NBC News or Fan Service? 'As Trump Went to Court, Biden Went for a Bike Ride'

August 6th, 2023 6:39 AM

NBC reporter Mike Memoli has been one of the most flagrant Biden publicists in the White House press corps. On Thursday night, NBCNews.com published the latest example, under the headline: 

As Trump went to court, Biden went for a bike ride

The split screen on Thursday showed two men who might face off again in 2024 in very different situations.

This passage then came surprisingly late in this press release of a piece:

Biden advisers have long felt that an underappreciated part of his political appeal in 2020 was a contrast with Trump that went well beyond policy and party. They argue that this contrast in style will also work in 2024 — that as Trump continues his wrecking-ball approach to national politics, Biden has been heads down, more often behind the scenes and focused on implementing his agenda.

Last week, a fellow Democrat put it another way, saying Biden was focused on “normal” Americans while many in Washington were playing to “weirdos.”

The split screens continued on Thursday. While news outlets captured every moment of Trump’s journey to Washington for his arraignment, the only actual glimpse of the president was another early morning bike ride. 

When the 45th president of the United States emerged in public view Thursday, he was wearing a dark suit and his trademark bright red tie. The 46th president was seen earlier sporting a helmet, aviator sunglasses and a bathing suit with turtles on it.

Dan McLaughlin of National Review summed it up:

The illusion that Memoli and NBC are spreading is that Biden is "far removed" from his Justice Department's prosecutions of Trump, including this strange January 6 indictment. Summer vacations have created some worries about political optics, but...

But whether unintentionally or by design, Biden’s vacation agenda — bike rides, walks on the beach and, yes, even a date night — have served to illustrate what the White House has said repeatedly: Biden is far removed from the process being carried out by a Justice Department he technically oversees. 

Advisers were well aware that, as the Bidens were about to leave their oceanside retreat for what would be an hours-long date night outing, another Trump indictment was imminent. 

Trump was going nuclear on social media about being persecuted, and the Bidens were at the movies seeing Oppenheimer.

In a NBC News Now video clip accompanying the online report, Memoli explained he was repeating exactly the spin Team Biden enjoys:

These are the kind of split-screen moments that we're seeing throughout the week that are just so jarring, and frankly the Biden team likes it that way. They sort of enjoy this split screen of a president who's got his head down, focused -- well this week, his focus is a little bit on R&R, but otherwise has been focused on governing, while Trump has just been -- continued to be a wrecking ball in politics, very bombastic on social media and other settings as well.

In the Trump years, White House reporters competed to see which could be more bombastically anti-Trump. Under Biden, they compete to see which one can sound the most like a White House press secretary. Memoli is a strong contender.