CNN’s Oliver Darcy RAGES at ‘Infernal’ Wall Street Journal on Biden ‘Signs of Slipping’

CNN’s Oliver Darcy was furious in Wednesday night’s “Reliable Sources” um, “newsletter,” with his email headline attacking “The Journal Infernal.” You’re writing from a rung in Hell if you’ve written anything that could help Trump the orange Satan. This isn’t the editorial page. This is the news section. Darcy began: 

The Wall Street Journal owes its readers — and the public — better.

The business broadsheet published and hyped a story Wednesday declaring that “behind closed doors,” President Joe Biden has shown “signs of slipping.” The story questioned Biden’s mental acuity, playing into a GOP-propelled narrative that the 81-year-old president lacks the fitness to hold the nation’s highest office.

But an examination of the report reveals a glaring problem: Most of the sources reporters Annie Linskey and Siobhan Hughes relied on were Republicans. In fact, buried in the story, the reporters themselves acknowledged that they had drawn their sweeping conclusion based on GOP sources who, obviously, have an incentive to make comments that will damage Biden’s candidacy.

That’s not completely accurate. Linskey and Hughes explained in their story:

This article is based on interviews with more than 45 people over several months. The interviews were with Republicans and Democrats who either participated in meetings with Biden or were briefed on them contemporaneously, including administration officials and other Democrats who found no fault in the president’s handling of the meetings. Most of those who said Biden performed poorly were Republicans, but some Democrats said that he showed his age in several of the exchanges. 

Not only that, but the Journal reporters noted Team Biden was riding hard on the Democrats to stay “on message.”

The White House kept close tabs on some of The Wall Street Journal’s interviews with Democratic lawmakers. After the offices of several Democrats shared with the White House either a recording of an interview or details about what was asked, some of those lawmakers spoke to the Journal a second time and once again emphasized Biden’s strengths. 

Darcy complained that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was prominently quoted, and that in a previous story, it was reported McCarthy said the opposite about Biden’s sharpness. But readers can judge Republicans as having a partisan interest, and also suspect that Democrats aren’t as willing to go on the record. But Darcy is crying foul about the whole media: 

It is difficult to imagine that the newspaper, or any outlet, would run a similar story declaring that Trump is “slipping” behind the scenes based on the word of top Democratic figures — despite the fact that the Democratic leadership has demonstrated a much stronger relationship with the truth in recent years than their Republican counterparts.

More broadly speaking, The Journal‘s piece pointed to a continued problem roiling the news media as it covers the 2024 election. Trump is permitted to fall asleep in court and make nonsensical public statements on a routine basis without any serious questions raised about his mental acuity. Meanwhile, Biden is judged on an entirely different standard.

This different-standards lament is especially hilarious coming from the “Reliable Sources” team, since Darcy’s old colleague Brian Stelter routinely attacked President Trump as mentally unfit and unhinged. He infamously brought on Trump-hating psychologists who insisted he was crazy and would end up killing more than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined. 

This quote in 2017 is especially amusing, since the people quoted in it are now the ones trashing the Journal, who have insisted “F-You, Biden’s at his best ever!”

“Look at the New York Daily News this morning. A column calling the President a madman. Saying that he is truly unhinged….Eugene Robinson’s column in The Washington Post. People are saying we have to talk about his health now before it’s too late. Eugene Robinson saying: ‘How long are we going to pretend that President Trump is fully rational? How long are we going to ignore the signs he’s dangerously out of control?’ And here is MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough raising the same point…That’s the question. I’m going to ask you, Jeff Greenfield. Is now the time?”
— Host Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources, December 3, 2017.

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