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Tale of Two Insults: Biden’s “Look, fat” vs. Trump’s Reporter Imitation

One of the most bizarre things to behold is when mainstream or cable news media figures object to the reputation of bias and partiality that they have carved out for themselves. No one forced them to sacrifice professional objectivity to operate as political operatives. And even though they have baked such favoritism into their daily routines that they don’t even notice it anymore, examples abound.

Consider yourself whether the media reaction to leading Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden calling a heavy-set man “fat” in a tense exchange is proportional to what it would have been had the insult come from the lips of President Trump.

You actually don’t have to wonder, because we’ve been here before. The circumstances are slightly different, but go back to 2015 when then candidate Trump was storming the nation and seemingly causing a ruckus wherever he held an event. The New York Times chronicled what happened next:

Before a crowd gathered at a Myrtle Beach convention center, the candidate hoisted one hand up, flailed his arms and mocked a New York Times reporter who has a physical disability that almost precisely mirrors Trump’s movements that evening.

Despite Trump’s ardent denials, the Times happily led the prosecution and the rest of mainstream media joined in. Now, let the record show that I personally think Trump did mock the disabled reporter and I found his explanations to be weak at best. I don’t fault the media for covering the offensive gesture, or hammering Trump for it repeatedly. I do, however, fault the media for not doing the same with Trump’s likely 2020 opponent Joe Biden for him recently mocking and deriding a citizen at a public forum:

A man, who later told the New York Post he is a Marine Corps veteran, irked Biden by asking about son Hunter’s role on the board of a controversial Ukrainian natural gas firm at an Iowa town hall event. Biden responded by calling the man a “damn liar,” “too old,” and referred to him condescendingly as “jack.” Biden also challenged the man to a pushup contest, IQ test and many observers feel he also called him “fat,” but the candidate denies criticizing the man’s weight.

And those denials, just like Trump’s claim he didn’t mock the reporter, are absurd to anyone who has actually watched the video of the exchange. In fact, the only significant differences in the two situations are:

  1. Trump’s target was a hostile reporter; Biden’s target was a private citizen with a question
  2. The media went after Trump aggressively; to this point they have either ignored or even praised Biden

If you find that hard to believe, consider that while NBC largely ignored the embarrassing moment for Biden, CBS seemed to be pleased with him. Anchor Norah O’Donnell:

described how “Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden went at it with a voter who accused him of sending his son Hunter to work for a Ukrainian energy company for the family’s benefit.”

“Well, the Vice President even challenged the man to a pushup contest,” she said with a big smile on her face”

O’Donnell then pitched it over to reporter Ed O’Keefe who compared Biden to a “prizefighter,” lauding the feisty performance.

So you tell me, if President Trump would have spun around and attacked a private citizen at a townhall by saying, “Look, fat,” would CBS Evening News admiringly refer to him as a “prizefighter?”


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