op-ed

PIERS MORGAN: Biden’s attempt to muzzle the US media is a desperate move  

It’s the kind of thing that regularly happens in Russia, China or North Korea.

When journalists stray too far above their totalitarian-controlled station and dare to hold their political leaders to any form of proper account, they get a visit or phone call from shady Government officials.

In the covert conversations, the errant journalists are informed that their entirely accurate and justified criticism is in fact totally wrong and unjustified, and the ‘truth’ is that everything is going fantastically well in the country thanks to the masterful leadership.

The tone of these messages is polite but firm, with just a hint of menace.

The journalists are left in no doubt there may be ‘unfortunate repercussions’ should they decide to resist the directive to ‘re-calibrate’ their coverage of the regime.

Journalists in the United States are allowed to be as critical of Governments as they wish without fear of being killed for what they say or write. Nor should they ever have to worry about being lent on by Government officials to censor their criticisms. Yet that’s exactly what’s been happening in the past week (Biden speaks alongside Vice President Kamala Harris during a press conference in the State Dining Room at the White House on November 6)

Of course, the usual consequence of these visits and calls is that the journalists fall back in line and start peddling utter bullsh*t about the glorious successes of the Great Leader which are doing so much to enrich the lives of their thankful people.

And so, bit by bit, freedom of speech is suppressed – and democracy dies.

In those despotic countries, I have some sympathy with the journalists because if they don’t do as they’re told and rein back on their critiques, it might cost them their lives like many of their co-workers over the years.

But America is not a totalitarian state or communist hellhole.

It’s supposed to be the land of the free with a Constitution which ferociously protects freedom of speech and expression.

Journalists in the United States are allowed to be as critical of Governments as they wish without fear of being killed for what they say or write.

Nor should they ever have to worry about being lent on by Government officials to censor their criticisms.

Yet that’s exactly what’s been happening in the past week.

In a shocking report, CNN’s media correspondent Oliver Darcy revealed that three Biden administration officials – National Economic Council Deputy Directors David Kamin and Bharat Ramamurti, and Ports Envoy John Porcari – have been ‘briefing major newsrooms over the past week’ in an effort to persuade them to be more positive about the President.

Journalists, including TV news anchors, reporters and producers, were apparently told that contrary to their recent negative coverage, America’s in fantastic shape thanks to a booming economy.

In a shocking report, CNN’s media correspondent Oliver Darcy revealed that three Biden administration officials – National Economic Council Deputy Directors David Kamin and Bharat Ramamurti, and Ports Envoy John Porcari – have been ‘briefing major newsrooms over the past week’ in an effort to persuade them to be more positive about the President. Pictured is John Porcari 

Pictured left, is National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti (left) and National Economic Council Deputy Director David Kamin (right) 

Darcy said the conversations were ‘productive’ which I think can be safely translated to mean the journalists have now seen the light and agreed to rethink their negativity. We’ll see in the coming months.

But the mere fact these conversations have occurred at all is outrageous.

The lobbying followed an op-ed written by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank headlined: ‘The media treats Biden as badly as — or worse than — Trump. Here’s proof.’

Milbank said he had grown so concerned by what he perceived to be unfair bias against Biden that he commissioned Forge.ai, a data analytics unit of the information company FiscalNote, to look at 65 news websites of all political persuasions – many to the hard left, and right – and do a ‘sentiment analysis’ of 200,000 articles by searching for adjectives.

Milbank said the results established the media was indeed now treating Biden worse than it had Donald Trump and branded them a ‘tremendous indictment of the whole industry.’

He urged US journalists ‘to do soul searching and see what we are delivering to people’ and concluded: ‘My colleagues in the media are serving as accessories to the murder of democracy.’

Unsurprisingly, Milbank’s piece received immediate public approval from Biden’s White House chief of staff Ron Klain who re-tweeted it with the words: ‘Submitted for your consideration’ as if it should win an award.

That enthusiastic endorsement alone should have made Milbank shudder.

What journalist worth a grain of salt wants their own Government to campaign for them to win awards for sucking-up?

But undeterred, Milbank hit the airwaves to double down on his theory and in doing so, revealed the big flaw in his argument.

Appearing on CNN, he admitted that the media had in fact been more favorable to Biden than Trump before August.

Hmmm.

Journalists, including TV news anchors, reporters and producers, were apparently told that contrary to their recent negative coverage, America’s in fantastic shape thanks to a booming economy (Biden answers a question during his first press briefing in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 25)

Darcy said the conversations were ‘productive’ which I think can be safely translated to mean the journalists have now seen the light and agreed to rethink their negativity. We’ll see in the coming months. But the mere fact these conversations have occurred at all is outrageous. The lobbying followed an op-ed written by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank headlined: ‘The media treats Biden as badly as — or worse than — Trump. Here’s proof. (Then-President Trump holds a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House August 19, 2020 in Washington, DC) 

I wonder what it could have been that suddenly turned the media so negative against the President?

Oh wait, I remember.

August was when the cowardly leader of the free world threw millions of Afghanistan women to the Taliban wolves with his shocking sudden withdrawal of US troops, betraying American allies and costing many lives.

Then he authorized a disastrous botched drone strike on a terror suspect in Kabul that killed an innocent family of 10 including women and children.

