CNSNews.com continued to be obsessed with mocking and nitpicking President Biden until it was shut down -- even bizarrely attacking his trip to Ireland.
By Terry Krepel Posted 6/12/2023
For the past three years, CNSNews.com highlighted gaffes and misstatements by President Biden for the partisan purpose of making him look senile -- something it refused to do to Donald Trump despite a similar record of gaffes. That malicious narrative continued through CNS' shutdown in April. Susan Jones sounded quite conspiratorial in an April 2022 article under the headline "Watch As Barack Obama Returns to White House, Stealing the Limelight From 'Vice President Biden'":
Was former President Barack Obama kidding when he referred to President Joe Biden as "vice president" at a White House event on Tuesday? Obama called it a "joke," but...
Why did Biden feel the need to explain his wife's absence from the event celebrating Obama's signature achievement -- the Affordable Care Act?
And why did everyone, including Obama, ignore Biden, leaving him to wander alone in a room now dominated by his former boss?
Those are the questions. Here's the video:
An anonymously written article later that month was provocatively headlined "President Biden: “The Caption Underneath the Picture Was, ‘Biden Molests Another Child’” -- though the article was about Biden criticizing the treatment of the picture, which was actually of him comforting a grandchild after the funeral for his son Beau. Talk about burying context.
The smears and deliberate out-of-context quotes continued:
Biden: 'Which Way Are We Going?' (in which Jones sneered: "As he frequently does, President Joe Biden needed someone to tell him which way he was supposed to go, right on the grounds of the White House.")
A Sept. 27 article by Peyton Holliday, meanwhile, hyped a poll claiming that 56% of respondents "say they 'have doubts' about the president’s mental fitness for office." There was also an implicitly snarky and anonymously written Oct. 31 article on Biden issuing a proclamation for National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, in which he "call[ed] on Americans 'to recognize their fellow citizens with Alzheimer’s Disease.'"
Concurrent with this was the occasional article about Republicans engaging in performative outrage over Biden's gaffes (again, despite the fact they never fretted over Trump's gaffes). For instance, Craig Bannister wrote in a March 2022 article:
President Joe Biden’s constant gaffes, especially those regarding classified information, emboldens the Deep State to keep him in the dark and make important decisions without him, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) warned Wednesday.
Discussing how the administration has had to walk back Biden’s recent remarks, suggesting that Americans are training Ukrainian troops in Poland and that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be removed from office, Rep. Comer told Fox & Friends First that the gaffes endanger American citizens, not just U.S. troops:
The more public gaffes Pres. Biden makes, the more likely it is that the Deep State will cut him out of the loop and start making decisions without consulting him, Rep. Comer said:
None of that actually happened, of course; Comer was just saying what he thought would get him on Fox News.
Similarly, an Oct. 10 article by Jones reported that "President Joe Biden's comments last week about the world facing the 'prospect of Armageddon' were 'reckless' and dangerous, former (Trump) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday."
On the "opinion" side, Pat Buchanan (whose presidential campaigns CNS editor Terry Jeffrey worked for in the 1990s) has been the leader in pushing the narrative of Biden's purported senility before his retirement in early 2023:
President Joe Biden may be making trips to New Hampshire, but few believe he will be running again in 2024, as the manifestations of his cognitive decline appear more frequent and disturbing. -- April 26
Biden has himself become a drag on the party. His low poll numbers, verbal foot faults, visible frailty and perceived "cognitive decline" all handicap efforts to portray him as a strong, engaged and decisive leader. -- May 3
Does Biden, with his shuffling gait, regular gaffes, and physical and cognitive decline manifest that attribute of which Hamilton wrote ?-- May 24
It is not too much to infer from this stunning piece on the front page of the Times that America's newspaper of record, a citadel of liberalism, has decided it is now fair game to confront Biden on the age-and-infirmities issue. Nor is it too much to say that the Times is giving its own belated validation to claims made for many months by conservative media that Biden is neither physically nor cognitively capable of handling the duties of his office, let alone to serve a second term, which would end in 2029 with Biden at 86 years of age. -- July 12
But in a hilarious counterpoint to all of this, a Dec. 2 article by Jones quoted none other than Newt Gingrich conceding that Biden might not be so senile after all and criticizing his fellow Republicans because "We dislike Biden so much, we pettily focus on his speaking difficulties, sometimes strange behavior, clear lapses of memory, and other personal flaws. Our aversion to him and his policies makes us underestimate him and the Democrats":
"Republicans must learn to quit underestimating President Joe Biden," says former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who admits he's no fan of Biden or his policies
He credits Biden with waging war in Ukraine without any troops; and successfully "polarizing Americans against Donald Trump supporters," resulting in a strong midterm showing for Democrats, despite Americans' concerns about the economy, crime and the border.
