Fear and loathing on DR

When I read an article like “Bidens rejse tilbage til fremtiden,” which appeared on DR’s website this afternoon, it isn’t the obvious bias that bothers me.  It’s that there are only two possible ways that kind of bias can find its way through a newsroom and into publication as a news item, rather than an opinion piece, and they’re both horrible.

One way is that either a naïve editor assigned a naïve journalist to go out and “get a sense of the real Joe Biden” (in this example) by talking to Biden supporters, and was so wowed by the unsurprising results  that he or she then cried out, “Stop the press! Joe Biden’s supporters think Joe Biden’s a pretty swell guy!  We’re running with this on the front page, and damn the consequences!”

The other way is that a cynical and partisan editor grabs one of his reliable underlings and says, “I need a thousand-word tongue bath of Joe Biden, stat!”—and the underling does just that.

Those are the choices DR leaves us with when they run a story like this as straight news: either they’re the most gullible saps that ever took pen to paper (or pixel to screen), or they’re actively working to promote Joe Biden.

I’m gonna go with the latter.

Steffen Kretz is DR’s Chief US Correspondent and obviously no naif, but in this case at least he seems content to have passed along to DR’s readers whatever Biden’s press office and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) fed him.

The Local Color

Tom Owen, owner of Hank’s Hoagies, is cited in the article—and appears in a short video—telling us what a great and down-to-earth guy Biden is.  “He’s just a down to earth guy,” he says.  He’s apparently one of Scranton’s reliable sources: here’s the Indian Daily Times quoting him, here’s the French website Challenges doing it.  Do you think Danish, Indian, and French journalists independently found their way to the same inscrutable Scranton source? 

(At least the Indian article points out in its closing line: “On North Washington Avenue, near Biden’s former home, a large Trump flag flies at the entrance to Tom Moran’s house. It is a stark reminder that, even in Scranton, Biden will have to fight hard.”  The French article even gets a pro-Trump quote from Tom Moran.  Steffen Kertz seems to have missed the press pool visit to the Moran household.)

Grace McGregor, also cited in the article and featured in a couple of the embedded videos, has also been discovered by other intrepid reporters, probably because her family owns the steel mill where Biden announced his plan to save the American economy (in fairness, Kretz at least acknowledges that much).  I found an interesting article she wrote herself in support of the Democrat candidate for president, whom she considers “a scrappy, tenacious person that is always going to fight for all of America… not just the people who support her.”  Her?  Whoops, my bad: that’s Grace McGregor explaining why she was the Scranton delegate for Hillary Clinton in 2016.  And now, as the article acknowledges, she’s a delegate for Joe Biden.  The woman is clearly a Democrat operative, but Kertz somehow neglects to mention that.

In exploring Joe’s rootedness to Scranton, we’ve so far heard from a guy who owns and runs a sandwich shop when he’s not wowing international media with tales of what a regular guy Joe Biden is, and a Democrat party apparatchik whose family steel mill makes a nice background for a Biden speech.  But working class people don’t usually have their own family steel mills, and most sandwich shop owners don’t have life-sized cardboard cutouts of Joe Biden standing in their shops.

Maybe Kretz sensed more authenticity was needed, so he introduces two other locals:

Samtidig taler Joe Biden til en anden afgørende gruppe vælgere: De veluddannede kvinder i forstæderne, som i stort omfang fravalgte Trump og republikanerne ved valget til Kongressen i 2018.

– Joe Biden stiller op for at redde nationens sjæl, for at hjælpe middelklassen og for at standse al den splittelse, som har delt USA, siger Rosemary Opshinsky, som jeg møder i et nydeligt forstadskvarter udenfor Scranton.

– Han vil bringe integritet og værdighed tilbage til Det Hvide Hus og genetablere respekten omkring USA ude i verden. Han er et ordentligt menneske, siger hendes nabo, Mary Ann Cornell.

Rosemary and Mary Ann are interesting women, because unlike Tom Owen and Grace McDonald, they aren’t cited by any other news outlets.  None at all.  I find it interesting that Kertz doesn’t name the pleasant suburban neighborhood outside Scranton where he met these women, or how he met them, or who the hell they are.  Google’s no help: they’re essentially anonymous.  There’s no video of them embedded in the article.

Quite possibly these are in fact suburban Pennsylvania women that Steffen Kertz just bumped into while wandering around some pleasant suburb.  Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume they are.  Very well.  They’re two women he met in a nice suburb.  Since he identifies them as neighbors, presumably they live near one another, possibly even in that nice little suburb.  But it would be nice to know a little more about them if he’s going to make them representatives of the “well educated women of the suburbs.”

And given the background on his other two sources, it would be nice to know whether they had any connections to Democrat organizations.

The Fear Factor

The subhead of this article is “Donald Trump fik den modstander til valget, han frygter mest: En Washington-veteran, som på mange måder er præsidentens diametrale modsætning.”

Donald Trump himself is on the record has having said he thought it would have been harder to run against Bernie Sanders, in an article whose title says it quite plainly: “Trump: ‘I Was All Set For Bernie — Communist,’ But Biden Will Be Easier.

Steffen Kertz knows better.  In a section with the heading “Trump frygter Biden,” there are five paragraphs that need to be addressed individually:

Biden er med andre ord Trumps diametrale modsætning, og alt tyder på, at Biden er den modkandidat, som præsidenten nødigst ville op imod til november.

