CNSNews.com loves to take incidents out of context to make President Biden look senile and out of touch -- "four second mental meltdown," anyone? -- and it hasn't really stopped, even though that right-wing-driven narrative isn't really going anywhere and despite its own objections to anyone questioning Donald Trump's mental faculties even though his continued insistence against all legitimate evidence that he won the election and everyone else cheated can been seen as evidence of a mental disorder of some kind. By contrast, every verbal misstep by Biden -- no matter how minor -- is copiously documented and presented as implicit evidence of Biden's purported "cognitive decline."
Here's what CNS has been doing in recent months to push this narrative:
- Biden Refers to 'President Harris'; In December, He Called Her 'President-Elect'
- Biden: 'Look Folks, the Bottom Line Here Is, I'm Going on Too Long'
- WATCH: Confused Biden Bumbles While Trying to Figure Out What He Was Saying about Billion-Dollar FEMA Spending
- Biden Gets Confused About COVID Trends, Says: 'COVID Cases Are Down. COVID Deaths Are Up'
- Watch: Biden, Reading from Notes, Nevertheless Stumbles Through Remarks on Iraq
- Biden Says He Ran for President for ‘Three Reasons’ – Then, Lists Only Two Before Changing Subjects
- Biden Says 350 Million Americans Have Been Vaccinated; Census Bureau Says Total Population is 332.6 Million (the article failed to mention that Biden likely meant to say that 350 million doses had been administered)
- Biden Says He ‘Can’t Think of Anyone Better’ than FEMA Director – Then, Appears to Forget Her Name
- Biden Says The 'Afghan National Force' Was '300 Persons'
- Biden Mistakenly Calls United Nations ‘the United States’
- Confused Biden Hosts NBA Champs: 'What Are We Supposed to Do Now?'
CNS got help from across the hall at Media Research Center headquarters in pushing this narrative. Tim Graham wrote a March column:
At a March 8 White House event to announce the nomination of two female generals to lead U.S. military combatant commands, President Joe Biden seemed to forget the name of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and where Austin works. Since the theme of the president's mental acuity is still associated with memes of former President Donald Trump, the media desperately wanted to forget this happened.
Just like CNS and the MRC desperately wants you to forget about all those Trump gaffes and his continued cloudcuckooland insistence that he won the election (a delusion the MRC has helped Trump maintain)?
CNS also gives uncritical free reign to Republican politicians to smear Biden and his purported "cognitive decline":
- In February, Jones touted Rep. Matt Gaetz saing that "Biden is "not in a position to really make decisions day in and day out" and adding, "You look at a growing number of Democrats who are now concerned about giving Joe Biden the codes for the nuclear system. I'd be concerned about giving Joe Biden a code to my garage door opener."
- A June 18 article by Jones uncritically quoted Rep. Tommy Tuberville saying of Trump that "he's got his handlers running this country. He can't do anything on his own. And people are losing confidence in him every day," adding that "Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), the former White House physician, sent a letter to President Biden, Biden's physician, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, urging a cognitive test for Biden, the results to be shared with the American people."
- A July 14 article by Jones quoted Newt Gingrich saying, ""A lot of people worry about President Biden and his cognitive abilities."
- On Aug. 9, Melanie Arter uncritically quoted former Trump director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe saying, "There's that other elephant in the room, in terms of cognitive difficulties from the leader of the free world. What does that tell our adversaries across the world?”
- On Aug. 24, Arter wrote that Republican Rep. Mark Green "questioned Biden’s cognitive abilities and his ability to lead as commander-in-chief because of his handling of Afghanistan," uncritically quoting him as saying, "The way the president is thinking, it calls to mind where his cognitive abilities really are."
- Another article the same day by Arter uncritically quoted Republican Rep. Michael Waltz ranting, "He cannot handle it. He is not prepared for this. He is not cognitively fit to be our commander-in-chief right now."
That would seem to demonstrate all one needs to know about CNS' partisan motivation.
CNS tried to push questions about Biden's supposedly failing physical health as well. Melanie Arter leaned hard into that in a Sept. 16 article:
President Joe Biden’s frequent coughing during public speeches recently, including Thursday during a speech about his economic proposals, prompted NBC News White House Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell to ask about the president’s health.
“Many of us were in the East Room watching the president. We’ve seen him on many occasions where he has a repeated cough. What is the situation with that cough, and is that a concern?” O’Donnell asked.
“It’s not a concern. He has a doctor that travels with him obviously who checks in if it is ever warranted, and certainly, that continues to be the case as it has been since the beginning of his presidency,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“Is there an explanation for why he coughs so frequently in situations like that? I’m sure you saw it,” O’Donnell said.
By contrast, CNS touted Trump's purported manliness and perfect health, his cavalierness in associating with people know to be infected with COVID and uncrirtically repeating his lackeys' insistence that Trump was wonderfully healthy even as he because infected with COVID himself (which we now know was not the case, though CNS has yet to tell its readers).