Another column questions Joe Biden and his mental fitness: A recent column says it’s time for “a serious conversation” about “Joe Biden’s brain.” But that conversation has been going on continuously for years.
Joe Biden: The Mental Fitness Question
A column in The Hill, by Becket Adams from back in the summer, argues that it’s time for “a serious conversation about Joe Biden’s brain,” going on to argue not only that Biden may be in cognitive decline, but that “ the news industry as a whole is avoiding the obvious follow-up question, Namely, ‘Is Biden OK?’”
But this is nonsense. Because “the news industry,” even beyond its conservative precincts, asks that question just about every single day. In fact, that’s probably the reason why Adams knows about them.
The author also referenced Biden’s summer time statement that “we have plans to build a railroad from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean.” This appeared to be a reference to the U.S. funding for the Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor, which will build new rails through Africa; that will eventually connect the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic, rather than the Pacific.
Sure, Biden said the name of the wrong ocean, but he did not make up the idea of an ocean-to-ocean rail out of whole cloth. Biden was well-known for gaffes when he was much younger than he is today, and he’s far from the only president to misspeak frequently, as anyone who lived through the presidencies of George W. Bush or Donald Trump (or the vice presidency of Dan Quayle) can attest.
As for the idea, per Adams, that the media is ignoring the bigger picture of this issue, that’s not true either.
The fact that Biden is of advanced age, his health, and that he misspeaks frequently have been regularly discussed in the media since he first started running for president in 2019.
These days, mainstream media outlets report on concerns, both about Biden’s advanced age and his gaffes, on a nearly daily basis. Just about every major poll, whether of approval ratings or the 2024 election, asks voters about Biden’s age, and most of them report that some large percentage of voters have concerns about it going forward. The New York Times wrote a long piece, in early June, on The Complicated Reality of Joe Biden, America’s Oldest President.
As for the idea that Biden has an actual condition such as dementia, he has not been diagnosed with such a thing, and it would not be ethical for members of the media to diagnose him with such conditions from the sidelines.
There’s also a tendency for conservative opponents of Biden to exaggerate or outright lie about such things. When Biden appeared for an MSNBC interview back in June, there was an awkward visual of the president walking behind interviewer Nicolle Wallace as he exited the stage after the interview was over. While Biden likely walked to his right when he was supposed to go to his left, he did not — per various conservative influencers who posted abbreviated videos — “wander off mid-interview.”
Adams also lists Biden’s claims that his son Beau “died in Iraq” as one of his gaffes, but the president has long maintained that his son’s exposure to “toxic burn pits,” while he was serving in Iraq, led him to get brain cancer, from which he ultimately succumbed.
“Fast-forward to 2023, and we see the current president confuse basic world events, praise rail projects that don’t exist, mourn war casualties that aren’t real, wander around stages and TV sets as if he is lost and struggle to make it through speaking engagements without getting flustered or exhausted. Yet, despite the press’s normal reflex to ask whether the president is up to the demands of the office, we in the media have responded to Biden’s bizarre presidency with little more than a bored shrug,” Adams writes.
But once again, the media has been having this debate, constantly, for the last several years.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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