To measure the terror now gripping the mainstream media in the wake of the Biden–Trump debate, consider this: the New York Times is now fact-checking Joe Biden in favor of Donald Trump.

Monday’s print edition of the Times contains an article titled “In ABC Interview, Exaggerations about Polling and Trump.” The article applies a level of scrutiny to Biden’s Friday interview with ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos that is nearly unprecedented toward a Democratic candidate.

The Times now quotes Biden verbatim, with the clear intention of putting his verbal shuffles on full display:

Biden: “After that debate, . . . I did events in—in—in Georgia, did events like this today, large crowds, overwhelming response, no—no—no slipping.”

So remorseless is the Times toward Biden’s speech stumbles that it even records a missing syllable:

“The New York Times had me behind before anything having to do with this race—had me hind—behind 10 points.”

Factual errors that before would have been allowed to pass unnoticed are now harvested and amplified:

Before the interview on Friday, Mr. Biden said of Mr. Trump at a rally in Wisconsin that he would “beat him again in 2020.” At a Fourth of July barbecue with military members and their families, Mr. Biden referred to Mr. Trump as “one of our former colleagues” before correcting himself. And at a fund-raising reception in East Hampton, New York, he confused Italy and France when referring to the location of a veterans’ cemetery he recently visited.

The Times engages in a flurry of poll slicing and dicing to discredit what it calls Biden’s “exaggerated” and “misleading” claims about his secure standing in public opinion.

But it is Biden’s invocation of a classic anti-Trump meme that incurs the most surreal of all Times responses. Biden had said during the Stephanopoulos interview: “This is a guy who told us to put bleach in our arms to deal with Covid, with a million—over a million people died.”

The Times is withering. Exaggerated! it proclaims. Trump did not “instruct people to inject bleach but suggested that doing so with a disinfectant was an ‘interesting’ concept to test out.” The Times notes the context for Trump’s alleged bleach-injection instruction: in April 2020, a member of the federal coronavirus task force had reported on ongoing experiments regarding the use of light and disinfectants to kill the virus. Trump then speculated, as the paper reports:

Mr. Trump responded: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.”

The Times’s current distinction between suggesting that a concept be tested and suggesting that a concept be implemented was missing in its contemporaneous coverage in 2020. The paper ran thousands of words implying that Trump had likely triggered a public health emergency of MAGA bleach drinkers. Reporter Matt Flegenheimer, then on the Covid hysteria beat, reported that Trump had “suggested that injections of disinfectants into the human body could help combat the coronavirus.” Such a suggestion “did not sound like the work of a doctor, a genius, or a person with a good you-know-what,” sneered Flegenheimer, throwing a loose version of Trump’s comments about himself back at him.

Biden’s claims during the ABC interview about Trump wanting to get rid of the Affordable Care Act and seeking to empower Big Pharma to charge “exorbitant” (in Biden’s words) drug prices are also demolished.

A day after the Biden–Trump debate, the Times ran an editorial calling on Biden to withdraw from the presidential race. Since then, its news (scare quotes omitted) side has run devastating articles about the Democratic donor revolt against Biden, Biden’s long history of worrying mental slips, and the tumult within Democratic circles. That coverage has not affected Biden’s blithe confidence in his electoral chances or in his mental acuity. On Monday, Biden sent what the Times characterizes as a “defiant” letter to Congress, daring his Democratic critics to challenge him at the convention. He also delivered what the Times calls “fiery remarks” on MSNBC denouncing the skeptical “elites.”  Until Biden bows before the inevitable, we can expect to live in an inverted reality in which the mainstream media applies the same journalistic standards to the Democratic frontrunner as it does to the Republican frontrunner. As soon as Biden withdraws, we will return to the status quo ante.

Photo by ABC via Getty Images


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