Friday, February 09, 2024

What I remember most about Biden's fateful press conference

Maybe you saw Joe Biden's press conference last night where he tried (and failed) to get ahead of the flak he is going to receive after the report of the special council investigation into the finding of classified documents at his home. 

The report concluded that Biden willfully kept and shared classified documents, but stopped short of recommending criminal charges (which was the part that Biden focussed on in the press conference). Biden didn't have to hold a press conference about it, but somebody somewhere thought it was a good idea.

It wasn't an edifying experience. The President came across as a doddering, bumbling old man (well, he's 81), poor at communication and unable to parry opponents' verbal attacks and to think on his feet. The report itself described Biden as "a well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory". Biden admitted to being well-meaning and elderly, but insisted that his memory was fine, countering with the confusing non-sequitur, "My memory is so bad ... I let you speak". He then went on to describe Sisi the president of Mexico (not Egypt), and to confuse "the public" with "the press", among other gaffes.

It was pretty embarrassing, and even Democrats have been calling it "awful" and "brutal". Fox News went away with new ammunition against him ("Biden raises even more questions about cognitive health after disastrous press conference"). What Trump will make of it is anyone's guess. Whoever decided it was a good idea to put Biden in front of a live press conference is probably handing in his resignation as you read this. 

But the thing that really got me about the press conference was the way the press yelled and harangued him. After each of Biden's answers, the protocol seemed to be that whoever can shout fastest and loudest gets the next question, the result being a cacophony of importunate yells and ill-mannered bellows. Biden clearly had problems telling what questions were being asked and by whom, and frankly so would anyone.

Could they not have a hands-up or a numbering system of some sort? Wouldn't that be a bit more civilized? Biden's performance may have embarrassing, but the press' was even more so. 

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