Networks Erase Biden’s Reckless Okay of a ‘Minor Incursion’ By Russia

February 23rd, 2022 9:30 AM

Now that Russia has officially invaded Ukraine, and even the White House is using that term, it’s time for responsible media outlets to ask serious questions whether Joe Biden's “minor incursion” gaffe emboldened Russia and Vladimir Putin.

During a rare press conference on January 19, 2022, the President blundered with this quote: “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we have to fight about what to do and not do.”

But in the wake of the invasion,  the morning and evening newscasts on Tuesday and morning shows on Wednesday buried the disastrous remark. 



On Tuesday morning, the morning networks played Biden defender, refusing to blame him for Putin’s invasion. But again, no mention of the “minor incursion” gaffe. However, when the President actually made the comment, the network evening newscasts were shocked. On the January 19 World News Tonight, reporter Ian Pannell hammered Biden:



I think there were many gasps of breath here in Kyiv and across European Capitols when the President said that he thought that perhaps Russia would cross that border. In other words, that Russia would invade.

In a follow-up question at the actual press conference, ABC reporter Alexandra Alper demanded of Biden: “Are you effectively giving Putin permission to make a small incursion into the country?”

On the January 19 CBS Evening News, Margaret Brennan warned, “This could be interpreted as minimizing the type of attack or putting limits on what the U.S. may do.” On that day's NBC Nightly News, Richard Engel wondered, “officials in this country and very likely in Russia tonight are wondering did President Biden just give Vladimir Putin a green light to launch an invasion into or around them?”

Journalists were rightly disturbed by Biden’s reckless talk on January 19th. Now that the invasion has actually happened, they need to bring up the “minor incursion” gaffe again.