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Saturday, 20 March 2021

Nothing to see here: How most of the left-leaning US media totally ignored Biden's Air Force One stumble - while the foreign press did their job for them

 Major left-leaning U.S. press outlets are largely avoiding mention of President Joe Biden's repeated stumbles as he boarded Air Force One, while many foreign publications are devoting prominent coverage to the incident.

As of Friday afternoon, the homepages of MSNBC, CBS News, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Times had no mention of Biden's stumbling incident earlier in the day at Joint Base Andrews. 

The news blackout was not strictly partisan, with the homepage of right-leaning One America News Network also omitting any mention of Biden's repeated tripping. 


Several U.S. publications did devote prominent homepage space to Biden's stumble, including TMZ, Fox News, the New York Post, New York Daily News, and Politico. The Drudge Report led with an image of the stumble and banner headline reading 'BIDEN FALLS AGAIN MONTHS AFTER INJURING FOOT'.  

Biden stumbled three times in a row as he climbed the steps to Air Force One on Friday, but many major U.S. press outlets were silent on the incident
Biden stumbled three times in a row as he climbed the steps to Air Force One on Friday, but many major U.S. press outlets were silent on the incident

Biden stumbled three times in a row as he climbed the steps to Air Force One on Friday, but many major U.S. press outlets were silent on the incident 

The New York Times and several other major US outlets had no mention of Biden\'s stumble on their homepage as of Friday afternoon

The New York Times and several other major US outlets had no mention of Biden's stumble on their homepage as of Friday afternoon

Even right-leaning OAN did not devote homepage space to Biden\'s stumble

Even right-leaning OAN did not devote homepage space to Biden's stumble


CNN and ABC News carried brief items on the White House statement that Biden was 'just fine' after tripping, and NBC News featured a link to a video of the incident well below the fold. 

And New York Times photojournalist Doug Mills did tweet a photo of the incident with a succinct caption explaining '@POTUS stumbles as he walks up the steps of Air Force One,' but was blasted with furious criticism from Biden supporters on Twitter.

'What the hell?' fumed media critic Jeff Jarvis in response to Mills' tweet. 'The stumble is yours.' 

Internationally, a number major foreign outlets featured prominent homepage coverage of the stumbling incident, including the UK's Mirror, Sun, Telegraph and Times.

Prominent news outlets in Spain and Australia also devoted homepage space to Biden's repeated tripping on the Air Force One stairs.

New York Times photojournalist Doug Mills drew fierce criticism from liberal critics for tweeting a photo of Biden\'s stumbles

New York Times photojournalist Doug Mills drew fierce criticism from liberal critics for tweeting a photo of Biden's stumbles

The Drudge Report was among a number of outlets that did devote prominent homepage coverage to the incident, noting it comes months after Biden injured his foot

The Drudge Report was among a number of outlets that did devote prominent homepage coverage to the incident, noting it comes months after Biden injured his foot

In contrast to the lack of interest in Biden's stumbles, mainstream U.S. outlets heavily covered an incident last year, in which Trump took mincing baby-steps down a ramp at West Point, which he later explained was 'very slippery.'

Although Trump did not stumble during the incident, it sparked rampant speculation about his health and criticism over his capacities, including from Biden himself.

'Look at how he steps and look at how I step,' Biden said in September 2020, in a clip featured on CNN. 'Watch how I run up ramps and he stumbles down ramps. OK? Come on.'

'Trump's West Point walk sparks questions about his health,' read one CNN headline.

'Trump tries to explain his slow and unsteady walk down a ramp at West Point,' a Washington Post headline ran.

Internationally, foreign outlets expressed much more interest in Biden\'s stumble than US press. UK red tops including the Mirror and Sun splashed coverage of the incident

Internationally, foreign outlets expressed much more interest in Biden's stumble than US press. UK red tops including the Mirror and Sun splashed coverage of the incident

'Unsteady appearance prompts new scrutiny of Trump's health,' read the headline of an MSNBC article, which also highlighted Trump's use of two hands to sip a cup of water at the West Point event. 

The contrast drew accusations of a double standard from some conservatives and Trump supporters, who accused the U.S. press of covering up the awkward incident.  

'I remember the press bashing Trump for touching the rail once. Biden falls repeatedly but I'm sure he's the picture of health. No wonder all our enemies are pouncing simultaneously and mocking him publicly,' wrote Don Trump Jr in a tweet.

Comedian Tim Young poked fun at coverage of the incident, tweeting: 'Media stories today: Far-right conspiracy theorists allege that Joe Biden appears to take a brief stumble while on the strongest and most powerful walk any modern President has taken up a staircase into Air Force One.' 

'Fact checkers: Mostly false - potentially manipulated media,' he added.  

Donald Trump Jr. said it was \'no wonder\' the US was being attacked by \'enemies\' Russia and China when Biden\'s health is in question

Donald Trump Jr. said it was 'no wonder' the US was being attacked by 'enemies' Russia and China when Biden's health is in question

Biden, 78, was boarding the aircraft at Joint Base Andrews just before noon for a flight to Atlanta when he stumbled. He gripped on to the railing, steadied himself and kept going but lost his footing a second time and then a third.

On the third trip, he fell to his knees. He got back up then carried on up the stairs before giving a salute at the top then disappearing into the aircraft.  

After Biden boarded Air Force One, reporters bombarded White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre with questions about the stumble during an in-flight gaggle. 

'We saw the president take a fall on the stairs, is he doing okay?' asked one reporter.

'Well, it's pretty windy outside, it's very windy, I almost fell coming up the steps myself. He's doing 100% fine,' Jean-Pierre replied.

A White House pool report was issued by the reporters traveling with Biden within seconds of the fall but it was not covered extensively by major news networks for around 30 minutes after it happened and it is missing from the websites of many major outlets. 

Trump struggles to drink water before hobbling off West Point stage
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Last year, media outlets including CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post were quick to say that Trump\'s ginger steps down a ramp raised questions about his health

Last year, media outlets including CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post were quick to say that Trump's ginger steps down a ramp raised questions about his health

Once he landed in Atlanta, President Biden remained on AF1 a short while until Vice President Kamala Harris - who had flown separately on AF2 - joined him on board. The White House said it was to discuss their agenda for the day. 

She then disembarked with him, walking behind him as he slowly descended the stairs. 

The fall does nothing to reduce concern for and speculation over Biden's cognitive health which was has grown in recent months thanks to a series of mix-ups on his behalf. 

The White House and Biden's camp routinely play down concerns about his health and insist he is fit to lead. 

Biden is the oldest President in history; Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office and he was 69 when he was elected. 

Trump was 70 when elected and was 74 when he left office earlier this year.  

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