Why Must Christiane Amanpour Complain About ‘Consistent Underestimation’ of Biden?

News & Politics

In May, CNN (and PBS) host Christiane Amanpour gave a pompous commencement speech at Columbia Journalism School, declaring her love for an activist media and how it “can be a force for change and improvement in the world.”

But, like the rest of CNN, Amanpour righteously talks of “speaking truth to power” when it’s Republicans, but pampers Democrats and worries out loud when they’re unpopular. 

On Thursday, Amanpour spoke to Franklin Foer about his Biden book titled The Last Politician. Almost all the questions were designed to figure out how Biden can sell himself and be more appreciated for his buckets of achievements as he seeks re-election. 

Her first question to Foer was “What do mean calling Joe Biden the last politician?” Her last question returned to generality: “So, can I just ask you, you say that your respect for the president grew as you kept reporting this book?”

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In the middle, they discussed how Foer had underestimated Biden, as he insists everyone does: 

FOER: It looked like he was headed, at various moments, to a Jimmy Carter-like presidency. And one of the remarkable things about Joe Biden is that he is a creature of comebacks. And so, every time everybody writes him off, he somehow manages to find a way to arrive at his greatest successes.

AMANPOUR: You actually said, I viewed him as a bloviator who dangerously fetishizes bipartisanship. But you also say, the consistent underestimation of Biden was his diesel. In other words, his superpower. So, what is it that somebody even like you — who’s doing the deep dive! — you know, practically blew him off at the beginning?

Amanpour did note CNN’s poll found a large majority of Americans think Biden is too old to serve out a second term. Then her questions tried to overcome that concern and promote his “wisdom” at his ripe old age: 

AMANPOUR: His own team says that, you know, one of the benefits of him in this office is the kind of wisdom, experience and perspective that he brings to bear on these problems. It matters, but it tends to be dismissed. That’s the chief strategist Michael Donilon speaking. So, do you get the impression that this is going to be an issue or have they figured out how to deal with this and showing the advantage of it during a reelection campaign?….

Well, maybe by quoting Vladimir Putin himself who has reported to have said to Angela Merkel after first meeting President Biden when they had their first meeting, obviously, before the full-scale invasion, that Biden, he said, was much fitter than I expected, is what he said to Angela Merkel. So, I guess, you know, he’s shown and the world has turned to America as a defender of democracy clearly over the Ukraine, you know, Russia war. And I think the American people, by and large, support that.

The idea of Bidenomics. You know and you’ve written that he did a swerve from many former presidents who are more enthralled to the market, to globalization, all of those things. Less friendly to unions and the more progressive. You know, Biden has done a total switcheroo, right? He’s taxed the rich. He has passed all these big legislative, you know, bills. Job growth continues, wages are climbing, consumer confidence is rising, inflation and unemployment have both dropped below 4 percent. Does he get the credit with the people for that fact?

“Why don’t the Democrats get enough credit?” is a question that betrays that the journalist is a die-hard Democrat. 

This was Amanpour’s toughest question: “But let me ask you about Afghanistan, because it was early and it was a catastrophe.” She ran a clip of Biden explaining his actions. Foer then said Biden’s “never recovered” from it politically.

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