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Tag: biden press conference

Resolute Biden Touts Achievements, Promises To Reconnect With Voters

Washington (AFP) - Joe Biden sought to reset his presidency in a marathon press conference Wednesday, vowing to reconnect with voters in his second year and touting what he said were his unprecedented successes.

"Can you think of any other president that's done as much in one year?" Biden asked, ticking off the epic struggle against Covid-19 and trillions of dollars in government funding to save the US economy from pandemic fallout.

"I don't think there's been much on any incoming president's plate that's been a bigger menu than the plate I had given to me," the Democrat said. "The fact of the matter is, we got a lot done."

Speaking on the eve of the anniversary of his inauguration on January 20, 2021, Biden held only the second White House press conference of his presidency -- then surprised many by taking questions for almost two full hours.

At various times combative, joking and meandering into thoughtful musings on everything from the workings of Vladimir Putin's mind to Republican opponents, Biden brushed off criticism over his handling of the pandemic and soaring inflation.

Asked about his approval ratings, which have sunk into the low 40 percent area, Biden was curt.

"I don't believe the polls," he said.

Biden did acknowledge missteps in the 12 months since he took over from Donald Trump, saying it had been "a year of challenges."

These included that he "didn't anticipate" the ferocity of Republican obstruction to his agenda in Congress. On Covid testing capabilities, which continue to struggle to meet demand, he said "we should have done it quicker."

Biden likewise said he understood "frustration" over steadily rising prices, which he blamed on Covid-related supply chain issues.

Fighting inflation will be "hard and take a lot of work."

"It's going to be painful for a lot of people," he said, noting that high prices were being felt "at the gas pump, the grocery stores and elsewhere."

Ukraine Warning

On one of the most traumatic episodes of his presidency -- the chaotic and rushed final withdrawal from the 20-year long Afghanistan war -- Biden said flatly: "I make no apologies."

"There was no way to get out of Afghanistan after 29 years easily," he declared.

The press conference, which defied the widely shared image of Biden as shrinking from contact with the media, focused especially heavily on the looming crisis in Ukraine, where the United States is leading Western efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Russia's military posturing on the border.

Biden said he was ready to meet with Putin and bluntly warned the Kremlin leader that an attack on Ukraine would be "a disaster" for Russia.

However, Biden caused confusion when he appeared to suggest that a small-scale attack by the Russians would prompt much less pushback from the West. The White House quickly issued a statement clarifying that what he meant was that any military invasion would prompt a "severe" response, while non-military aggression, like paramilitary attacks, would be met with a "reciprocal" response.

'Getting Out More Often'

With a State of the Union speech to Congress set for March 1, Biden faces a rapidly diminishing period in which he can engineer a strategy to fight off a Republican comeback at midterm congressional elections this November.

Republicans are forecast to crush his party and take control of the legislature. That risks bringing two years of complete obstruction from Congress, likely including threats of impeachment and a slew of aggressive committee probes.

Trump, who continues to perpetuate the lie that he beat Biden in 2020 and seeks to undermine Americans' faith in their election system, is eyeing a possible attempt at another run at the White House in 2024.

Biden confirmed he wants to run for reelection with Kamala Harris as his vice president again. And he said that while Democrats proved unable to use their razor-thin congressional majority to pass two big priorities -- the Build Back Better social spending bill and election law reforms -- they could instead settle for passing "big chunks" of the failed legislation.

Above all, Biden emphasized his desire to leave the confines of the White House after a year featuring a decidedly light travel schedule.

"Number one: I am getting out of this place more often. I am going to go out and talk to the public," he said.

"I find myself in a situation where I don't get a chance to look people in the eye, both because of Covid and the situation in Washington," he said, describing how he wanted to "connect with people, let them take a measure of my sincerity."

Trump’s Propaganda Channel Confronts Biden’s New Reality

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Ask not for whom the world's tiniest violin plays — it plays for Fox News. Three months ago the network's hosts enjoyed unprecedented political power and privileged access to President Donald Trump, the subject of their propaganda. Now its employees are reduced to whining about President Joe Biden not calling on their correspondent during Thursday's press conference, as their lies on behalf of his predecessor's effort to steal the election draw a $1.6 billion lawsuit.

