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Brutal WaPo column urging Biden to bow out of 2024 becomes latest in liberal media pile-on of embattled POTUS
September 15 2023, 08:00

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius shocked the media world this week with a devastating piece urging President Biden to withdraw from the 2024 race, leaving some online critics saying "the dam is breaking" among liberal news organizations, who openly rooted for the aging Democrat to be elected in 2020, to no longer be running cover for the embattled incumbent.

Ignatius, who is reportedly among Biden's "favorite" columnists, told readers "it's painful to say" that neither Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris should seek re-election, saying their ticket "risks undoing his greatest achievement — which was stopping Trump." 

He put a spotlight on Biden's "two big liabilities," one being his age as polls continue to show voters think he's too old to serve a second term, and the other being Harris herself, who has an even worse approval rating than the president. 

"Biden has never been good at saying no," the veteran columnist told readers Tuesday evening. "He should have resisted the choice of Harris… He should have blocked then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which has done considerable damage to the island’s security. He should have stopped his son Hunter from joining the board of a Ukrainian gas company and representing companies in China — and he certainly should have resisted Hunter’s attempts to impress clients by getting Dad on the phone."


"Biden has another chance to say no — to himself, this time — by withdrawing from the 2024 race. It might not be in character for Biden, but it would be a wise choice for the country," he continued. 

DePauw University journalism professor Jeffrey McCall said Ignatius's column was a "rhetorical signal" that the media is finally coming to terms with the reality Americans have long known "that President Biden is struggling to handle the duties of the office and that a second term should not happen."

However, McCall predicted the media will likely continue to "give Biden a lot of cover" going into 2024 since news organizations are "ideologically on board" with him and would still prefer him over any GOP opponent, particularly if it were former President Trump.

"The sporadic concerns expressed by the media lately about Biden will surely dissipate and then disappear by early 2024, if Biden, indeed, does forge ahead with his reelection campaign," McCall told Fox News Digital. "It is one thing to scrutinize Biden while the general election is 14 months away and the Democrats still have sufficient runway space to find a suitable alternative candidate for the presidency."

Perhaps what makes Ignatius' column so striking to the political world is how he was an early backer of Biden in the last election, declaring in April 2019 that he was "the best candidate to beat Trump."

But he isn't the only member of liberal media to take such a profound stance against the president seeking a second term.


In early July, Politico columnist Jack Shafer penned a piece with the headline "Why Democrats Should Primary Biden," putting an emphasis on Biden's age by telling readers he "needs a tuneup," he's "a stiff when speaking at the lectern" and that "No president since the equally doddering Ronald Reagan has held so few press conferences."

"If Biden can’t vanquish a worthy Democrat in primary season, he has no business entering the general," Shafer wrote. "The onus should be on Biden to prove he’s mentally and physically nimble enough to do the job for another term before he’s allowed to run against the best the Republicans have to offer."

Days later, The Atlantic contributing writer Eliot Cohen went even further, urging Biden to "step aside" because he "has no business running for president at age 80," arguing "clinging to office in old age is selfish." 

The media's rumblings about the president reached new levels on July 8 when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd torched Biden, a self-described family man, for his refusal to acknowledge his seventh grandchild fathered by his son Hunter, who failed in his attempt to deny paternity and dodge child support in a years-long court battle.


"Joe Biden’s mantra has always been that ‘the absolute most important thing is your family.’ It is the heart of his political narrative. Empathy, born of family tragedies, has been his stock in trade. Callously scarring Navy’s life, just as it gets started, undercuts that," Dowd wrote. "The president’s cold shoulder — and heart — is counter to every message he has sent for decades, and it’s out of sync with the America he wants to continue to lead."

Dowd's piece ignited an entire news cycle and many credit her stunning takedown of Biden to his sudden acknowledgment of his granddaughter three weeks later

Cornell Law School professor and media critic William Jacobson said "powers that be in the Democratic Party" will close the book on Biden when The Washington Post and The New York Times officially "turn" on him. Despite the harsh words from Ignatius and Dowd, Jacobson told Fox News Digital, "I don't think that time has come yet."

