As Joe Biden takes office, news organizations largely run by coastal elite liberals will be under a microscope as media watchdogs are eager to see if the vitriol from the press will carry over from the Trump years, or if the Democratic administration will receive the fawning coverage of the Obama years.
Following four years of President Trump stirring the pot and calling out the left-leaning mainstream media at every turn, early indications point to the latter.
Already, we’ve seen a Biden adviser thank MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle for her “advocacy” and “help,” Twitter censor potentially damning stories about Biden’s family, glowing features on incoming Vice President Kamala Harris, the Washington Post celebrate the return of “reality-grounded” briefings and CNN on-screen chyrons drop the snarky tone used to cover the president over the past four years – and Biden hasn’t even slept at the White House yet.
CNN PULLS COMBATIVE QUESTIONER JIM ACOSTA FROM WHITE HOUSE BEAT WITH BIDEN SET TO TAKE OFFICE
CNN’s David Chalian said Tuesday that the side lights on the National Mall’s reflecting pool are like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America,” anchors Jake Tapper and Don Lemon appeared giddy after Tapper wrapped an interview with Biden and Harris and correspondent Shimon Prokupecz tweeted, “Let the healing begin. We have needed this,” on the eve of Inauguration Day.
NBC’s Chuck Todd was recently called out on his own show for ignoring the Hunter Biden controversy during the 2020 presidential election and New York Times editor Lauren Wolfe was ridiculed on social media Tuesday for hyping the arrival of Biden at Joint Base Andrews.
“I have chills,” she tweeted, leading some to recall the famous remark by then-MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews that he’d gotten a “thrill up [his] leg” hearing an Obama campaign speech in 2008.
Then-New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny famously asked President Obama early in his presidency what “enchanted” him the most about the job. The question even drew a smirk from Obama himself and is remembered as a microcosm of the way the press took it easy on the Democratic media darling.
NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck expects similar treatment of Biden.
“Zeleny’s enchanted question will always be near the top of softest questions of all time, so it will be tough to beat. But they’ll certainly try with questions asking him in 100 days if the presidency has been harder than he’s realized,” Houck told Fox News.
CNN’S JIM ACOSTA ROASTED FOR SAYING COVERING TRUMP WAS ‘NONSTOP NATIONAL EMERGENCY,’ ‘MIGHT MERIT HAZARD PAY’
“They might ask him how much he’s changed during these 100 days, whether he’s more deeply fallen in love with America, what it means to restore America’s support among elites,” Houck continued. “But most of all, take whatever softballs one might consider for Biden and amplify it by at least ten for those that Vice President Harris will receive. ABC, CNN, and PBS, to name a few, should have an ongoing competition to see who will be the administration’s biggest suck-up.”
CNN has already reassigned now-former White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who spent four years peppering Trump and members of his administration with aggressive questions that were considered by many as grandstanding. Critics feel removing Acosta from the White House is a sign the hyper-partisan network is preparing to take it easy on the Biden administration.
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall feels the Biden administration provides the traditional media a “great opportunity to recalibrate itself and return to the days when the reportorial balance was the standard and a presumed sense of objectivity was to be expected,” but he thinks most reporters will simply praise the Democratic president at every turn.
“The media generally fawned over President Obama and then bashed Trump at most opportunities. But Biden is not Obama or Trump, so here is the opening for the media to consciously pull back from journalistic activism and go where the facts of the Biden administration lead. Sadly, it appears already that the mainstream media is not willing to take this look in the mirror and cover the Biden administration with careful scrutiny,” McCall told Fox News.
FELLOW ARMY VETERAN PARNELL DEFENDS REP. MAST AFTER ‘GROSS’ SMEAR BY CNN’S TAPPER: ‘BELOW THE BELT’
He said the storyline being created by the press is less about what Biden is doing than what Trump did or didn’t do.
“The Biden narrative is designed at every step as a counter to the Trump agenda, with the presumption that Biden’s steps are the correct ones, even before there is ample time to fully assess their success,” McCall continued. “It appears that the traditional media will give Biden’s administration a very soft ride and little scrutiny. That’s not necessarily because Biden might be doing a great job, but because he can’t be criticized without possibly putting the Trump administration in a retrospective favorable light.”
Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson echoed the theory that coverage of Biden will be designed to further tarnish Trump.
“Media coverage in a Biden administration will have a consistent structure: Biden is responsible for everything that goes right, and Trump is to blame for everything that goes wrong,” Jacobson told Fox News.
LIVE UPDATES FROM FOX NEWS ON THE BIDEN INAUGURATION
While some are concerned that the Biden administration won’t be thoroughly held to account by the mainstream media, others are worried that censorship of conservatives will only intensify.
The tech industry began cracking down on rhetoric from Trump and many of his supporters following the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Twitter permanently banned the president, and Parler – a nonpartisan social media platform popular with conservatives – was swiftly banished by Amazon Web Services. As Biden takes office, liberal reporters at CNN and other progressive outlets have been calling for additional censorship such as cable providers potentially pulling conservative content off the air.
The Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon runs a satirical news organization that regularly pokes fun at the mainstream media, which he closely watches as part of his role. Recent Babylon Bee comical headlines include, “Depressed Brian Stelter Spends All Day Hitting Refresh On Trump’s Twitter Page,” and “BLM Celebrates MLK’s Birthday By Tearing Down A Statue Of Him.”
While Dillon’s site is intended to provide humor, he was dead serious when cautioning about additional censorship that could happen during the Biden administration.
PARLER CEO ‘CONFIDENT’ PLATFORM WILL RETURN BY MONTH’S END AFTER WEEKEND OF POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS
“The left has been reinvigorated by Trump’s departure from office and the violent misconduct of some of his supporters at the Capitol. They see an opportunity to tighten their grip on power by taking more control of public discourse,” Dillon told Fox News.
“The media is echoing calls from Democrats in Congress for more censorship — under the guise of community standards enforcement — and Big Tech is out there happily doing their bidding,” Dillon said. “What happened with Trump and Parler is just the beginning, and I have no doubt that the media will make it their goal during the Biden administration to see to it that public opinion supports Big Tech tyranny. They’re already working overtime to convince us it’s all for our own good.”
Conservative advocate and podcast host Kyle Kashuv feels it all boils down to ratings and web traffic, which will result in the mainstream media treating Biden and fellow Democrats with kid gloves.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“I’d like to say the media will begin to repair their shattered credibility among the American people — made indisputable by their coordinated downplaying of the leftist riots over the summer that set dozens of cities on fire, destroyed thousands of small businesses, caused billions in damages, and left innocent Americans dead,” Kashuv told Fox News when asked what he expects from the press once Biden takes office.
“For four years the media gaslit that America is evil, that Americans are deplorable, and that the Constitution is a dangerous document,” Kashuv continued. “Going forward, the media can choose clicks or conscience — they’re going for clicks.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.