It comes with the territory, along with threats to sue if you publish a controversial story.
But usually it happens away from the cameras.
Con Presidente Biden, it’s increasingly happening with casa Blanca correspondents, sometimes on hot mics that by this point, the guy who was caught praising Barack Obama’s health law as a big blanking deal must know are an occupational hazard.
I’ve covered Biden on and off since the 1980s, and he used to like sparring with reporters. That suggests to me he is really feeling the pressures of the presidency during this very rough stretch, and for all his time on the national stage he’s not used to having every word analyzed and criticized.
The problem is he’s starting to look thin-skinned. And petty. There are a dozen different ways that a president can defuse questions he doesn’t like, from humor to deflection to all-out defense. He can even challenge the premise of the question.
Y mira, journalists sometimes ask obnoxious questions. Or unfair questions. O, if they work for television and are under the briefing-room lights, grandstanding questions. That’s life. Professional politicians and press secretaries have to be able to deal with it.
Ahora Donald Trump obviously went much further as president. He regularly called journalists morons and idiots, fake news and enemies of the people, which his base loved, and I just as regularly criticized the over-the-top rhetoric. But there’s a crucial distinction: The former president was covered with what became outright hostility–this was far deeper than Jim Acosta–and his way of counter punching in an effort to discredit his interlocutors.
Biden, by contrast, has generally drawn sympathetic coverage until recent months. And even the more aggressive questions he fielded at last week’s marathon presser were about his policies and performance, rather than questioning his character.