RETREAT: The Networks Fall In Line, Circle Back To Biden

After amplifying many of the calls for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the presidential campaign in the wake of his disastrous debate performance, there appears to be a change of mind. After Biden’s interview with George Stephanopoulos and subsequent retrenchment, the networks have begun to fall back in line.

A return to norms means that ABC retakes its place as the most Biden-servile network. Consider this sequence from ABC’s report, as Mary Bruce resumes her apple-polishing campaign:

MARY BRUCE: Tonight, all eyes on President Biden, surrounded by world leaders as he marks the 75th anniversary of NATO.

JOE BIDEN: Welcome.

BRUCE: Using the moment to remind America and the world what he’s accomplished.

BIDEN: It’s remarkable progress. Proof that our commitment is broad and deep. That we’re ready, that we’re willing, that we’re able to deter aggression, and defend every inch of NATO territory against every domain. Land, air, sea, cyber, and space.

BRUCE: It comes at a key moment in this race. The president under pressure to prove to voters, his party, and our allies that he is up to the task of taking on Trump and governing for another four years.

BIDEN: And Kiev, remember, fellas and ladies, was supposed to fall in five days, remember? Well, it’s still standing 2 1/2 years later, and it will continue to stand.

BRUCE: This as Donald Trump holds his first big rally since the debate. He’s been off the trail for ten days, laying low and playing golf, while Biden tackles the fallout from his disastrous performance.

The part about Trump playing golf is a verbatim repeat of what Biden said on his Morning Joe phoner. The media are mad that Trump hasn’t given them a reason to avert their eyes and coverage from the ongoing train wreck that is this post-debate debacle. 

ABC’s item on Biden focused mostly on his appearance before the NATO summit, with some time devoted to the RNC platform, Dr. Jill Biden’s own campaign call, with zero time devoted to the Walter Reed Parkinson’s specialist’s visits to The White House, which both CBS and NBC found time to cover. Like CBS, ABC covered the congressional fallout in a separate report.

Ed O’Keefe’s entry for CBS was more of a roundup. In addition to the NATO summit, O’Keefe’s report covered the Parkinson’s stuff, in addition to reaction from Speaker Mike Johnson, and some quotes from Vice President Kamala Harris’s Nevada stump speech. Congressional reaction was covered in a separate report.

NBC’s item filed by Gabe Gutierrez seemed the most comprehensive report, blending all the aforementioned matters with the tumultuous meetings held by House Democrats.

Viewed in sum, it appears that the networks are reverting to familiar patterns- a sign, perhaps, that the Biden debacle may be cooling down not that he’s retrenched. At least until the next debacle.

Click “expand” to view the full transcripts of the aforementioned evening newscasts, as aired on their respective networks on Tuesday, July 9th, 2024:

ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT:

ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT

7/9/24

6:31 PM

DAVID MUIR: Good evening and we begin tonight with the breaking news, President Biden on the world stage just moments ago. His first global speech since the debate, standing before world leaders at the NATO summit in Washington, D.C. Before the speech, President Biden standing alongside those leaders in the very room where NATO began. Tonight, the president marking the 75th anniversary of America’s most important alliance. Those world leaders, of course, watching, American voters now watching very closely, too. And the unexpected moment at the end of the speech from the president. Awarding the nation’s highest civilian honor. Our Chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce leading us off.

MARY BRUCE: Tonight, all eyes on President Biden, surrounded by world leaders as he marks the 75th anniversary of NATO.

JOE BIDEN: Welcome.

BRUCE: Using the moment to remind America and the world what he’s accomplished.

BIDEN: It’s remarkable progress. Proof that our commitment is broad and deep. That we’re ready, that we’re willing, that we’re able to deter aggression, and defend every inch of NATO territory against every domain. Land, air, sea, cyber, and space.

BRUCE: It comes at a key moment in this race. The president under pressure to prove to voters, his party, and our allies that he is up to the task of taking on Trump and governing for another four years.

