Biden Criticized for Favoring Hollywood Elites Over Journalists

Exploring the President's selective engagement with the media landscape

by Nouman Rasool
Biden Criticized for Favoring Hollywood Elites Over Journalists
© Tom Brenner/Getty Images

In a recent expression of dissatisfaction, Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn spotlighted President Joe Biden's apparent preference for mingling with Hollywood's elite over engaging with the journalistic corps. This critique emerged following Biden's participation in the "SmartLess" podcast, hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes, marking his second appearance since November 3, 2022.

The episode was recorded ahead of a high-profile fundraiser at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, attended by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama alongside a constellation of celebrities. Haberkorn aired her grievances on the social platform X, juxtaposing Biden's repeated interactions with Bateman against the zero face-to-face interviews he has conducted with the majority of White House reporters.

This observation casts a stark light on Biden's media engagement strategy, or lack thereof, especially notable during his presidency's inaugural term. Biden's absence from the traditional presidential interview segment aired during the Super Bowl did not go unnoticed, stirring debates within his own party about his avoidance of significant media opportunities, particularly in an election cycle.

Biden's Media Silence

Further criticism has been voiced by Haberkorn's Politico colleagues, Alex Thompson and Tina Sfondeles, who underscored Biden's limited press interactions. They highlighted that within the first nine months of his tenure, Biden had only participated in a mere ten interviews, with none since the preceding Labor Day, a stark contrast to his predecessors' more open media engagement.

This situation unfolded against the backdrop of a $26 million fundraising event that featured not only the "SmartLess" trio but also celebrities such as Lizzo, Stephen Colbert, and Cynthia Erivo. The event, however, faced interruptions from pro-Palestinian protesters, reflecting a broader dissatisfaction with the administration.

The spectacle of Biden's celebrity-studded fundraiser was met with sharp criticism from both conservative circles and members of his own party. The Republican National Committee and former President Trump highlighted the juxtaposition of Biden's high-profile socializing against Trump's attendance at a wake for a fallen New York City police officer, painting a picture of contrasting priorities.

Even within Democratic ranks, strategist and former Obama advisor David Axelrod acknowledged the optics problem posed by Biden's fundraiser amidst ongoing street protests, suggesting a clash between elite liberalism and public order.

Despite acknowledging the potential tactical advantage of the fundraiser's proceeds, Axelrod's commentary underscores a broader debate about the role of public engagement and media accessibility in contemporary political leadership.

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