Media top headlines June 18
Joe Rogan torching CNN’s Brian Stelter, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock claiming no one opposes voter ID, and an NBC reporter complaining about parents demands for transparency regarding critical race theory round out today’s top media headlines
President Biden’s angry response to a CNN reporter on Wednesday was the latest in a long list of times he has snapped at journalists who asked him pointed questions.
While Biden has enjoyed questions like what his ice cream flavor is or compliments about how he’s perceived as a “decent man” during his short time in office, he didn’t take kindly to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins suggesting he was confident Russian President Vladimir Putin may change his malign behavior after their summit this week.
Biden, who was walking away from his Geneva press conference, whirled around at Collins and said, “I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior. What in the hell, what do you do all the time?”
As Collins tried to speak, Biden stuck up a finger and continued, “When did I say I was confident? Let’s get this straight. I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and diminishes their standing in the world. I’m not confident of anything. I’m just stating a fact.”
He told her she was in the “wrong business” if she couldn’t understand why their meeting was productive before walking away.
Biden apologized afterward for acting like a “wise guy,” although he criticized another reporter’s question as too negative and the media in general for not asking positive questions.
While Biden often praises journalists as highly intelligent – he did so again this week – he is known for lashing out at questioners on topics he doesn’t like, notably his scandal-ridden son Hunter Biden.
When a CBS reporter asked in October about the New York Post’s report on the younger Biden’s laptop and his emails about his work with a Ukrainian energy company, his father blasted the reporter.
“Mr. Biden, what is your response to the New York Post story about your son, sir?” Bo Erickson asked.
“I know you’d ask it,” Biden shot back. “I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask.”
Erickson ran afoul of Biden again the next month when he was president-elect, shouting out a question about whether he would encourage teachers’ unions to help in the push to get students back in classrooms.
“Why are you the only guy that always shouts out questions?” an irked Biden replied.
On Oct. 4, 2019, he lashed out again after being asked whether his son’s work in Ukraine, while the elder Biden was diplomatically involved with the country as vice president, represented a conflict of interest.
“It’s not a conflict of interest. There’s been no indication of any conflict of interest,” Biden said while at a Service Employees International Union forum in Los Angeles.
The reporter then asked if Biden’s son’s work created the appearance of a conflict of interest, prompting Biden to shift the focus to then-President Donald Trump.
“I’m not going to respond to that,” Biden said angrily. “Focus on this man. What he’s doing that no president has ever done. No president.”
In a memorable exchange with radio host Charlamagne tha God last year, a displeased Biden said if African-American voters like him couldn’t figure out he was a better option than Trump, then “you ain’t Black.” The host said his direct questioning on race was about what would best serve the Black community, not just about Trump.
Biden later apologized for his remarks, again saying he was being a “wise guy.”
Sometimes Biden comes off more irritated than outright angry by a question he doesn’t like, such as when he said “give me a break” to the Associated Press’ Zeke Miller for suggesting his coronavirus vaccine goal of 1 million per day was too low.
“When I announced it, you all said it was not possible,” Biden told Miller. “C’mon, gimme a break man.”
Biden has also had several testy moments when responding to questions from Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who covered Biden’s campaign and is now a White House correspondent.
Asked about a court filing in 2019 that showed Hunter Biden had fathered a child with an Arkansas woman, Biden replied, “No, that’s a private matter. I have no comment. But only you would ask that. You’re a good man. You’re a good man. Classy.”
Biden also grew defensive in August 2019 when Doocy pointed out his small crowd sizes in Iowa, where he would eventually finish fourth in the caucuses before later resurrecting his campaign in South Carolina.
“I know you’re going to go after me no matter what … And it’s OK, it’s good. I’m a big boy. I can handle it … I notice you didn’t ask me why I’m ahead in all the polls still. I notice you didn’t ask me how I feel about the new CNN poll,” Biden told Doocy.
Asked as president-elect in December when he had learned about the federal investigation into his son’s tax affairs, Biden shot back to Doocy, “Thanks for the congratulations, I appreciate it.”
Biden’s also had memorably feisty interactions with non-journalists, such as when he called an Iowa voter a “damn liar” for his questions, some of them falsely premised, about his son’s Ukraine work. Another time, he snapped at a Detroit auto worker who said Biden wanted to seize Americans’ guns, calling him “full of s–t.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.
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