It would be difficult for the media to be more obsequious toward President Joe Biden, but he’d certainly like them to try.
On Friday, Biden met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. As they sat down to face questions, the American president was caught on a hot mic giving his opinion of their respective countries’ media.
“I think what we’re going to do is bring in the press. The Indian press is much better behaved than the American press,” Biden said.
“I think, with your permission, you could not answer questions because they won’t ask any questions on point.”
WATCH: President Biden, during meeting with Indian PM Modi:
“The Indian press is much better behaved than the American press…I think, with your permission, you could not answer questions because they won’t ask any questions on point.” pic.twitter.com/VppL7973ma
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 24, 2021
The hot mic moment took place days after White House staff ordered journalists to leave a joint appearance between Biden and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson despite the fact Johnson had agreed to take questions.
During a meeting between Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, staff abruptly order journalists to leave. pic.twitter.com/kJ4itX2kU4
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) September 21, 2021
As Indian media watchdog Newslaundry pointed out, this probably wasn’t the kind of compliment he wanted to give.
Does the media go easy on Biden?
“Modi replied saying that he ‘completely agreed’ with Biden,” Newslaundry reported on Saturday. “It’s worth pointing out here that issues plaguing the freedom of the press under Modi have been well-documented. Since Modi came to power in 2014, he hasn’t held a single press conference except one in 2019 where he refused to answer any questions.”
Not well behaved enough for Modi, but just about right for Biden.
And keep in mind, this is a theme for Biden. Remember back in July, right before Independence Day, when the president was asked at a media briefing about Afghanistan? He literally told a reporter, “I want to talk about happy things, man!”
NOW – Biden on Afghanistan: “I want to talk about happy things, man!”pic.twitter.com/PuZyebqAFv
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) July 2, 2021
“Look, it’s Fourth of July. I’m concerned that you guys are asking me questions that I will answer next week, but it’s the holiday weekend,” Biden went on to say. “I’m going to celebrate it. Great things happening.”
Don’t ask Sloppy Joe about Afghanistan. “I want to talk about happy things, man. I’m not going to answer anymore on Afghanistan. It’s the Fourth of July.” pic.twitter.com/NaRhybwyVL
— LivePDDave 🇺🇸 🚨 🥊 (@LivePDDave1) July 2, 2021
The next month, less-terrific things started happening — namely, the implosion of the Afghan government and the return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
On Monday, during a media briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the issue is the media isn’t willing to talk about what Joe wants to talk about.
Psaki was just confronted by two reporters about Biden asking Indian Prime Minister Modi to not take questions from the American press.
Psaki then embarrassingly justifies the remark by saying sometimes the Press doesn’t ask about what Biden wants to talk about.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 27, 2021
“Well, I would note first that he took questions on Friday and he took questions again today. And I think what he said is that they’re not always on point,” Psaki said.
“Now I know that isn’t something that anyone wants to hear in here, but what I think he was conveying is, you know, today he might want to talk about COVID vaccines, some of the questions were about that … Some of the questions are not always about the topic he’s talking about in that day. I don’t think it was meant to be a hard cut at the members of the media, people he’s taken questions from today and on Friday as well.”
The problem is the on-point questions are the important ones, as evidenced by this exchange when Biden walked away from a question about Afghanistan in late August.
Following his remarks on Hurricane Ida, President Joe Biden refused to answer a Bloomberg reporter’s questions on the Afghanistan crisis after saying he would take questions. pic.twitter.com/TXFjedI6Ni
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 30, 2021
What’s an “on point” question supposed to look like? “Mr. President, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” “That’s better. Today, it’s chocolate-chocolate chip.”
But remember the words of White House communications director Kate Bedingfield after the Afghanistan debacle: “The president never shies away from taking questions.”
WH Comms Director Kate Bedingfield: “The president never shies away from taking questions.” pic.twitter.com/KNkSqyCgtU
— America Rising (@AmericaRising) August 20, 2021
Except if those questions aren’t “on point” or if you’re not talking “about happy things, man.”
So, media of America, heed Joe Biden’s call. Sure, you may have been scoring a 10-out-of-10 on obsequiousness so far. Remember, though, that Spinal Tap’s amps went up to 11. It’s time to step your game up.
After all, you don’t want to get beat out by India, do you?