BIDEN: And Kiev, remember, fellas and ladies, was supposed to fall in five days, remember? Well, it’s still standing 2 1/2 years later, and it will continue to stand.

BRUCE: This as Donald Trump holds his first big rally since the debate. He’s been off the trail for ten days, laying low and playing golf, while Biden tackles the fallout from his disastrous performance. Today, the Republican Party finalizing its platform, and it includes a major change. The party abandoning its long-held support for a federal abortion ban in favor of Trump’s call to leave it to the states. Today on a campaign call, First Lady Jill Biden says voters won’t buy it.

JILL BIDEN: Does he think we forgot that his Supreme Court justices killed Roe v. Wade, and that he brags about it? Does he think we don’t know that he wants to roll back access to contraception, and he could jeopardize IVF treatments? Does he think he can pivot away from a career of diminishing and denigrating women? Well, women haven’t forgotten, and we can’t be fooled.

MUIR: One more day in this race for president. Let’s get right to Mary Bruce, of course, live at The White House. And Mary, back to the president just moments ago, of course knowing full well the world is watching, American voters are watching with greater scrutiny. And then that unexpected moment, the president delivering a surprise honor, underscoring the importance of NATO?

BRUCE: And David, this really was a dramatic moment. The president, in a surprise move, bringing the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg back up to the stage, announcing that he is honoring him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. President Biden praising him for guiding the alliance through one of the most consequential periods in history. The president, David, well aware of just how high the stakes are in this moment both here at home, but also abroad. David. 

MUIR: Mary Bruce leading us off tonight. Mary. Thank you.

CBS EVENING NEWS:

CBS EVENING NEWS

7/9/24

6:30 PM

NORAH O’DONNELL: President Biden just spoke at the NATO summit here in Washington, D.C., a speech that has become as much about his fitness for office as it is about his foreign policy. Good evening. I’m Norah O’Donnell, and thank you for being with us. The president spoke about Ukraine policy and maintaining a united front to prevent another World War. But the world’s focus wasn’t only on what he said, but how he said it, as he tries to fight back calls within his own party to step aside. And just hours ago, a new Democratic defection, a New Jersey congresswoman and former U.S. Navy pilot saying, “because I know President Biden cares deeply about the future of our country, I am asking that he declare that he won’t run for reelection.” But a lot of her colleagues are either sticking behind Biden or staying quiet, at least in public. CBS’s Scott MacFarlane is on the hill talking to lawmakers, and Ed O’Keefe is at The White House and kicks off our team coverage.

ED O’KEEFE: Tonight, President Biden welcoming members of NATO to Washington while questions swirl about his political future.

JOE BIDEN: It’s a pleasure to host you in this milestone year.

O’KEEFE: The annual summit is set to have a big focus on Ukraine. That country’s fate could hang in the balance if Democrats lose The White House.

BIDEN: And make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin.

O’KEEFE: And now, even European leaders facing questions about the American president’s future. The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, today saying he’s not worried about Biden’s ability to handle the summit. The White House remained on the defensive, trying to move onto the president’s debate performance.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: We want to turn the page.

O’KEEFE: But facing more questions today about the president’s health.

JEAN-PIERRE: The White House medical unit, his doctor, they don’t believe that he needs anything more than what we have been able to provide.

O’KEEFE: Overnight, The White House released a letter from the president’s physician saying the Commander-in-Chief hasn’t seen a neurologist outside of his three annual physicals, and that a neurology specialist who visited The White House at least eight times in the past year was seeing other patients. Campaigning in Las Vegas this afternoon, Vice President Harris turned her attention to former President Donald Trump.

KAMALA HARRIS: So make no mistake, if Trump gets the chance, he will sign a national abortion ban to outlaw abortion in every single state. But we are not going to let that happen.

O’KEEFE: Trump said Monday night he still expects to face the president this fall.

DONALD TRUMP: You know, it looks to me like he may very well stay in. He’s got an ego and he doesn’t want to quit.