Fox's pity party launched roughly two minutes after the press conference concluded and remained a regular facet of the network's coverage of the event into Friday morning. Eleven different programs have combined to mention how Biden did not call on Fox White House correspondent Peter Doocy at least 24 times as of 10 a.m. ET, according to a Media Matters review. (Only two programs didn't mention the supposed snub during this time frame.) If you tuned into Fox during the network's 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m., or 10 p.m. hours on Thursday, or the 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 8 a.m., or 9 a.m. hours on Friday, you heard about it.

While the complaint is featured on "news" and "opinion" programs alike, their arguments are contradictory.

The "news"-side staffers claim that Doocy had reasonable questions that deserved a public response.

Doocy himself paged through a binder which he said included important questions "nobody else asked about" during an on-air appearance shortly after the press conference ended.

Fox anchor Dana Perino commented that if she were still working at the White House, as she did as President George W. Bush's press secretary, "I would have told the president to call on Peter Doocy," who she said had "good questions."

"Why make Peter Doocy a story, right? Just take his question and move on," she added, as her network geared up to make him a story.

Anchor Martha MacCallum likewise highlighted Doocy's "excellent questions, all ready to go," and lamented that he "was not given an opportunity to ask them," perhaps because other reporters had asked too many follow-ups.

Meanwhile, the network's right-wing "opinion" commentators are saying that a Fox News question would have sandbagged Biden in a way the supposedly "liberal" press refuses to do.

Jesse Watters called Biden "chicken" for not calling on Doocy at the end of a rant about how the reporters who did ask questions are "activists" who want Biden to "nuke the filibuster so we can drive home socialism."

Sean Hannity's complaint that Doocy didn't get to ask a question led to his observation that "none of the other reporters even dared to ask about the wind knocking Joe Biden down three times climbing up Air Force One" or "his struggles cognitively."

Even Trump himself got into the act, contrasting Doocy's plight with the "easy questions" Biden supposedly fielded from other reporters in an interview with Laura Ingraham.

"Mr. President, where was their Jim Acosta," Ingraham asked, referring to CNN's White House correspondent during the Trump years. "They would have Acosta in your face every day."

It goes without saying that normal news outlets do not do this.

Biden called on 10 reporters on Wednesday, meaning that many other journalists did not have the opportunity to ask him their questions. The president didn't call on The New York Times correspondent either, and somehow today's paper is not filled with complaints about it.

But of course, Fox isn't a normal news outlet.

The network spent four years operating as an extension of the Trump White House, allowing its commentators to moonlight as presidential advisers while its "news side" provided disgusting propaganda in support of his administration's most corrupt and authoritarian actions.

In the wake of Trump's defeat, top network executive Lachlan Murdoch openly described Fox's role as the "loyal opposition" to Biden's presidency. The network has subsequently purged insufficiently ideological "news"-side employees and filled up airtime with additional hours of right-wing commentary.

It's good that after years of hiding behind its "Fair and Balanced" tagline, Fox is now openly admitting that it operates as a right-wing propaganda network. But that makes the network's complaints about not getting privileged access all the more pathetic.

Meanwhile, reality is catching up to Fox.

As Doocy's daddy's morning show Fox & Friends was featuring complaints about him not getting to ask a question, news broke that Dominion Voting Systems had filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox. Dominion argued that the network, in repeatedly airing inaccurate claims that the company's voting machines had altered votes to rig the election for Biden, "sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process."

Fox's Dominion lies were part of the network's all-encompassing effort to support Trump's attempt to steal the election with fabricated claims of voter fraud.

Claims on Fox News that cast doubt or pushed conspiracy theories about Biden's victory

It's too soon to say whether Dominion will prevail. Fox said in a statement it would "vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court."

But it isn't the first time the network's overzealous Trump support has landed it in hot water. After Fox personalities repeatedly promoted false conspiracy theories about the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in a ghoulish attempt to defend Trump over Russian interference in the 2016 election, Rich's family sued.

After first claiming that the network would be vindicated in court, Fox eventually settled for a reported seven-figure sum, coming to terms shortly before scheduled depositions of Fox executives and stars.

Now the bill for Fox's lies and propaganda that helped spur an insurrection may have come due. And rather than face up to that reality, the network is busy complaining that the Biden administration is being very mean and unfair to Peter Doocy by not calling on him at a press conference.