"But we are seeing increasing rumblings of discontent, and more importantly for Democrats, concerns about electability," Jacobson added. 

Attacks towards Biden have only mounted. On Aug. 12, weeks after Hunter Biden's plea deal with the DOJ fell apart in court upon scrutiny, The Washington Post editorial board admitted he had received "special treatment" from his father's administration. 


"Initially appearing reasonable, the deal turned out to include peculiar details suggesting critics might have been justified to suspect that Mr. Biden was being given special treatment," the editorial board acknowledged.

The editorial board agreed with Attorney General Merrick Garland's decision to appoint U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who had been overseeing the Hunter Biden case, as special counsel. The paper also said that while "the record" has yet to show any criminal activity from President Biden himself, his behavior "was not spotless," either. 

CNN, a liberal network that was elated by President Trump's defeat in 2020, went wall-to-wall with coverage of its poll showing Biden's approval rating tanking to 39% with 67% of Democrats wanting a different candidate in 2024.

CNN's Dana Bash told viewers, "There is no way to spin this. CNN reads the country's mood right now and finds that America is deeply unhappy with Joe Biden."


On Wednesday, Ignatius appeared on MSNBC to explain why he wrote his column, saying "I haven't gone anywhere in the country, I haven't talked to any group of people where this issue of whether President Biden should run again hasn't been a centerpiece of conversation… and I thought that it was time to raise that question."

That prompted "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough to acknowledge that "every discussion" he and his co-host wife Mika Brzezinski have in their political circles includes chatter of Biden's viability in 2024 and make his own stunning admission.

"We often will complain about Republicans who will say one thing about Donald Trump off the air and another on air. Well, let me just say Democrats off the air will say 'Joe Biden's too old,' 'why is he running?' On the air? They won't say that. So I commend David for at least raising the question," Scarborough said.

Fox News contributor Joe Concha viewed the MSNBC exchange between Ignatius and Scarborough as a sign that "the green light has been given from the left: Get Biden out."

"The polling is horrific and unfixable. The president is only getting worse with age, not better," Concha told Fox News Digital. "Therefore, the polling will only get worse, not better."

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Biden was shielded from scrutiny during the 2020 election, especially with the media avoiding the Hunter Biden laptop story in the final weeks of the campaign, and was the subject of glowing coverage when he first was sworn into office after four years of news organizations being openly hostile to his predecessor.

The mood began shifting in August 2021 following the Biden administration's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was the moment his average approval rating among voters dipped below 50% for the first time and remained underwater. 

In recent months, as explosive developments in the Hunter Biden scandal have made national headlines, Biden sat down for friendly softball interviews that ignored the controversy altogether with MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, CNN's Fareed Zakaria and The Weather Channel.

Biden has also been hit with a string of controversies of his own making over the past few weeks. The president was slammed for repeating the debunked lie that he almost lost his wife, cat and 1967 Corvette to a house fire in 2004 while speaking to survivors of the Maui wildfires and addressing Hurricane Idalia in an attempt to relate to people's struggles. He was criticized for his inconsistent mask-wearing as the first lady recovers from COVID and for abruptly leaving a Medal of Honor ceremony early. 

He raised eyebrows during his overseas trip for comments he made at his Hanoi press conference, which ended with White House staff playing him off to music as he was responding to reporters. Biden also faced backlash for not attending any of the 9/11 ceremonies in New York, D.C. and Shanksville, Penn., falsely claiming on Monday he was at Ground Zero the day after 9/11, and releasing $6 billion to Iran, the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism, in exchange for five American prisoners, announced on the 22nd anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Matters only got worse on Thursday with the federal gun charges that were brought against Hunter Biden by Special Counsel David Weiss after what was dubbed the "sweetheart deal" that was struck between the president's son and the DOJ was tossed in court.

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