or not the former vice president is up to the task, a new Rasmussen survey finds.
Bannister didn't seem concerned with Trump's mental health, nor did he question why Rasmussen apparently didn't poll people about it (because it has a pro-Republican and anti-Democratic bias).
CNS has amplified Biden's purported mental issues in other articles as well. In a June 23 article, Susan Jones uncritically quoted right-wing writer Victor Davis Hanson referencing "Joe Biden's cognitive impairment"; on June 26, Bannister promoted right-wing radio host Mark Levin in the midst of an attack on Nancy Pelosi's mental health, declaring that it was "Time for Pelosi to join Biden in a padded room" as he was "comparing Pelosi's lapse to those of former Vice President Joe Biden."
Going into August, CNS continued to highlight misstatements by Biden to bolster the narrative, with articles like:
We're not sure what Susan Jones was trying to push in an Aug. 21 article on Biden's acceptance speech that the Democratic National Convention (which Jones deliberately misnamed the "Democrat National Convention"), headlined "Watch: Biden Raised His Voice, Didn't Smile As Speech Ended," in which she actually complained that "at the end of his speech, delivered live at the Chase Center in Delaware, an unsmiling Biden raised his voice, apparently for emphasis, but he looked almost angry."
In a Sept. 11 article, Jones made a point of noting that "Joe Biden would be the oldest person to take the presidential oath -- 78 years old -- if he's elected in November" in writing about how he "tried to laugh off 'this idea of, you know, slow Joe.'" Jones then went in to pro-Trump attack mode:
Concerns about Biden's health focus mainly on his mental acuity, as he has trouble completing thoughts and speaking without notes or prompts.
As for "who's able to move around," until recently, Biden has spent most of his time sheltering inside his Delaware home and giving controlled interviews via video from his basement studio, while President Trump has traveled around the country, taking criticism from Biden and other Democrat/media activists for holding campaign rally after campaign rally amid the pandemic.
As he did in June, Bannister played gotcha when Biden mistakenly said "millions" instead of "thousands" when describing the number of Americans killed by coronavirus. Instead of giving Biden the benefit of the doubt -- he said nothing when Trump embarrassingly mispronounced "Yosemite" and "Thailand" -- he lectured in a Sept. 21 article:
For the second time this year, Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden grossly exaggerated the number of coronavirus deaths while visiting Pennsylvania, claiming hundreds of millions, instead of thousands have died.
In an anonymously written Sept. 28 article, CNS took seriously Trump's taunt that Biden needed to take a "drug test" before the first presidential debate, intoning that Biden had "no comment" when asked about it. The same day, another anonymous article seriously portrayed Biden's obvious joke that he had first served in the Senate "180 years ago" as another example of sanity slippage, noting only that he "briefly chuckled" over the remark and lecturing, "Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972, which was 48 years ago, and took his seat in January 1973, whcih [sic] was 47 years ago."
Susan Jones tried to drag Biden's wife into its narrative in yet another Sept. 28 article:
Delicately treading on Joe Biden's mental state, CNN's Jake Tapper gave Jill Biden a pass when she firmly rejected Tapper's suggestion that "your husband has been known to make the occasional gaffe."
How have Jones reacted to media coverage of Trump's gaffes? More on that later.
Biden's vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, wasn't immune either. In a Sept. 15 article, Bannister asserted that Harris "made the kind of verbal slip made famous by the party’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden" by referring to "the Harris administration" in an interview. Bannister then hyped the "social media frenzy accusing Harris of a 'Freudian slip' based on the belief that she’ll actually be the one running the show if Biden wins the White House."
Later that day, Melanie Arter wrote that "One day after Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential running mate to former Vice President Joe Biden, referred to what 'a Harris administration' will do, Biden himself has the same gaffe." She waited until the end of the third paragraph of his article to admit that Biden"correct[ed] himself."
