Home / General / Are there two major party candidates running for president? Views differ

Are there two major party candidates running for president? Views differ

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As Margaret Sullivan observes, the questions raised about Joe Biden’s health and cognitive fitness are a real story. But that doesn’t excuse the extent to which Trump has largely disappeared from media coverage — after all, being convicted of felonies, being accused of raping children, etc. are also very major studies that aren’t getting anything like the level of coverage that Biden’s age is:

It’s possible for two conflicting ideas to be true at once.

And so it is with the mainstream media’s unrelenting focus on Joe Biden’s mental acuity, following his terrible debate performance earlier this month.

First truth: the president’s stumble and the political fallout that followed is a huge, consequential news story that deserves a lot of coverage.

Second truth: the media coverage is overkill – not only too much in quantity and too breathless in tone, but also taking up so much oxygen that a story even more important is shoved to the back burner.

That bigger story, of course, is the former president’s appalling unfitness for office, not only because he tried to overturn a legitimate election and is a felon, out on bail and awaiting sentencing, but because of things he has said and done in very recent weeks. As just one example, he claimed that he doesn’t know anything about Project 2025, the radical rightwing plan hatched by some of his closest allies to begin dismantling our democracy if he wins another term.

Trump’s disavowal is a ridiculous lie, but I doubt most members of the public know anything about it, nor do they likely know much – if anything – about Project 2025.

But anyone following mainstream media coverage could not miss knowing about the latest polls on whether Biden should step aside, how Kamala Harris would fare in a head-to-head competition with Trump, and which members of Congress have called for a new Democratic nominee.

I think Greg Sargent’s point that Biden’s age has left the orbit of being a major story to being an outright crusade, with straight news reporters feeling free to editorialize. I’m not sure we’ve seen anything like this at the Times in particular since their evangelism for the Iraq War:

You will also remember that one of the central talking points raised by defenders of James Comey and EMAILS! in 2016 was that Clinton was the prohibitive frontrunner, so it was critical to subject her to a particularly high level of scrutiny. Well, Trump has been leading the the polls for a while now, and yet you could read the nation’s major news sites over the last couple weeks and be barely aware he’s running for president, unless someone decides to falsely describe Trump’s position on abortion as “moderate.”

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