White House Press Secretary Politely Dismisses Fox News Whining

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

During Joe Biden's two months as president, Fox News' Peter Doocy has been a fixture at White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's news conferences — and she has been much more polite with him than former President Donald Trump's press secretaries typically were with CNN reporters. But during a press briefing on Friday, Doocy claimed that Biden was marginalizing Fox News — and Psaki politely but firmly set him straight.

Doocy, the 33-year-old son of Fox News' Steve Doocy, claimed, "Any time that the president has an event where he is given a list of reporters to call on, Fox is the only member of the five-network TV pool that has never been on the list in front of the president. And I'm just curious if that is an official administration policy."

Psaki, who has taken questions from Doocy many times, responded, with a smile, "We're here having a conversation, aren't we? And do I take questions from you every time you come to the briefing room? Has the president taken questions from you since he came into office, yes or no?"

Doocy replied, "Only when I have shouted after he goes through his whole list. And the president has been very generous with his time with Fox. I'm just curious about this list that he is given."

The president has not ignored Fox News by any means, although he has been selective about who he talks to at the right-wing cable news outlet. Biden has welcomed tough questions from Fox News' conservative Chris Wallace. And Psaki mentioned that she will once again be appearing on Fox News Sunday, which Wallace hosts.

Psaki told Doocy, "I'm always happy to…. have a conversation with you even when we disagree. The president has taken your questions, and I'm looking forward to doing Fox News Sunday this Sunday for the third time in the last few months."

Biden Shreds Republican Deficit ‘Concern’ At Press Conference

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

After Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election, liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman predicted that the GOP "budget hawks" who had been silent during the Trump years would suddenly rediscover fiscal conservatism. And sure enough, now that Biden is president, Republicans are attacking him for increasing the United States' federal deficit.

Biden addressed GOP grandstanding about the deficit during a news conference on Thursday, pointing out that Republicans in Congress weren't worried about the deficit when they passed the costly Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.

Biden said of Republicans, "Did you hear them complain when they passed the close-to-$2-trillion Trump tax cut, with 83 percent going to the top one percent? Did you hear them talk about that at all?"

Many Republicans in Congress have been vehemently critical of the American Rescue Plan, complaining that the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief/economic stimulus package that Biden recently signed into law will add way too much to the federal deficit. Biden, at the news conference, commented that Republicans are most likely to complain about federal spending when it benefits "ordinary people."

With a mocking tone in his voice, Biden told reporters, "I love the fact that they found this whole idea of concern about the federal budget. It's kind of amazing. When the federal budget is saving people's lives, they don't think it's such a good idea."

Here are some responses to Biden's comments that have been posted on Twitter.

Fox News Whines Because Doocy Couldn't Ask Biden About Covid 'Conspiracy'

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Immediately after President Joe Biden's first official press conference, Fox News had a complaint that now even some mainstream voices are covering as a storyin and of itself: The president did not call on network correspondent Peter Doocy.

The problem is that Doocy is not really part of a "news" organization at all. Fox News is instead the linchpin of a right-wing entertainment complex, while its own CEO Lachlan Murdoch has called the network the "loyal opposition" to the new administration. Fox also purged a number of its arguably legitimate journalists following the 2020 election, in addition to cutting down its "news side"in favor of more right-wing opinion programming, and would rather stir up cultural grievances than discuss serious national issues.

Furthermore, it is now clear that Doocy would've used such an opportunity to ask Biden about a running set of conspiracy theories from the network. And even besides that, Fox's own running spin on other key issues still filtered through in the questions from other reporters.

Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley noted that the press conference featured questions seemingly right out of Fox's own talking points — including narratives originating from Stephen Miller, the former Trump immigration adviser with ties to white nationalist ideology who has now become a major presence on Fox.

NBC News chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker asked Biden during the press conference, regarding the U.S.-Mexico border: "Did you move too quickly to roll back some of the executive orders of your predecessor?"

Biden responded that the policies he reversed involved "separating children from their mothers," adding that he was only "ending programs that did not exist before Trump became president" and which had undermined both "international law" and "human dignity."



This question's framing echoed Fox's own purported "news side," such as anchor Harris Faulkner's interview with Trump this week, which maintained that Biden had undermined the protection of the border.