Kertz is relying on his previous section here (“Trumps modsætning”), where he does an unconvincing job of making the case that an old white man who likes to present himself as a man of the people and who’s been in the public spotlight since the 1970s is the exact opposite of an old white man who likes to present himself as a man of the people and has been in the public spotlight since the 1970s.  They’re ideologically different, obviously, but opposites?  In this very same article, Kertz notes that when describing his great economic plan at the McGregor family steel mill, “her lovede Biden blandt andet at skabe millioner af velbetalte job ved at tvinge den amerikanske stat til at købe amerikanske varer – Made In America – og ved at sætte gang i byggeri af veje, broer, jernbaner, lufthavne for milliarder af dollars.”  He wants to create millions of jobs by forcing the American state to buy American and by rebuilding the infrastructure.  Looks like Joe is plagiarizing again!

But what exactly points toward Biden being the candidate Trump least wanted to face in November?  Where’s the evidence for that assertion?

Hele rigsretssagen i begyndelsen af året handlede dybest set om en plan udtænkt i Det Ovale Kontor, som – hvis den var lykkedes – efter al sandsynlighed ville have sværtet Joe Biden til og ødelagt hans chancer for at blive det demokratiske partis præsidentkandidat.

As the lawyers like to shout on American law shows, “Assumes facts not in evidence!”  Or as your average down-to-earth Scranton resident might say more succinctly: “Bullshit.”

This is DR’s Chief US Correspondent stating in a news article that the impeachment trial was at bottom about a plan conceived in the Oval Office to knock Joe Biden out of commission and ruin his chances of becoming the Democrat candidate for president.

That’s what the Democrats said, in any case, and that’s good enough for Steffen Kertz and DR.  The only ones who disagreed with this assessment were the Trump administration, the Republicans in Congress, and about half of the American public—you know: morons.

Grundlæggende var anklagen, at Hunter Biden – Bidens søn – havde handlet ulovligt, og at Joe Biden havde dækket over det, mens han var vicepræsident.

This accusation was indeed made, just as an accusation against Trump was made.  If we’re going to accept accusations against Trump at face value, even when they ultimately fail, why aren’t we going to accept accusations made against the Bidens at face value?

Planen blev som bekendt afsløret, og kun et snævert republikansk flertal i Senate reddede Trump fra at blive afsat.

Kertz says that the alleged plan to accuse Biden of covering up his son’s alleged misdeeds was “revealed.”  (Whether or not Biden had indeed covered up his son’s alleged misdeeds, and whether or not his son had indeed committed misdeeds, were curiously enough never investigated by the House, and Kertz shows no interest in these questions.)  He also says that “only a narrow Republican majority in the Senate saved Trump.”

Both statements are true.

Another way of stating the same facts: “A party-line vote in the Democrat-majority House passed two articles of impeachment against Trump, and a party-line vote in the Republican-majority Senate acquitted the president.”

Men hele forløbet siger noget om, at Joe Biden er den sværeste modstander set fra Trumps perspektiv.

Another way of looking at the way the impeachment played out would be to say that Biden’s son’s questionable activities got an awful lot of national attention they might not otherwise have received, thereby weakening the Biden candidacy.  (There are in fact a lot of Americans who find that a Vice President with a son who knocks up a stripper and then stiffs her on child support, even as he’s playing around with billion dollar deals in Ukraine and China, may owe the country a word or two of explanation.)

In fact, there are a lot of ways of looking at things that suggest Biden is not the candidate Trump fears the most – for example, the fact that he’s been hiding from the public for most of his run as the presumptive nominee, and the fact that he’s got a terrific knack for jamming his foot way the hell down his throat whenever he does open his mouth.

But no worries: Kretz is on it!

Mentalt klar?

Men Joe Biden er også en kandidat med åbenlyse svagheder.

Hans alder gør det rimeligt at stille spørgsmål ved hans mentale skarphed, og det gør hans modstandere næsten dagligt.

Her hjælper det ikke meget, at Biden er kendt for at falde over ordene, når han taler, og af og til virkelig jokke i spinaten verbalt. En del af bøvleriet skyldes formentlig, at Biden stammer og løbende forsøger at finde ord, som han ikke falder over, når han taler.

Men hans mange ord-bøffer er en gave til hans modstandere.

Biden har allerede valgt sin afløser

Til gengæld har Joe Biden håndteret alders-spørgsmålet ret direkte ved at signalere, at han kun stiller op til en enkelt fire-årig periode som præsident.

At han altså er en overgangskandidat. Derfor har hans valg af den 55-årige senator Kamala Harris som vicepræsidentkandidat også stor vægt, fordi hun dermed bliver ansigtet på næste generations leder for det demokratiske parti.

Translation: “Joe’s always said a lot of stupid shit because he’s a terrible speaker, which is maybe why he had all those plagiarism problems back in the day.  And that’s a gift to his opponents.  But no worries!  He swears he’ll only serve one term (if he survives it), and he’s picked a veep who all the kids are just crazy about, so you can vote for him with confidence that even though he’s a doddering old crank who thought ‘No malarkey!’ was a catchy campaign slogan, there’s an exciting kid of 55 ready to step right into his shoes.”

And That’s That

That’s your deep dive into Joe Biden from DR’s Chief US Correspondent: Joe’s a regular guy, with deep roots in the town he left when he was ten years old, who wants to accomplish all the things Trump had accomplished before the pandemic hit, but he wants to do it in a regular and down to earth way without dividing the country the way that idiot Trump and his white supremacist supporters have divided it.

And when Steffen Kretz say Biden’s a regular guy, he means, you know, a regular guy who’s been in Washington since before most people alive today were born and who first ran for president 32 years ago.  Just like all the regular people you meet all the time at the gas stations and discount stores where you regular people hang out.