In September, fresh mayhem erupted on the Southern border due to catastrophic mixed messaging from the Biden administration and Americans watched in horror as US border patrol horsemen charged into Haitian migrants. The President shamefully blamed his guards for the chaos, not himself for causing it.

In October, Biden tried to criminalize American parents who protested against their kids being taught woke agenda subjects like Critical Race Theory by encouraging the National Schools Board Association to disgracefully brand them ‘domestic terrorists.’

Later that month, America ground to a virtual shuddering halt with a vast flotilla of cargo ships stuck off the Californian coast, and a chronic shortage of food-delivery drivers causing empty shelves to appear right across the country.

This was a direct consequence of Biden’s reckless desire to behave like an all-year-round Santa Claus with his massive Covid-19 stimulus spending spree that sparked the inflation that provoked this crisis.

Prices surged, especially at the fuel pump, wages stagnated, and vast swathes of the American workforce quit their jobs because their President made it more economically beneficial for people to stay at home than go to work.

Yet far from the media giving Biden a tougher time than Trump over all this, as Milbank suggests, most of them went out of their way to defend him.

The lobbying followed an op-ed written by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank headlined: ‘The media treats Biden as badly as — or worse than — Trump. Here’s proof.’ Unsurprisingly, Milbank’s piece received immediate public approval from Biden’s White House chief of staff Ron Klain who re-tweeted (pictured) it with the words: ‘Submitted for your consideration’ as if it should win an award 

In an astonishingly tone-deaf op-ed piece in the Washington Post (they seem to specialize in them!) columnist Micheline Maynard said everyone should STFU with their whining about food running out, arguing that ‘spoilt’ and ‘nightmare’ Americans have grown greedy with expectations of speedy service and easy access to consumer products – expectations that have now been ‘crushed like a Styrofoam container in a trash compactor.’

This absurd response was similar to the pathetic free pass that much of the US media has given Biden after all his recent debacles.

And it highlights the problem with Milbank’s theory: it’s all complete hogwash.

You can make A.I. data studies ‘prove’ any theory you like when you base it on selective websites, many of which are at the extremities of news media, and trawl for damning ‘adjectives.’

And acclaimed pollster Nate Silver mocked the survey as ‘complete crap’, pointing out that many of the stories cited either had nothing directly to do with either man or were wrongly categorized because the adjective algorithm is totally misleading.

But I didn’t need him to tell me that.

I’ve been around the journalism block for nearly four decades now and I’ve never seen any US President get a worse or more sustained negative hammering from the media than Donald Trump.

From the day he won back in 2016, to the day he left office four years later, he was subjected to a relentless barrage of toxic one-sided poison from many news organizations that laughably tried to pretend they were impartial.

Much of it was deserved, not least for his appalling handling of the Covid pandemic and his risible and dangerous refusal to accept the result of the 2020 election which provoked the horrendous January 6 riots at the Capitol, but much of it was just hysterical nonsense.

The way the likes of CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times spent two years screaming 24/7 about ‘Russian Collusion’ – when, as Special Counsel Mueller found, no such collusion had happened – exposed their hyper-partisan bias and their obsession with trying to bring Trump down.

I wonder what it could have been that suddenly turned the media so negative against the President? Oh wait, I remember.  He authorized a disastrous botched drone strike on a terror suspect in Kabul that killed an innocent family of 10 including women and children (A damaged vehicle is at the site of the U.S. airstrike in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan)

In October, Biden tried to criminalize American parents who protested against their kids being taught woke agenda subjects like Critical Race Theory by encouraging the National Schools Board Association to disgracefully brand them ‘domestic terrorists.’  (Elicia Brand leads a crowd of angry parents and community members in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner after a Loudoun County School Board meeting)

The idea that Joe Biden has been exposed to anything like that level of savage negativity is for the birds.

The truth is that the mainstream media has bent over backwards to help him – by blatantly suppressing damaging stories in the run-up to the election, like his troubled son Hunter’s laptop escapades, and since he won, by virtually ignoring Biden Senior’s increasingly obvious and disconcerting cognitive issues.

So for him to now moan about an unsupportive media and order his goons to ‘have a word’ with the offending journalists, is as ridiculous as it’s disgraceful.

My only complaint about Biden’s media coverage is that it hasn’t been anywhere negative enough given the parlous state of the country right now and his shambolic leading role in it.

Remember that he came into office promising to fix Covid, restore democracy after the turbulent Trump years, and make America a country people could trust again.

Today, the US has just passed 50 million Covid cases and is surging towards a million deaths – both the highest numbers for any country in the world – and the new Omicron variant threatens to send much of the US back into tough restrictions.

So much for fixing it!

As for restoring democratic values and trust, Biden’s unilateral decision to throw Afghanistan under the bus looks increasingly like one of the worst foreign policy calls by any US president in modern history and ensured nobody trusts him as far as they can throw him.

The reason for Biden’s dreadful approval ratings isn’t a negative media, it’s because his appalling actions have turned the public negative against him.

And when he fell asleep during the COP climate change summit in Scotland last month, and had to be woken by an aide, it epitomized a president who appears to be asleep at the wheel.

Wake Up, Mr Biden – and stop trying to bully the media into lying to the American people about how badly you’re doing.  

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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