Pelosi, Schumer trashed by the same narrative
Meanwhile, CNS has been similarly attacking the supposed mental health issues of other Democrats -- particularly that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But it hasn't always been successful. The uber-Catholics at CNS tried to own the Catholic Pelosi on her religion in an anonymously written April 22 article:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said on PBS “NewsHour” on Tuesday that she had an “Epiphany” on Easter that told her she “must call out the truth” on the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of that Epiphany she has been criticizing President Donald Trump.
CNS is rather clumsily arguing that Pelosi can't keep her religious holidays straight and rather stupidly claiming that one cannot possibly have an epiphany on Easter and that epiphany has only a religious meaning. The holy day of Epiphany describes the revelation of baby Jesus as divine to the Magi, something that might actually be more accurately described as a theophany.
While the dictionary offers a religious definition of epiphany, it also offers a non-religious one as well "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience."
In other words, it's possible and permissible to have an epiphany on Easter. And, thus, CNS' attempt to own Pelosi utterly failed.
From there it was on to disparaging her as going senile or becoming physically frail. An anonymously written May 15 article stated:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) at her press briefing on Thursday forgot the name of Rep. Rodney Davis (R.-Ill.), who is the ranking member of the House Administration Committee.
Someone put in a lot of time transcribing this video and didn't get credit for it.
One CNS writer not afraid to put his name on his bias is Craig Bannister, who declared in a June 4 article:
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appeared to experience a ten-second mental lapse Thursday during an on-camera press conference.
That was followed on June 9 by another anonymously written article:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) on Monday took a knee in the U.S. Capitol for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor George Floyd and others who “were abused by police brutality.”
And on June 26, Bannister threw to its favorite right-wing radio host, Mark Levin, for another article accusing Pelosi of senility:
On Friday, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (C-Calif.) appeared to forget what President Donald Trump and Republicans did that prompted her to accuse them of being complicit in the “murder” of Minnesotan George Floyd.
Bannister made sure to build his biased narrative by adding that "On June 4, Pelosi suffered an even longer on-camera mental lapse, CNSNews.com reported at the time."
CNS even dragged another Democrat into its mental-lapse obsession in an anonymously written Aug. 10 article: "Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) suffered a mental lapse when appearing on MSNBC on Monday morning saying, as he did so, 'uh, um, uhI got to remember the words.'"
Trump is immune
By contrast, very few CNS articles admitted there have been questions about President Trump's mental health. A March 11 article by Bannister quoting "a Yale psychiatrist with a history of claiming President Donald Trump is mentally unfit" stating that "she doesn’t even want to discuss the mental health of Democrat presidential frontrunner Joe Biden because Biden’s mental lapses are merely 'gaffes' while Trump’s endanger all of humanity." It was a lazy rewrite of a NewsBusters post by Tim Graham, who went on to complain that mental health professionals -- as opposed to the random people Rasmussen polled and Bannister touted -- keep raising questions about Trump's mental fitness, declaring that doing so was "partisan."
Liberal activists in the media are now focusing in particular on Trump's mispronunciations ("Yosemite") and twisting his words ("It is what it is") to make it look like he doesn't grasp the severity of the pandemic, for example. The intent is to portray Trump as cognitive impaired.
You mean like what you and your colleagues are doing to Biden, Susan? Heaven forfend!
And in an Aug. 25 article, Jones repeated how Trump boasted how "we're going to end up with 302 great Supreme Court Justices," then had to parenthetically add, "(He meant lower-court judges.)" After all, she's not getting paid to question Trump's "mental decline" the way she and her CNS co-worker obsess over Biden's.
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Months of CNS pushing this narrative (with the Trump's campaign's presumed blessing) set the bar so low for Biden at the first debate that he was easily able to surpass expectations. Thus, CNS hasn't suggested anything about Biden's purported cognitive decline again since the debate. But look for it to pounce on any future Biden gaffes in a way it will never do when Trump makes them.