President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin had the media gushing, arguing that he had performed the most successful diplomatic mission of this century. They fawned over the body language of his handshake, while a former secretary of state claimed that Biden was a better diplomat than they were.
“I can’t think of a more successful diplomatic mission in the twenty-first century than this one,” said Joe Scarborough on Thursday’s “Morning Joe.”
Might he have heard of the Abraham Accords? Under President Donald Trump, the State Department negotiated peace treaties establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and four majority Muslim nations: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. The Biden administration subsequently encouraged employees to stop referring to the treaties as the “Abraham Accords” and call them only “normalization agreements.” It then lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials.
Scarborough might also remember that the George W. Bush administration’s policies convinced Libyan dictator Mu’ammar Qaddafi to give up his Weapons of Mass Destruction program. “Libya’s actions came after nine months of secret diplomacy,” reported The New York Times in 2003. President George W. Bush promised Colonel Qaddafi that, if he scrapped his WMD program, Libya could “regain a secure and respected place” in the world; Bush later eased sanctions against Tripoli. Barack Obama reversed course, sent U.S. troops to topple Qaddafi without congressional authorization, and turned the country over to an al-Qaeda affiliate.
Biden reaped the goodwill and unearned praise, not only of the media, but of former career foreign policy experts. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright hinted on Wednesday night’s “Cuomo Prime Time” that Joe Biden was a better diplomat than she was.
“Bilateral diplomacy is basically the working tool for how to deliver messages, how to really know what you’re going to say. And nobody is better at that than President Biden,” said Albright, who served as top diplomat during Bill Clinton’s second term in office, from 1997 to 2001. “He understands the importance of human relationships, of talking straight, and being prepared.”
“This was a very important summit,” Albright continued, because “we have a very different president from the one that [Putin] met with before, and a country where President Biden is making clear that we’re back, that he understands our value system, that we believe in human rights and freedom, and that we know that we have responsibilities. And he knew what message he was going to deliver. And he delivered it very clearly.”
Cuomo replied that the Russian president also delivered a clear message, stating that “Putin’s actually also speaking to the white-fright Trump contingent, in our country, as well.”
Albright went on to call the Trump administration “a tragic period in American history.”
The sentiment stretched into the next hour, as Don Lemon credited the president with defending democracy against all its unspecified enemies, foreign and domestic.
“Joe Biden knows full well that democracy is under attack — not only around the world, but right here at home as well,” said Don Lemon on his newly eponymous CNN show Wednesday night.
The fawning media treatment began before the bilateral summit ever took place. CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell said that Biden would arrive “at his first summit with the Russian leader with clear eyes.” On ABC’s “World News Tonight,” anchor David Muir told viewers President Biden was overly “prepared for this” tête-à-tête.
It continued from the very first second the two world leaders met and grasped hands before sitting down for their unexpectedly short meeting.
“You know, these moments are about moments,” CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto said in Hallmark style. He added that during their “handshake, Biden looked in the eye of Putin with a smile, and Putin looked away,” which Sciutto considered part of the diplomatic art of “public posturing and about how you project strength.”
Former CIA Director John Brennan similarly praised Biden’s intellect, contrasting it with that of his predecessor. “Unlike Trump, who was a novice, an amateur, and he stumbled through the issues … Biden is deeply knowledgeable about these issues and he can talk substantively in a way that Donald Trump never could.”
And the double standard continued until the last moment Biden left Geneva shortly after holding his own press conference. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd proclaimed the president “Professor Biden,” for his alleged desire to rise “above the meeting” with his Russian counterpart. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny gushed that Biden was so “comfortable in that moment, taking off his jacket.”
When Biden snapped at Zeleny’s colleague, CNN’s own Kaitlan Collins, he simply replied, “That was classic Joe Biden.”
The media’s reaction to one of Biden’s frequent flashes of temper, too, could not have contrasted more sharply with the way they covered Donald Trump. Last May, Aaron Rupar, Vox.com’s associate editor of politics and policy, tweeted a video of Donald Trump skipping Collins at a press conference when she did not respond promptly. “Trump throws a fit when [Kaitlan Collins] of CNN tries to ask him a question and abruptly ends the press conference,” he wrote.
Trump throws a fit when @kaitlancollins of CNN tries to ask him a question and abruptly ends the press conference pic.twitter.com/58AVZ9CABl
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 11, 2020
Rupar showed much greater understanding of Biden’s more heated, and more profane, dressing down of Collins. “It would’ve served Biden better to not lose his temper with Kaitlan Collins. But the problem with her question is she put words in Biden’s mouth that he didn’t say. Biden never expressed confidence that Putin would change his behavior,” he tweeted.
It would've served Biden better to not lose his temper with Kaitlan Collins. But the problem with her question is she put words in Biden's mouth that he didn't say. Biden never expressed confidence that Putin would change his behavior.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 16, 2021
One of the few people taking no part in the spin was Fox News’ Howard Kurtz, the host of “Media Buzz,” who said that Biden “hasn’t done much to take on Vladimir Putin, despite the cyber-hacking, despite the fact that the opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been jailed and yet he gets” a free pass.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.