David Ignatius, What the Hell Is Wrong with You?

When I started watching the debate between Trump and President Biden, I instinctively knew it wouldn’t go well for the President. I had hoped I would be wrong. Biden’s posture confirmed something was wrong with him, and he wasn’t the same Biden who gave the State of The Union address.

I have accepted that President Biden’s accounting of himself was less than desirable but not impossible to fix, as so many in the press and others seem to believe, based on the current level of gnashing of teeth and the renting of garments seemingly taking place. I prepared myself for the barrage of criticism, but the torrent of hysteria that populated the news cycle was beyond my expectations.

What I didn’t expect from the editorial writers was their falling for Trump’s shotgun approach of spewing nonsense, lies, and utter disdain for the moderators and not answering the questions put to him on redirect. Dana Bash asked Trump three times if he would accept the election results this year; twice, he refused, and the third, he said, if it was honest. And we all know Trump’s definition of honest elections: heads, he wins, tails, Biden loses.

President Biden didn’t have a good night, but that doesn’t mean he should drop out, as David Ignatius suggested in his article. Why do intelligent pundits like Ignatius fail to recognize what Trump does in debates? Trump spews nonsense like a firehose. He puts forth so many falsehoods, and it doesn’t matter which one of these Biden would shoot down. It gets played out as if he doesn’t know what he is doing. Trump has mastered the Gish gallop technique.

Biden is a debater who presents valid, logical facts; Trump presents generalizations and claims that are difficult to disprove as they contain only a fraction of the truth. Ignatius should know this, as he has covered both men. Ignatius and others seem overly concerned with Biden’s age (81) and see that from their viewpoint as a reason Biden should step down, but give little credence to Trump’s age (78) and actions, along with his memory lapses and malapropisms. So, how can Ignatius write about an honest man who has been a stalwart defending the Constitution and a believer in democracy is unfit to run for a second term because he had a lousy debate performance? But a convicted criminal, rapist, serial defamer, and congenital liar should get another chance of being returned to the White House? That does not compute for me.

I do not believe President Biden should step aside. I think the Washington Post should stop placating Trump and his base and call Trump out as the fabulist for what he has done and what he will do to this country if he wins the Presidency.

I ask, is the WaPo going to continue to run stories about Biden’s age or the fact Trump is attempting to dismantle our Republic so he can become this country’s first dictator? The New York Times isn’t much better with their reporting and calling for Biden to step down and let someone younger take over. Who would that be, and how long would it take for the Times to trash them if they didn’t do well in a debate against Trump?

I understand the overall goal of newspapers is to report the news, and President Biden’s debate performance was indeed newsworthy, but so was Trump’s. Especially all the lies he told. According to CNN’s fact-checker Daniel Dale, both Biden and Trump made false or misleading statements. It happens, but the notable contrast is the amount of misleading statements. Here is what Dale found:

Trump made more than 30 false claims at the Thursday debate. They included numerous claims that CNN and others have already debunked during the current presidential campaign or prior.

“Trump’s repeat falsehoods included his assertions that some Democratic-led states allow babies to be executed after birth, that every legal scholar and everybody in general wanted Roe v. Wade overturned, that there were no terror attacks during his presidency, that Iran didn’t fund terror groups during his presidency, that the US has provided more aid to Ukraine than Europe has, that Biden for years referred to Black people as “super predators,” that Biden is planning to quadruple people’s taxes, that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned down 10,000 National Guard troops for the US Capitol on January 6, 2021that Americans don’t pay the cost of his tariffs on China and other countries, that Europe accepts no American cars, that he is the president who got the Veterans Choice program through Congress, and that fraud marred the results of the 2020 election.”

Yet, it seems papers such as the Times and Post make a concerted effort to highlight the foibles, mispronunciations, slips of the tongue, and missteps made by Biden with bold type and endless commentary on how he should step down with no consideration to the fact they are playing right into Trump’s hand. The press demands perfection from a Democratic presidential candidate and offers unlimited ‘it’s okay’ credits to Republican candidates. Trump dodged all the questions, and Biden struggled to answer some of them. Biden should throw in the towel and let someone else run. Yet, these journalists see Biden as the one who should step aside and let Trump return to the White House, knowing what he plans on doing if he gets back behind the Resolute desk.

The disparate treatment the press shows toward Biden compared to Trump is apparent; they have forsaken their supposed stance as non-partisan reporters of news to becoming determiners of who is and isn’t fit to hold the presidency, the press’s insatiable obsession with reporting every malapropism, slip-of-tongue, stiffness of his walk, and occasional gaffe as incontrovertible proof of the need for replacing Biden with someone younger. Major news outlets are abdicating their role as impartial reporters of fact and replacing it with determining losers and winners, but their wanton disregard for objectivity in this and previous elections. It has become a dereliction of their journalistic duty to report the news without taking sides.

It has become increasingly difficult to see the press objective in this election. It seems the NY Times and Washington Post have succumbed to the pressure of profit over truth. Believing they have to report on every little misstep, Biden makes or says while seemingly giving Trump a wide birth on his actions and discounting them as Trump just being Trump. What journalistic construct demands the Fourth Estate be hyper-critical of the sitting president when they misspeak, get a fact wrong, or mispronounce someone’s name? Where in the journalistic handbook does it say every mistake made but sitting by the current occupant of the White House has to be pitch-perfect? Still, the other person’s gaffes, overt lies, and unhinge rants get reported on, but not as the five-alarm fire when Clinton, Obama, or Biden said or did something out of the ordinary.

Yes, President Biden had a stormy debate performance. Yes, President Biden is old. Yes, President Biden mispoken and got facts wrong. But so has Donald Trump. However, what reporters such as Ignatius and his paper seemingly overlook is that Bidend corrects and apologizes for his errors. Trump does not. He believes apologizing is a sign of weakness and “strongmen don’t apologize for anything.”  

Well, Trump is not a strongman. He is a weak and cowardly imbecilic nitwit tick. Trump has conned the American public, and the media has gone along with his con for years. It’s time for them to stop and realize that if he gets back in the Whitehouse democracy is dead, and they will be part of the gang that killed it. Of all people who should know, that is David Ignatius, and so I have to ask, David Ignatius, what the Hell is wrong with you?