Meeeoww! Puck Reports Claws Are OUT Among WH Press Corps in Declinin’ Biden Cover-Up

Puck senior partner Dylan Byers had a story out Wednesday night filled with some juicy details on supposed infighting amongst the Biden White House press corps. As he explained it in the subhead for his story, the post-debate fallout consists of the journalists who cover the cognitively failing Biden “pissed—furious at the White House, annoyed at each other—and ready to take the gloves off.”

Byers began with an anecdote about how CNN’s White House reporters (with M.J. Lee having sat in the Briefing Room seat this week) are “determined that it would use its allotted time at every briefing for the foreseeable future to press the administration for more official documentatio n on Biden’s health—and, indeed, Lee followed up with the same question at the briefing today.”

Adding in a lame eyeroll that the past week has shown “the Biden press corps has the bit between its teeth” because it’s “their professional obligation and duty”, Byers painted some in the press corps as duped (when the real reaction should be anyone who wasn’t chasing Biden’s failing mental state is complicit) (click “expand”):

Since taking office, and especially during the campaign, the Biden press team had largely succeeded in making any scrutiny around the principal’s age taboo—an issue that was not only indiscreet to discuss, according to them, but also irrelevant to his governance and, of course, the existential specter of Trump’s return to the White House and, with it, the erosion of democracy itself.

The old pros in the press shop were often quick to pivot to Biden’s historic legislative accomplishments and record. If a journalist did cover Biden’s age, they would be forced to reckon with the coordinated (and often petty) wrath of his press handlers, who aggressively tried to shame them off the subject. “They can be coordinated and vitriolic in their efforts if they don’t like a story,” one White House correspondent told me. “And then there is often a coordinated effort to trash individual reporters who manage to glimpse behind the veil.”

Then came the spice. Byers revealed “there is now a pervasive sense of resentment among the press corp toward the administration” and quoted one White House correspondent as having there’s been a “brewing” “hostility” toward the regime because they’ve “been so dismissive of” concerns about Biden.

This fell into two camps with one “feel[ing] a strong sense of vindication” and the other “undeniably apoplectic” and “chafing at the White House comms office for waving them off what is now inarguably a massive and truly historical issue—or covering their tracks” so they would, in the words of another reporter, “got their asses kicked on The Big Story.”

Now, the part about claws coming out. Byers said “there’s been some intra-press corps friction, as well” with reporters who’ve consistently called out Biden’s elderly state as a problem feel like they’ve been knifed by not only the White House, but lapdog reporters polishing the former’s apples (click “expand”):

So potent are the feelings over this issue, in fact, that there’s been some intra-press corps friction, as well. Multiple reporters who have been on the receiving end of White House pushback on the age topic have suspected that the press office subtly recruited their peers to assist their campaign. (Sounds gross, but alas, P.R. people use similar tactics all the time, as you all well know.) After the then-infamous Journal article in which several anonymous Republican lawmakers sounded the alarm about Biden’s mental acuity, some White House reporters took to X to rebut the premise of the story, effectively aligning with the position of the White House itself.

“That is a frequent White House tactic they have used with reporters,” one White House journalist said, “and some reporters oblige.” At the same time, some reporters are rolling their eyes at colleagues who appear to be taking a victory lap over their pre-debate scrutiny of Biden’s age, noting that not all of it was necessarily great reportage. (“That Journal story was fucked,” one reporter said.)

Leaving out how the liberal media have, in many corners, decided Biden needs to go in order for Trump to be kept from the White House, Byers alleged “every Biden reporter now feels like they have carte blanche to aggressively and unapologetically cover the acuity issue. And, perhaps most notably, it has led to some collective soul-searching over the obligations of the political press corps.”

No kidding, chief.

Referring back to a piece after the Hur report in which anonymous White House reporters admitted they’ve long known about Biden’s lack of a grip on his basic faculties but cowardly stayed silent, Byers acknowledged it’s been “four and a half months” since then and little in terms of the press corps’ posture changed.

“And that, perhaps, highlights the true handicap of the White House press corps, and arguably the media at large: It is too often reactive instead of proactive, waiting for news to happen rather than forcing an issue, allowing the people it covers to set the agenda rather than setting the agenda itself,” he argued.

Going forward, he had it right in saying what the press have to do regarding Biden: In addition to soul searching, come through with “tenacious, relentless journalism.”

We won’t hold our breath.

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