Today's Paper Latest Elections Coronavirus 🔵 Covid Classroom Cooking Families Core values Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive

A good rule of thumb to follow these Internetted days: Don't get your news from Fox News only. And don't get your news from NPR only. And don't get your news from CNN only. And don't get your news from conservative talk radio only.

The various media managers live in separate worlds. We are sometimes amazed by what's the lede from one source on any given Monday, and how the other sources may ignore that story altogether.

Take, for example, Joe Biden's response on court packing last week and over the weekend.

We can't decide if his answer was another famous Biden Gaffe. Or if it was unintentional honesty on his part after a reporter began asking questions and a Biden campaign manager didn't do his job, that is, tackle the reporter to the ground. Or if this was perhaps a sign of arrogance that not even Donald Trump could conjure. But the various media outlets ought to report it, because We the People need to hear it:

Campaigning in Arizona last Thursday, Joe Biden said this about increasing the number of justices on the United States Supreme Court: "They'll know my opinion on court-packing when the election is over."


And to reporters, he added: "Now, look, I know it's a great question, and y'all ... and I don't blame you for asking it. But you know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that."

Well, well. Some of us in the media might reply: "Not if the answer is: 'No, I won't attempt to pack the court,' because it won't be news."

So should we assume that's not the answer?

Then over the weekend, in Las Vegas, a reporter tried again. And the reporter asked if the American people deserved to know the answer before the election. The former vice president's answer was, "No, they don't deserve" to know.

As Casey Stengel used to say, you can look it up. Even CNN is reporting it now. (Although NPR hasn't got around to it as of this writing.) Fox News is blistered all over with the story. And on Sunday, The Washington Post picked it up. You can find the video here:

Joe Biden's PR handlers have said their candidate has answered the question before. And he did. During the primaries, Joe Biden said he'd oppose packing the nation's high court. So why is he being cagey now? Have the Bernie Bros. got to him? Has he changed his mind after President Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett? And why don't American voters deserve to know the answer to an important question before we vote? Why only after? And how is that not the height of arrogance?

We are trying to remember the last time a presidential candidate said the people didn't deserve to know his answer to an important question. We keep coming up with Donald Trump's tax returns in 2016. But for all his evasiveness, Candidate Trump never said the people didn't "deserve" to get answers.

We're going over all the equivocal and elusive answers by presidential candidates over the years in our mind's eye, and we don't remember any one of them going that far. (Besides, as much as the people need to know about a candidate's finances, the release of tax returns is a fairly recent tradition. Court packing enraged the public when a president named Franklin Roosevelt tried it during the New Deal.)

Perhaps the Biden-Harris campaign is just so far ahead in the polls that it feels the candidates don't need to answer any more hard questions, and the campaign can kneel on the ball for the next three weeks until the clock runs out. Or maybe there really is a ton of pressure coming from the left--and the campaign can't afford to lose the momentum among that particular base.

To think of it, Joe Biden would have come off better by saying just that. It would have sounded better than the people don't deserve answers, or they'll get answers after the election.

For the life of us, we can't imagine how worse responses by a candidate could be given.

And we don't understand how those answers won't invite more questions between now and election day. There's nothing that gets the media worked up like candidates who sound this arrogant. Or, at least, certain quarters in the media.


Sponsor Content

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with the Democrat-Gazette commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. The Democrat-Gazette commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.