"Today there is not nearly enough understanding (or acknowledgement) among leading Republicans that our system and approach failed. We need to rethink from the ground up how we are going to Defeat Big Government Socialism including almost inevitable second-time Democrat Presidential Nominee Biden."
Is that a tacit admission that CNS' petty obsession with cherry-picking Biden statements to make him look senile has failed? Perhaps.
One speech, five attacks
CNSNews.com reverted to an old, dishonest trick to maximize negative coverage of President Biden: cherry-picking out-of-context statements by him that look weird or ridiculous when isolated in order to further its narrative that Biden is cognitively challenged.
Instead of making the core of a Aug. 30 speech Biden gave in Pennsylvania that one CNS writer did concede was about "his plan for increased police funding, training and accountability," CNS made sure not to put that in the headlines of any of the five articles it churned out on the speech, and when the points of the speech do get reported, they are undercut with partisan attacks, something CNS rarely did when reporting on remarks by the previous president, Donald Trump. Here are the stories:
President Biden on Tuesday called for the hiring of more police officers as part of his "Safer America Plan."
"And as we hire more police officers, there should be more training, more help, and more accountability. Without public trust, law enforcement can’t do its job serving and protecting all the communities," Biden said in his speech in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Then the president went off-script, describing "tough" neighborhoods, "where the best basketball in the state is." Making his point clear, Biden added that "I was the only white guy that worked as a lifeguard down in that area," and he even mentioned “gangs” and the “liquor store.”
Since Biden became president, crime has moved to the forefront of Americans’ concerns, with brazen attacks and carjackings at all times of the day in the nation’s big cities, and thieves clearing out store shelves with impunity.
And while Biden advocated more policing as a way to reduce crime, he did not address the poverty and living conditions that give rise to crime.
President Joe Biden delivered a speech at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Tuesday in which he insisted nine times that what he had just said was “not a joke” or that he was “not joking."
“I want to thank your outstanding governor, Tom Wolf. Tom and I have been friends a long time,” said Biden. “He’s truly one of the best governors in the United States of America. Not a joke. Not a joke.”
I mean, we expect you [police officers] to do everything,” Biden said. “I’m not joking. Everything.”
“My dad used to love to hunt in the Poconos when we lived in Scranton,” Biden said. “How many deer or bear are wearing Kevlar vests, huh? Not a joke.”
“When we disagreed, we disagreed on principle, but we then went and had lunch together,” Biden said. “Not a joke.”
“And for those brave, right-wing Americans who say it’s all about keeping Americakeeping America as independent and safe: If you want to fight against a country, you need an F-15. You need something a little more than a gun,” said Biden. “No, I’m not joking.
“DNA to say, ‘That’s my baby.’ What the hell is the matter with us?” said Biden. “No, I’m not joking.”
“Folks, when it comes to fighting crime, we know what works: officers on the street who know the neighborhoodnot a joke,”said Biden.
“And the crime rate began to drop,” said Biden. “For real. Not a joke.”
None of these CNS writers explained why they decided that taking partisan and personal shots at the president was more newsworthy than fairly reporting the subject of his speech.
Mocking until the end
CNS continued to mock and nitpick Biden until its demise. Jones wrote in a Jan. 6 article under the headline "Biden Confused":
"Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing this country," the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said on December 20, when it announced the seizure of "50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder this calendar year."
That amounts to "379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl," DEA said.
The president of the United States tried to make the same point on Thursday in his speech on border security, but he failed, apparently not reading the teleprompter correctly:
"[S]ince August of last year, Customs and Border Patrol [it's Customs and Border Protection] have seized more than 20,000 pounds of deadly fentanyl," President Joe Biden said. "That’s enough to kill kill as many as 1,000 people in this country. Twenty thousand pounds of fentanyl. It’s a killer. It’s a flat killer," Biden said.
