Politico was criticized Friday after publishing an article suggesting that President Biden is finding out how much containing the coronavirus pandemic is “out of his control”, with critics suggesting the publication was conveniently resetting expectations for someone who vowed to “shut down” the virus during his campaign.
“President Joe Biden’s presidency hinges in large part on his success in handling the pandemic. But nearly a month into power, he’s beginning to discover just how much of that task is out of his control,” Politico’s lede stated.
The triple-bylined story delved into Biden’s efforts to engage with states on stopping the virus, reopening schools, and jump-starting the economy, with some governors resistant to the idea of far greater federal oversight than existed under the Trump administration.
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“Oh golly gee,” Fox Radio host Guy Benson tweeted in response.
“It’s a good thing he didn’t run on shutting down that virus or this might look like an enormous shifting of the goalposts on behalf of a friendly media,” conservative commentator Stephen Miller tweeted.
“As I have been saying since the beginning: it is a novel virus. It is very difficult to mitigate. It was always stupid to blame any govt other than the one responsible for it and still lying about it,” the Hudson Institute’s Rebeccah Heinrichs tweeted, referring to China.
Politico reported Biden aides have “privately fretted over the political danger of failing to meet their own self-imposed deadlines,” but critics have accused the mainstream media of trying to reset expectations for the administration with stories like the one published Friday.
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Vice President Kamala Harris and other administration members have falsely claimed they inherited no coronavirus distribution plan from the Trump administration, which shipped vaccines to states but largely left it up to them to handle getting shots into arms.
In spite of an increased rate of vaccination, Biden has lowered expectations for when American life can return to normal. On Tuesday, he said he hoped that the country would be in a “very different circumstance” by Christmas.