In stark contrast to Trump coverage, mainstream media gushes over Biden during inauguration

Biden "a man who gave Americans permission to feel good about who we are," said NBC's Chuck Todd.

Updated: January 21, 2021 - 10:58pm

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On Inauguration Day 2107, when President Trump took the oath of office to become the 45th president, The Atlantic posted a list of the stories they had written on the day.

Among them were:

  • Clare Foran on why some Democrats in Congress refuse to attend Trump's inauguration
  • Thomas Wright on the foreign crises awaiting Trump
  • Ronald Brownstein on Trump's declining approval ratings
  • Russell Berman with a guide to the business tycoons, generals, and conservative politicians Donald Trump wants to run his government.

In Brownstein's story, the writer essentially called Trump supporters dumb, country bumpkins as he said the new president "always seems most grounded in chaos."

"This combustible approach has touched a chord with his base of primarily non-college-educated and non-urban white voters who have felt eclipsed both economically and culturally and slighted by the nation's leadership," Brownstein wrote. "But he will arrive at his inaugural Friday facing more resistance in public opinion than any newly elected president in the history of polling, and with lingering clouds over his legitimacy — symbolized by the surprisingly widespread House Democratic boycott of the ceremony. Trump's agenda is polarizing enough, but the intensity of that opposition appears rooted even more in his relentless belligerence toward any critical voice or institution."

Within a few days, the only story the mainstream media really cared about was crowd size: Team Trump claimed more people attended his inauguration than Barack Obama's, and day after day, the daily briefing revolved around the momentous story.

But Inauguration Day 2020 was far different. The MSM literally gushed throughout the day, and as Fox News noted, "Everything from Biden's rhetoric to his marriage was complimented during Wednesday's coverage."

"What a great love story between Jill Biden and Joe Biden," MSNBC host Joy Reid said breathlessly. "It's a wonderful story, and we haven't had a love story in the White House in four years."

That, of course, stands in sharp contrast to how the MSM portrayed the Trumps' marriage. Yahoo News reported this big story just a couple months ago, headlined, "Six Times Melania Trump Has Swatted Away Donald Trump." 

Reid wasn't done. "God bless Joe Biden," she said. "This is a truly, deeply religious man with incredible compassion, and he's got a great partner in Kamala Harris."

CBS' John Dickerson — famous for asking then-President George W. Bush, "What would your biggest mistake be?" — gushed, "This is Joe Biden's day, but actually it's not Joe Biden's day. It's the country's day."

NBC’s Chuck Todd, who hosts the long-running "Meet the Press," called Biden "the better angel president," "a breath of fresh air" and "a man who gave Americans permission to feel good about who we are."

"Joe Biden believes," Todd said. "He's eternally optimistic. He's not cynical."

Biden, though, told all Americans in his inaugural address that they need to denounce the "racism, nativism, fear, demonization" that he said prompted the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by Trump supporters. Feel good yet?

"This is an address like no other," CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said.

CNN's Gloria Borger said: "Here is a man who gave Americans permission to feel good about who we are and what we can become again."

ABC News' Byron Pitts called Biden "papa-in-chief," while MSNBC's Brian Williams said the country is "back and under new management."

The Media Research Center put together a two-minute montage of the lovefest.

"These adoring takes are really just the tip of the iceberg as far as the praise TV journalists had for Biden's inauguration," MRC media editor Bill D'Agostino wrote. "It's not as though anyone actually expected TV newsrooms across America to cover today's inauguration objectively. But boy, did they lay it on thick."

The video included CBS' Margaret Brennan, who said: "I think particularly for all of us as journalists, it was really resonant to hear the president say, 'This is about defending the truth and defeating the lies.' Reminding us about responsibility in that. Seventy-one percent Americans right now believe that democracy itself is in peril. And I wonder how much that changes today."

But a new poll also found that trust in traditional media is at an all-time low and has dropped sharply since 2019.

According to Edelman's annual trust barometer, shared with Axios, just 46% of Americans trust traditional media. 

Said Axios: 56% of Americans agree with the statement that "Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations." Meanwhile, 58% think that "most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public."

Another finding was interesting, too: "While 57% of Democrats trust the media, just 18% of Republicans do."

Axios concluded that the findings indicate "that a newfound lack of trust is not just based off of former President Donald Trump's contentious relationship with the media and 'fake news.'"