Joe Biden's campaign announced another "lid" on Monday morning, during which it is avoiding all contact with reporters leading up to the Thursday-night debate. Biden acts like each reporter is highly contagious with the coronavirus.
On Oct. 16, CBS News 2020 campaign reporter Bo Erickson asked a very mild question about what is apparently supposed to be a forbidden topic: the Biden family's financial wheeling and dealing. "Mr. Biden, what is your response to the New York Post story about your son, sir?" he asked.
Biden lashed out as if the CBS guy were somehow from Fox News, saying, "I knew you'd ask it. I have no response. It's another smear campaign, right up your alley. They're the questions you always ask."
This is remarkably similar to last fall, when Fox's Peter Doocy dared to ask about Hunter Biden's gigs: "Mr. Vice President, how many times have you ever spoken to your son about his overseas business dealings?" Biden claimed, "I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings." That was implausible then, and it's ridiculous now. The New York Post report puts Joe Biden in a meet-and-greet with a top executive at the corrupt Ukrainian oil company Burisma when Hunter was on the board.
When Doocy continued, Biden yelled at him: "Trump's doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum. And he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me. Everybody looked at this, and everybody's looked at it and said there's nothing there. Ask the right questions!"
Translation: "The right questions" never unspool anything having to do with the Biden clan's lucrative and suspicious lobbying based on their government connections.
Almost no one objected to Biden disparaging the CBS reporter. On Twitter, CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid threw out the worst insult, comparing Biden to Trump: "Biden adopts Trump playbook -- attacking pool reporter ... for asking about Hunter Biden story which has been a focus of President Trump's campaign over past few days. Fine to attack the story, but why personally insult Bo?"
Reid added that she disdains the story: "My @CBSEveningNews report clearly lays out warnings about Giuliani & Russian disinformation. But we cannot normalize insulting reporters for asking questions."
The liberals are already crying "false equivalence." Well, yes, the obvious difference is that the press corps is overwhelmingly pro-Biden, so yelling at reporters is like yelling at your own supporters. He can't be a budding authoritarian when he assaults reporters, because the oddball who throws a hardball isn't representative of the media as a whole.
They might also scream "false equivalence" in comparing the financial jockeying of Biden's children to the business of the Trump children. The left has been screaming for five years about the Trump progeny and the emoluments clause, but now it's off limits for Biden.
This is a wider story. Take the candidate's brother Frank Biden. In January, the ABC News website wrote a report headlined "How Frank Biden leveraged his famous name for business gain." ABC's TV coverage? Zero. Naturally, Joe Biden was quoted offering this false protest: "I have never discussed with my son or my brother or anyone else anything having to do with their businesses, period."
Then there's his son-in-law, Howard Krein. On Oct. 13, a Politico headline read, "Biden's son-in-law advises campaign on pandemic while investing in Covid-19 startups." That didn't break through either.
The campaign is almost over, and do you recall all the investigative journalism that's been done on these family financial ties? Biden can lie and deny, and most reporters just let him vanish into the basement.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.