CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza called out presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Monday for largely avoiding the press as the November election nears.
Since states began locking down over the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, Biden has remained out of the spotlight and allowed the focus to stay on President Donald Trump. The strategy has appeared to reward Biden with almost entirely favorable poll numbers, though a CNN poll released on Sunday suggests Biden’s lead is slipping.
Regardless of polling, Biden has billed himself as the candidate to “restore normalcy, dignity and what he considers the right way of doing things to the White House,” Cillizza says. Included in that campaign promise should be a willingness to face the press.
Joe Biden held two public events last week introducing California Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick. He took zero questions from the press.
In fact, the last time he took more than an occasional shouted question from a member of the media was July 28, according to CNN’s Biden embed Sarah Mucha. And the time before that? Try June 30.
Do the math: The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has taken questions from the press twice in the past 48 days. That’s not nearly enough.
Meanwhile, Trump has engaged with the press on an almost daily basis in recent weeks. The constant exposure to the media has resulted in the president fielding a stark 700% more questions from journalists than his challenger, according to The Washington Examiner.
The Washington Examiner reports:
A review of interviews, transcripts, and videos shows that since mid-July, Trump has taken 635 questions from the media and Biden just 80, an 8-1 divide.
During a 28-day stretch from July 19 to Aug. 15, Trump took questions on 24 days, skipping just two weekends, while Biden took questions on 13 days.
And 41 of the questions he faced over the period came in a prerecorded interview via his computer with the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Trump answered more questions in three separate interviews during the same period.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace said on Friday that Biden and his campaign’s absence on talk shows and in the media, especially ahead of the Democratic National Convention, is “the damnedest thing” he’s ever seen in his 32 years of experience on Sunday news programming.
“It always happens that the Sunday before the convention, the campaign puts out top officials to preview the convention and to say this is what we’re gonna try to get accomplished. So, you know, we’ve been counting all week on, you know, having a top official from the Biden campaign – the campaign manager, the top pollster, the chief strategist – to talk about what they’re going to talk about during this next week. They are not putting anybody out,” Wallace told Fox News Radio host Guy Benson.
“At first I thought, well, maybe it’s because it’s Fox News and they’re boycotting us. No, they’re not putting anybody out on any of the Sunday shows,” Wallace said. “I don’t understand what’s going on here. This is the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.”
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