But in reality, Biden has drawn back Trump's border closure only slightly, in cases of unaccompanied minors and some families with young children. The policy has otherwise largely been kept intact, to the point that an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who first sued the Trump administration over this issue calls it "flatly illegal" and declares, "There is zero daylight between the Biden administration and Trump administration's position."

But in the meantime, many people in mainstream media are adopting Fox's broad framing of the issue, instead of properly examining the details.

Almost immediately after the press conference, Fox anchors John Roberts and Sandra Smith had on Doocy, who literally held up a binder to demonstrate the questions he wanted to ask. These subjects included "the investigation into the origins of" COVID-19, as well as about "this big idea to completely transform the economy" with green jobs.

Some key context here: Fox News has long pushed the theory that the coronavirus originated in a virology lab in China — even accusing Dr. Anthony Fauci of bearing culpability for it, too. (Just to be clear: Genome analysis has consistently shown that the coronavirus evolved naturally and was not man-made.)

Fox News anchor Dana Perino, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, said that if she were still working at the White House, "I would have told the president to call on Peter Doocy," and that Biden could have answered Doocy's questions.

"Why make Peter Doocy a story, right?" she said. "Just take his question and move on."



In the next hour, Fox anchor Martha MacCallum brought Doocy on again, to ask him what questions he would have asked the president if he'd gotten a chance. Doocy did not mention the "origins of COVID" this time. Instead, he said in more general terms that not enough questions had been asked about the pandemic and the transition to a greener economy.

"I just wish that maybe the schedule could have been done a little bit differently today, so we could have the president for longer," Doocy said, ending his appearance on an apparently sarcastic note. "But he's the president, and he was off to do something that the leader of the free world has to do — 3 o'clock on a Thursday."

"So next time, you should be at the top of the list," MacCallum replied in a friendly tone, to which Doocy readily agreed.


On the subject of a green economy, it is also worth noting that Fox News was a near-constant source of false information on the Texas blackouts in February, wrongly blaming the disaster on frozen wind turbines and "Green New Deal" policies — though of course, the Green New Deal has not been enacted in the Republican-run state, and the state's fossil fuel sources had also frozen over due to an overall failure to winterize the Texas power grid.

By contrast, local media in Texas widely debunked the misinformation, and a poll released earlier this month from the progressive strategy firm Data for Progress found that the American public at large did not buy into this propaganda campaign — though only a narrow plurality of Fox News viewers were able to provide the correct answer on what had caused the blackouts.

In fact, Fox has embraced climate denial and misinformation for years, making clear its intent to undermine action on climate change heading into the Biden administration.

Why Didn’t Reporters Ask Biden A Single Question About The Pandemic?

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Although Joe Biden has been speaking to members of the media during his two months in the White House, he didn't hold his first formal press conference as president until Thursday. Biden, during the conference, discussed subjects including the legislative filibuster, voting rights, his re-election plans, foreign policy toward China and North Korea, and migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But White House reporters are receiving some criticism for the important things that they didn't ask Biden about.

The Washington Post's Karen Attiah listed some of the issues that White House reporters either ignored or downplayed:

During the press conference, Biden discussed his ambitious timetable for COVID-19 vaccinations — saying that his new goal is to get 200 million vaccination shots distributed within his first 100 days in office:

But reporters attending the press conference didn't follow up on that announcement. Nor did they ask about his goals on re-opening schools, which Biden announced his administration has made significant progress toward.

The Washington Post's Lena H. Sun and the New York Times' Maggie Haberman tweeted that the COVID-19 pandemic should have been a priority for White House reporters:

While the administration's vaccine rollout has been relatively impressive, it's not without flaws or shortfalls, and reporters could have pressed the president on that topic. They could have asked about what plans the U.S. has in the effort to get the whole world vaccinated against the virus to really put an end to the global pandemic. But they didn't.

Journalist David Boardman complained:

Indeed, Biden did make some significant news by saying he "expects" to run in 2024. But CNN's Kaitlan Collins bizarrely asked if Biden planned to keep Vice President Kamala Harris on the ticket, as if Biden would announce it if he planned to kick her off, and as if anything in the past two months would have given him any reason to part ways with her. Biden says he expects Harris will be his running mate in 2024.

Here are some other observations from Twitter users on things that White House reporters didn't ask Biden about: