A general overview of Biden's first press conference
From the very first moment of Biden's first press conference, one could tell that the days of Trump press conferences were gone. You remember those days, don't you? Gotcha questions, lectures, fights, interruptions, blatant disrespect — not from Trump, but from the media. It was they who created a sense of chaos and divisiveness, not Trump. It was very different this time. The media were on their best behavior, but even they couldn't protect Biden from himself. Other posts here address more substantive issues raised in the press conference. This is just about style points for both Biden and the media.
Speaking of the first moment, Kayleigh McEnany noticed something striking about the press:
Right out of the gate, the White House press corps stands for President Biden.— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) March 25, 2021
Would have been nice if they would have routinely shown that level of respect for President Trump. I hope this is not indicative of softball questions to come!
Her hope was bound to be disappointed because the media's softballs were something else entirely. Before that, though, Biden made a few statements. To this biased observer, it was obvious that Sleepy Joe had been given an infusion of something to wake him up. Maybe it was just a strong cup of coffee, but his dilated black pupils were unnerving. This meme, which predates the press conference, makes the point:
His eyes also reminded me of a silly shtick in the TV show Supernatural, which had two brothers fighting all the evil things out there, including demons. To demonstrate that someone was possessed by a garden-variety demon, the show invariably had their eyes go totally black — kind of like Joe's:
Biden then took questions. He never looked at the room. It was obvious that he was picking the names on a written list. Moreover, when the chosen reporter asked his question, Biden immediately had in front of him the appropriate notes to answer that question. Suspicious much? As I'll discuss below, though, even reading straight from his notes didn't prevent Biden from babbling and saying strange things.
As is traditional, Biden asked his first question of an AP reporter. "Zeke" asked a politely phrased question about Biden's challenges on "immigration reform, gun control, voting rights, climate change," when facing "stiff united opposition" from Republicans. Joe responded by boasting about his COVID successes — all of which were solely due to Trump's efforts — and then babbled on.
The Emmy for most partisan, pandering question went to NPR's Yamiche Alcindor, a notorious activist pretending to be a journalist. While the question was ostensibly about overcrowding at the border, she led with this:
You've said over and over again that immigrants shouldn't come to this country right now. This isn't the time to come. That message is not being received. Instead, the perception of you that got you elected as a moral decent man is the reason why a lot of immigrants are coming to this country and entrusting you with unaccompanied minors.
Biden gratefully accepted her characterization of him as "the nice guy." You can read here Biden's myriad dishonest statements about the situation at the border. After he'd spoken for a while, a mixture of lies, crude attacks on Trump, and confusing statements, Biden suddenly stopped and said:
Am I giving you too long an answer, because if you don't want the detail. No, no, but I mean, I don't know how much detail you want about immigration. Maybe I'll stop there.
That's totally compos mentis. (Sarcasm -- or as a friend said, it sounds like compost mentis.)
When the subject of the filibuster came up, Biden randomly announced, "I believe that we should go back to the position on the filibuster that existed just when I came to the United States Senate 120 years ago." He did not seem to be joking. The filibuster came into being in 1806, so 120 years (taking us back to 1901) was completely random. Media outlets are now trying to play it as a joke, but nobody laughed:
A real attempt at a joke that fell perfectly flat was Biden's bizarre attempt to show that the filibuster is so evil that it doesn't even relate to Jim Crow; instead, it's more closely associated with Jim Crow's evil older cousin, "Jim Eagle."
Despite the left's tender, loving respect, he was offended (and incoherent) when one reporter dared ask him about his running for re-election:
Look, I don't know where you guys come from, man. I've never been able to travel. I'm a great respecter of fate. I've never been able to plan four and a half, three and a half years ahead for certain.
Biden did take care to avoid any rough handling. Notably, he did not call on Fox's Peter Doocy, who might actually have asked a real question with a challenging follow-up.
Ominously, though, when asked if he thought he'd be running against Trump in 2024, he said, "I have no idea whether there'll be a Republican Party." Given the Democrats' efforts to jettison the filibuster and create permanent one-party rule, that was a worrisome statement.
At the end of it all, even Chris Wallace, whose disgraceful handling of the first presidential debate helped leverage Biden into the White House, found the press conference disappointing and inadequate:
Fox News’ Chris Wallace: "I was also struck by the fact that it seemed on every foreign policy question... [Joe Biden] went to his briefing book... and was reading obviously White House guidance, White House talking points. Covering Ronald Reagan for 6 years, I never saw that." pic.twitter.com/nZOcJw6Laa— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 25, 2021
Otherwise, as Thomas Lifson said, it was a boring press conference, with obsequious media and a man robotically reading from his notes, except when he wandered off in confusion. The most exciting thing about the press conference, if exciting is the right word, is the frisson of fear every sane person should have felt knowing that Biden is the most powerful man in America and that the Fourth Estate (and, in a way, Fifth Column) will do anything to keep him propped up.
Image: Biden's first press conference. YouTube screen grab.