The New York Times attempted to put a new spin on a viral moment from last Monday when, during a White House event addressing the economy and the middle class, President Joe Biden referred to Fox News’ Peter Doocy as a “stupid son of a b****.”
Media dissected the confrontation for days. Some, particularly on the Left, agreed with Biden’s assessment and found the situation hilarious. Others argued that if it was wrong when former President Donald Trump attacked members of the press corps, it was equally wrong when Biden did it. Some on the Right voiced outrage, and others suggested that it was evidence of a double standard.
But Michael Grynbaum, in an article published Saturday, referred to the confrontation as “one of the most unlikely feel-good moments” of Biden’s presidency so far.
The spectacle of President Biden lobbing an unintentionally amplified expletive at a reporter from Fox News turned out to be one of the most unlikely feel-good moments of his time in office, our media correspondent writes. https://t.co/keU4cyjE6k
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 29, 2022
Grynbaum then proceeded to suggest that both Biden and Doocy came out winners following the exchange — but the evidence he gave to support his position made it clear that it was almost entirely Doocy’s behavior after the fact that rescued the president from a scenario that could have been much less flattering.
Grynbaum noted that within an hour of the president’s outburst, Doocy was in front of a camera laughing it off.
“I think the President’s right. You are a stupid S.O.B.,” Fox News host Jesse Watters ribbed Doocy, who replied with a laugh, “Yeah, nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it’s not true.”
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) January 24, 2022
Grynbaum then noted that Biden had called, as Doocy said, to “clear the air.” Doocy recounted that phone call in another appearance — this time with Fox News host Sean Hannity — noting that while Biden had not exactly apologized, he had called to tell him it was “nothing personal.” Doocy also pointed out the fact that he did not need an apology.
“It’s important — whatever people think of me and Biden — to see that we can have a quick phone call and resolve things, that he and I could just chat,” Doocy added.
April Ryan, White House correspondent for TheGrio, said that the situation illustrated the fact that “they were both adults. Biden did the right thing and apologized, and Peter was gracious and accepted that. And that’s it. The apology and then the acceptance and the moving on was the best scenario of an ugly situation.”
Grynbaum continued to suggest that the main reason Biden’s outburst, borne of frustration, parlayed easily into a “feel-good moment” was because it was benign in comparison to Trump’s claims that the press was “the enemy of the people”:
Mr. Trump not only viciously insulted reporters (“disgrace”; “loser” and “enemy of the people”), he also incited public anger against the press. His supporters sent frightening threats to journalists and in at least one case mailed a pipe bomb to CNN. Freedom of the press groups have credited his behavior with eroding the rights and privileges of journalists in autocratic countries around the world.
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