Jon Chait points out that in fact the media bend over backwards and twist themselves into pretzels to be “fair” to Donald Trump, which requires asking him really really really easy questions, such as “can you say that prominent Democratic politicians are not actually part of a Satanic pedophile cult?”
But that’s not an easy question for Donald Trump to answer, so the bar somehow has to be set even lower:
Imagine if Biden had been asked the same question. He would have had little difficulty saying, ‘No, the Democratic party is not the cover for a satanic sex ring.’ The reason reporters don’t pose this question to Biden is not because it would be too difficult for him to answer, but because it would be too easy.
Now, you might say the parallel isn’t fair, because QAnon is a pro-Trump conspiracy theory, which places the president in a more difficult spot. You’d have to imagine an equivalent pro-Biden conspiracy theory to ask him about, and they don’t exist. One response to this objection is that the lack of conspiracy theories that depict Joe Biden as the savior against demonic sex plots isn’t really Biden’s fault. If Biden’s political coalition was so detached from objective reality that a nontrivial number of his supporters believed theories that could be described as “clinically paranoid,” lots of things would be different.
Guthrie also asked Trump why he won’t release his tax returns. Trump struggled to explain, bluffing that he couldn’t do it because he is under audit (even though there is no reason why public disclosure would impact his audit). Nobody asks Biden why he hasn’t released his tax returns, because — like every other presidential nominee since Watergate — he has.
Guthrie asked Trump why he tweeted “a conspiracy theory that Joe Biden orchestrated to have SEAL Team Six, the Navy SEAL Team Six, killed to cover up the fake death of bin Laden.” If Biden had tweeted out a claim that Trump had killed somebody, and that person was in fact alive, he would probably be asked about it — a lot. Indeed, if Biden had tweeted a ludicrous murder accusation, it would represent a crisis for his campaign so dire that the press would likely talk about little else. His allies would be pressed to denounce him, and Democrats would be discussing ways to force him off the ticket. For Trump, it was just another item on the list of questions.
This of course is the problem with covering Trump. The scale and frequency of his offenses is so far outside the historic norm that it is impossible to measure him by normal standards. The only way to cover his lies and misconduct is to create a different, lower standard.
This is just a variation on a problem that right wingers face constantly, which is that since their ideas are wrong and their principles are evil, they get discriminated against a lot by any evaluative system which is biased against stupid and evil people.