People of all political stripes should allow some space for generosity and positive statements on Inauguration Day. But over the last few decades, we’ve observed a pattern of the media raining (sometimes storming) on the GOP parade, while going dramatically over the top in celebrating new Democrat presidents. January 20, 2021 was no exception.
Even on the night before the inauguration, CNN political director David Chalian oozed that the sidelights on the National Mall’s reflecting pool to commemorate Americans who died from the coronavirus are like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.”
For his part, CNN public relations manager Matt Dornic tweeted out a GIF of the song “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.”
It wasn’t subtle.
ABC’s “Good Morning” America” began with strike-up-the-band music, touting Biden: “How he plans to usher in a new era of hope and the action he’s promising the minute he takes office.”
They touted Biden’s religion, another Biden campaign narrative. Biden beat reporter Mary Bruce announced “of course, Joe Biden is a devout Catholic. He attends Mass regularly, practically every weekend. I think that is something you’ll continue to see during his presidency, something we really haven’t seen through the last several administrations.”
Regular church attendance doesn’t make you a “devout Catholic.” Biden is dramatically at odds with church teaching on abortion and sexuality, and most importantly, on religious liberty.
ABC’s morning show also included Terry Moran decrying Trump’s early departure from Washington as “his last act of vandalism.”
In case ABC didn’t sound partisan enough.
After the speech, ABC compared Biden to Abe Lincoln, and their recruited historian Mark Updegrove underlined it “Echoes of Lincoln on the eve of Civil War in 1861, the worst domestic crisis that we’ve ever faced as a nation….This, today, was a triumph of democracy.”
Reporter Byron Pitts oozed “today’s inauguration felt more like a church service, right? And we see there, right after the sermon, the congregation doesn’t want to go home. People are hugging, shaking hands. I thought from Joe Biden today, certainly, he was commander in chief, but he was also papa in chief.”
On CBS after the speech, White House reporter Major Garrett called it a homily, like Biden was in church: “The beginning had a soaring rhetoric. A tiny bit at the end. The middle… it sounded like a homily. A breaking down of all this big language to simple colloquial terms. ‘I’m just talking to you. I’m in this vaunted position. But like a priest explaining something from the Bible or something, I’m breaking it down for you so we can all have a common language and a common understanding.'”
Over on MSNBC, Chuck Todd insisted Biden is the anti-Trump: “He is the better angel president. Joe Biden believes – he’s eternally optimistic. He’s not cynical. The guy’s been in Washington so long you would think, you know, some of us are here too long and you become cynical. He’s never cynical. He still thinks the better angels exist.”
MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt attempted to sum up: “It was not a campaign speech. It was not a politics first speech. It was an American speech.”
This is nonsense. It was an attempt at unity, an attempt to sound like the anti-Trump, but it was politically calculated …and bound to be overturned within hours, when divisive executive orders repealed the call for unity.