Joseph Biden’s career is chock-full of career-threatening gaffes--had they been committed by a conservative. But last week was exceptional, even for Joe.
Telling a largely black audience that Republicans want to “put y’all back in chains” was a burst of verbal flatulence the media just couldn’t deodorize. Hence, the week’s other stinkers also got noticed: He forgot what state he was talking to, what century we’re in, and that Paul Ryan isn’t a governor, but a member of Congress. Small things, maybe, but not as small as the “e” that’s not at the end of potato.
But there’s something more important than the crazy uncle’s belated unmasking. There’s glimmering awareness of the professional courtesy that’s sheltered his career. Does the public know the man’s a walking grenade, threatening small explosions at any moment? Not till the closing months of his second campaign for Vice President they didn't.
It’s time for a reckoning, or at least some soul searching.
Does the media ever look in the mirror? Like wonder why they labored to excommunicate Dan Qualye from respectable society for a few things like a zinger of a debate insult by Lloyd Bentsen and misspelling potato? Or the decency of their nuclear assault on Sarah Palin, grasping for anything--anything—damaging they could scream about?
Meanwhile, this dufus has bumbled for decades in a praised senate career and become Vice President of the United States, while the professional media looked respectfully away from his stream of idiocy. Only now, under the glare of ubiquitous scrutiny, social media and a hotly contested presidential race, they can’t quite keep him under wraps.
So, kind of like Obama being forced to drop Van Jones for various extremist outrages-- some insane, others just Marxist--before the national media even deigned to report a controversy existed, suddenly there's talk of whether Ole' Joe should be dumped.
Replace the Vice President?! But there haven’t been any dog piles or death watches! Nothing of the kind that Bush Secretaries Don Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez, and John Ashcroft endured, and before them, Regan aides Ed Meese, James Watt, Ann Burford, and others.
Certainly there’s been nothing like the extended crucifixion Palin and Quayle endured.
Even after Biden’s last unchained performance, the AP stoically stuck to the script, insisting the Obama team “sees Biden as one of its most valuable assets.” Seriously, you can google it. But further stumbles forced the president to send Biden home to his room.
Do reporters ever ponder that Republican presidents, from Ike to Ford, Reagan, and the Bushes are portrayed as stupid, clumsy, or out of touch, but Democratic presidents seldom if ever get that treatment? Are Republicans just dumber? Or are reporters in chains to their ideology?
Why did we know within days of citizen Joe the Plumber’s query to candidate Obama that Joe had tax and child support issues? But it took four years, to 2012 to learn the best-selling memoir of the president of the United States is largely fiction!
Most the public still doesn’t know the original “birther” was Barack Obama, whose literary agency publicized him for a decade in printed and online information as a Kenyan-born Harvard Law grad. That entry was quietly edited a few weeks into the promising senator’s presidential bid. The dogs of the press are sitting and heeling for him on that story. (Disclaimer: I believe the president was born in Hawaii. I also believe he misrepresented that fact for academic and professional advantage before the presidency was a consideration.)
Why did the national media camp in Crawford Texas for weeks to amplify and glorify the bereaved, slightly deranged Cindy Sheehan, but the parents of Border Agent Brian Terry, slain in Obama’s monstrously conceived Operation Fast and Furious, grieve in obscurity?
How is it that an international scandal involving illegal gun sales forced by the administration to drug lords, with hundreds of dead Mexicans and a dead US Border agent, has been virtually blacked out by the national media? When Obama forced their hand by declaring executive privilege over hundreds of thousands of documents sought by Congress, they grudgingly reported that fact, with a cramped summary of the previously unreported scandal for their uninformed viewers. Follow up since then has been essentially nil.
It seems futile to scream about the eternal double standard. Screaming has cost me media friends. Yet, it’s impossible to forget or ignore. For all the proliferation of new media, the major broadcast networks and papers still paint the baseline of general public awareness. And that’s a problem.