The White House posted a transcript of Biden's words, not putting a correction in brackets this time, as it often does.
In case anyone hasn't heard the stories he loves to repeat, Joe "Amtrak" Biden reminisced about riding the rails on Monday, during a stop at a Baltimore train tunnel that will undergo a $4-billion replacement.
"Back in Delaware, I’m known for riding Amtrak, for being their senator all those years," Biden said:
"And most of you know that a senator as a senator, I rode the train between Washington and Wilmington, and back and forth, every single day that the Senate was in. And they tell me it was about an average 200- 117 days a year, about 265 miles a day. I put over a million miles on Amtrak not a joke including as Vice including as Vice President.
"Amtrak wasn’t just a way to get home to family," Biden continued:
(The Daily Mail reported that this is the eighth time Biden has repeated that debunked story about a conductor congratulating him for logging a million miles on Amtrak. "The conductor had been dead for more than a year and retired for more than two decades before the earliest moment Biden could have had this conversation as vice president," the newspaper said.)
Jones served up even more nitpicky whining in a Feb. 21 article:
In remarks at a meeting with Polish leaders on Tuesday, President Joe Biden -- as usual -- recalled his childhood in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he said he was self-conscious about his Irish surname.
Mr. President, the connection between Polish and -- Polish and American people is extremely strong and deep," Biden said.
"I was kidding with the (Polish) president. I was, as a young man, I was born in a coal town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, northeastern Pennsylvania, in an Irish Catholic neighborhood.
"Then when coal died we moved down to Delaware, to a town called Claymont, Delaware, which was a working class town, and ah, but everyone in town was either Polish or Italian. I grew up feeling self-conscious my name didn't end in "s-k-i" or an "o."
Craig Bannister proclaimed a "Biden Blunder" in a March 24 article:
Today, I applaud China for stepping up,” President Joe Biden accidentally said in a speech in Canada on Friday, adding another public gaffe to his legacy of public speaking miscues that have gone viral on social media.
“Excuse me. I applaud Canada,” Biden then said, prompting laughs from the members of the Ottawa parliament.
Bannister hyped another purported miscue in a March 29 article:
“Voters resoundingly and roundly rejected the voices of extremism” in the November 2022 national elections, President Joe Biden bragged Wednesday even though his party lost control of the House and picked up only a single seat in the Senate.
Biden made the boast during remarks at the Summit for Democracy Virtual Plenary in Washington, DC:
Bannister failed to mention that those results were much better than what a party holding the presidency typically sees in a midterm election, meaning that there is some accuracy to Biden's claim.
Jones took yet another shot at Biden in an April 11 article:
President Joe Biden sometimes has trouble exiting the stage, not sure which way to go, and yesterday was no exception.
After speaking to the crowd gathered on the South Lawn for the annual White House egg roll -- brief remarks he read from notes in his hand -- the president asked his wife, "We walk off?"
"We walk off, yep," Mrs. Biden said.
CNS then did its own walkoff, shutting down nine days later.
Ireland trip meltdown
CNS' final anti-Biden crusade before being shut down last month involved doing a lot of whining about Biden's trip to Ireland. Susan Jones sneered in an April 5 article headlined "WH: Biden 'Is Going to Focus on the American People' -- But He's Going to UK and Ireland Next Week":
The Biden White House had no comment Tuesday on former President Donald Trump's arraignment.
President Joe Biden, however, flashed a big, wide smile when reporters shouted questions about Trump’s indictment as they were ushered out of the room where Biden was meeting with his science and technology advisers.
At the White House press briefing on Tuesday, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, "It's an ongoing case, so we’re just not going to comment on the case specifically itself.
"Look, the President is going to focus on the American people, like he does every day," Jean-Pierre said.
"He is not this is not something that is a focus for him. He is going to focus on things like making sure that the that we lower continue to lower prices for the American people."
At least seven times, in response to other questions, Jean-Pierre repeated that Biden's focus "is on the American people."