O’KEEFE: He’ll hold a rally tonight in a Miami suburb, alongside Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a potential running mate. And in Washington, House Speaker Mike Johnson says President Biden needs to go sooner- the Cabinet should use the 25th Amendment to remove him.

MIKE JOHNSON: What we are projecting from The White House is not strength right now, at a very dangerous time around the world, and that’s why the American people are so alarmed by this.

O’KEEFE: But CBS News has contacted all members of the Biden Cabinet to ask whether they have ever considered or heard any discussion about invoking the 20th Amendment. The answer, among those who’ve responded so far, is universal. No. They haven’t. Norah.

O’DONNELL: Ed O’Keefe at The White House with new reporting tonight. Thank you, Ed.

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS:

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS

7/9/24

7:01 PM

LESTER HOLT: Good evening and welcome. President Biden is stomping out political brushfires tonight that are eating at his campaign, while Democrats on Capitol Hill hash out whether the president remains the right person to carry the party to victory in November following that debate performance that turned the presidential campaign on its head. For now, the president still hanging on in what could prove to be a make or break week as he hosts world leaders in Washington, looking to project a message of strength here and abroad. Mr. Biden opening a meeting with NATO leaders with a forceful tribute to the alliance, and vowing that Ukraine will prevail in the war with Russia. We begin with NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez.

GABE GUTIERREZ: Tonight, President Biden on the world stage, kicking off a high-stakes NATO summit with 38 world leaders here in Washington.

JOE BIDEN: It’s good that we’re stronger than ever, because this moment in history calls for our collective strength.

GUTIERREZ: President Biden and European allies announcing new air defense systems for Ukraine late today.

BIDEN: Putin wants nothing less, nothing less than Ukraine’s total subjugation, to end Ukraine’s democracy. But make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin.

GUTIERREZ: But looming large, the president’s political standing with deepening divisions among anxious Democrats on capitol hill who met today behind closed doors.

MIKE QUIGLEY: I don’t think he should stay in the race.

GUTIERREZ: Asked whether they were on the same page

STEVE COHEN: Not even in the same book.

GUTIERREZ: Ten House Democrats have called for the president to step aside, but one is now backtracking.

JERRY NADLER: Whether I have concerns or not I think is beside the point. He is going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him.

GUTIERREZ: Still, while some rank and file Democrats are torn, their leadership is holding firm.

JIM CLYBURN: We are ridin’ with Biden.

CHUCK SCHUMER: I’m with Joe.

PETE AGUILAR: Right now, President Biden is the nominee, and we support the Democratic nominee.

GUTIERREZ: Republicans hope the in-fighting helps them in November.

MIKE JOHNSON: Joe Biden is not fit for that office. And it’s a terrible thing. The Democrats have misled us, and they need to be held accountable for that.

GUTIERREZ: The political chaos comes after President Biden’s personal doctor confirmed overnight in this letter that a neurologist who specializes in Parkinson’s did see the president, but only during his annual physicals. The specialist, Dr. Kevin Cannard, visited The White House eight times in eight months according to public visitor logs. The president saying Cannard held, quote, “regular neurology clinics” at The White House medical clinic to support military staff.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: It was being incorrectly assumed and insinuated that the president was being treated for Parkinson’s. I said right here the president was not being treated for Parkinson’s.

GUTIERREZ: On the Republican side, former President Trump giving his first post debate interview, saying he believes President Biden will stay in the race.

DONALD TRUMP: He’s got an ego and he doesn’t want to quit.

GUTIERREZ: Also adding he may wait to announce his running mate until Democrats sort out President Biden’s future.

TRUMP: We wanted to see what they’re doing, to be honest.

HOLT: And Gabe, what do the coming days look like for the president?

GUTIERREZ: Well, Lester, tonight he has a call with Democratic mayors to reassure them, then he’s meeting with world leaders again tomorrow here in Washington and then on Thursday that rare solo press conference. His first of the year. Lester.

HOLT: Gabe Gutierrez, thank you.

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