Foreign policy expert details the reflexive ‘journalistic curse’ that’s ‘undermining’ U.S. democracy

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Foreign policy expert details the reflexive ‘journalistic curse’ that’s ‘undermining’ U.S. democracy
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Foreign policy expert details the reflexive ‘journalistic curse’ that’s ‘undermining’ U.S. democracy
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The fact that liberals and progressives — as well as right-wing Never Trump conservatives — were glad to see former President Donald Trump depart the White House on January 20, 2021 doesn’t mean that they believe President Joe Biden should be exempt from scrutiny. Many Never Trumpers who generally like Biden’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been scathing critics of the way he handled the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan; many liberals and progressives wish that Biden favored a government-operated “Medicare-for-all” health care system rather than funding Obamacare.

But Marvin Kalb, in an article published by the Brookings Institution’s website on July 21, argues that “bothsideism” serves no useful purpose for the media when it comes to Biden or any other Democrat. In fact, Kalb — a Brookings senior fellow known for his focus on foreign policy — describes “bothsideism” as a “journalistic curse” and stresses that there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to covering politicians.

“Not only does criticism not come in equal shapes and sizes, appropriate for all presidents and both political parties — a journalistic curse called ‘bothsideism’ — but, when unfairly applied, as it has been in covering Biden, it runs the serious risk of further damaging our still-free press and weakening our already shaky democracy,” Kalb writes. “The press image of Biden, president of the United States of America, has been whittled down to that of a doddering old man, wobbly on his feet and barely able to articulate a single thought without slurring. Is that a fair and balanced image of Biden? Hardly. But can the press do better?”

READ MORE: Journalist to ‘ageist’ pundits: Stop calling Joe Biden ‘too old’

Kalb points out that according to Washington Post opinion columnist Perry Bacon Jr., some journalists believed that because they did so much negative reporting on former President Donald Trump when he was in office, they have felt the need to show “balance” by going out of their way to write negative articles about Biden.

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