So it came as a bit of a surprise on Wednesday morning, when Jean-Pierre announced that "President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to the UK (Northern Ireland) and the Republic of Ireland from April 11-14."
It's unclear how this underscores Biden's focus on the American people.
Melanie Arter contributed an April 6 article featuring White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre asking questions about the trip. She went on to note that Biden would not be attending the coronation of King Charles (Jill Biden would attend), though she didn't mention that no U.S. president has ever attended the coronation of a British royal. Jones ramped up the nastiness (with added nitpicking) in an April 7 article headlined "With All That's Going On in the World, Why Is Biden Going to Ireland?":
"How does a Biden trip to Ireland help counter China or end the war in Ukraine?" a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday:
"So, let me just say a couple of things," Jean-Pierre responded:
"The President is certainly looking forward to taking this trip to Northern Ireland and also the UK" (she meant Northern Ireland, which is in the UK, and the Republic of Ireland).
Jones pushed her anti-Biden partisanship again over the trip in an April 11 article:
With all that's going on in this chaotic world, President Joe Biden is taking time to visit Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, and then the Republic of Ireland. The trip, which mixes business with pleasure, begins today.
As of Monday, the White House could not or would not say which members of his family will accompany the elderly president on a sentimental visit to his ancestral home.
Jones added in an update: "Biden, asked if his family will accompany him on trip, said, "Just two of my family members who hadn’t been there before." No names given." All of these articles, mind you, were presented as "news" despite Jones' blatantly partisan attacks.
Once actually on the trip, Jones' partisan sniping continued in an April 13 article:
The American president waxed sentimental about his Irish roots on Wednesday at a community gathering in Dundalk, Ireland, saying, "coming here feels like coming home."
"Well, it feels like home," Biden said at the beginning of his speech.
"I said last time I was here, in a sense I know why my ancestors and many of your relatives left during the famine. And -- but you know, when you're here, you wonder why anyone would ever want to leave. No, I mean it, so it's good to be back."
Biden noted that he brought along his sister Valerie and his son Hunter on a trip that is more personal than policy-dominated: "Stand up, guys," he said. "I'm proud of you."
There was nitpicking, of course; Patrick Goodenough spent an April 14 article bashing Biden for getting the name of a rugby team wrong:
The “All Blacks” is the nickname for New Zealand’s national rugby union team, one of the world’s best.
The “Black and Tans” was the nickname for British police recruits, often notoriously brutal, who were sent to Ireland to bolster the local force during the guerilla war against British rule just over a century ago.
President Biden evidently got the two mixed up during his nostalgia tour of the Republic of Ireland this week.
In Dublin on Thursday, National Security Council senior director for Europe Amanda Sloat was asked by a reporter whether Biden was aware that he had misspoken when he referred to the “Black and Tans.”
“I think for everyone in Ireland who is a rugby fan, it was incredibly clear that the President was talking about the All Blacks, and Ireland's defeat of the New Zealand team in 2016,” she said.
“Did he realize that right after he said it, do you know?” Sloat was asked.
“You know, I think it was it was clear what the president was referring to,” she said. “It was certainly clear to his cousin sitting next to him who had played in that match.”
Addressing Irish lawmakers in Dublin on Thursday, Biden again mentioned Irish rugby victories against New Zealand, but this time referred to the “All Blacks.”
In that same address, Biden said he would rather have his children play rugby than American football.
That last comment, by the way, drew its own article, headlined "Biden Disparages American Football in Address to Irish Parliament." Its author was anonymous but was mostly likely written by editor Terry Jeffrey, lover of all things football.
Such blatant editorializing and partisan targeting presented as "news" is a big reason why CNS' readership was in decline, which likely played a role in the MRC shutting it down six days later. Indeed, Jeffrey's final CNS column on April 19 -- the day before it was shut down -- ranted at Biden for "once again exposing his radical idiocy by opposing legislation that would prevent biological men from competing in women's sports at federally funded institutions." He concluded by huffing: "If Congress passes the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act and President Biden vetoes it, Biden would be guilty of an unjust act that violates the natural law. His victims would be women and girls in schools all across America."
The next day, Jeffrey was effectively out of a job -- in part, presumably, because even its Media Research Center parent got tired of all the lame nitpicking.