Home / General / A defiant Joe Biden plunged ahead with an overwhelmingly popular withdrawal, even though it was overwhelmingly popular

A defiant Joe Biden plunged ahead with an overwhelmingly popular withdrawal, even though it was overwhelmingly popular

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I checked and in the last ten days there have been 794 [!] stories in the major English language media describing Joe Biden’s attitude when defending his decision to adhere to the pre-existing treaty obligations of the US government by withdrawing all US military personnel from Afghanistan as “defiant.” Here’s a typical lede:

A defiant President Joe Biden called the Afghanistan evacuation effort a “success” on Tuesday, in a speech that marked the end of the United States’ 20-year engagement in the country.

What’s striking about this is that “defiant” is an adjective that would normally be reserved for a politician doing or refusing to do something in the face of immense public pressure. But in fact the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan is overwhelmingly popular across the political spectrum, and only becomes less so — although still popular! — when pollsters engage in egregious push polling. (“Are you in favor of withdrawing from Afghanistan even though it will put a bunch of terrorists who hate America back in power?” basically.

So in what way was Biden’s decision defiant? Obviously, he defied the foreign policy establishment, aka the Blob, and, even more crucially in terms of this question, a wide array of legacy media outlets that continue to serve as almost completely uncritical conduits for the views of that establishment. Therefore these outlets end up simply ignoring the fact that the opinions of their establishment insider sources are diametrically opposed to the opinions of pretty much all the people who voted Joe Biden, and a very large portion of the people who didn’t, and that consequently the only people Biden was “defying” were themselves.

The open editorializing by putatively straight news reporters on this subject is made manifest by, among other things, this sort of preposterous framing.

Note that these very same reporters are going to scurry back under the protective mantle of scrupulous neutrality, as soon as the possibility of pointing out flagrant right wing hypocrisy becomes part of the narrative, as of course it already has:

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