State-Run TV: Geoff Bennett's Pre-State of the Union Softballs for KJP on PBS

March 7th, 2024 11:18 AM

The PBS NewsHour was comfy-friendly territory for Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday night in her State of the Union preview. PBS anchor Geoff Bennett and Jean-Pierre were both MSNBC regulars a few years back.

The whole interview sounded like a Democrat strategy session. How does Biden use this speech to beat Trump? It's allegedly a speech appealing for "unity," but it's a campaign speech?

Bennett began by declaring the speech is "essentially the hard launch of his reelection campaign. And this is a president who is facing sinking poll numbers, concerns about his age, a progressive base that's been splintered over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. How is the president aiming to use this speech to address those concerns, while also conveying his vision for the future?"

Here's how you define softball interview: Jean-Pierre was then allowed to speak for 358 words (almost two minutes), about women's reproductive health "under attack," democracy "under attack," blah blah blah, before they edited into the next question.


Bennett's follow-up? More talk among Bennett and his fellow Democrats: 

BENNETT: I have spoken with Democrats, Karine, supporters of his, who make the case that in some ways what matters more than what the president says is how he says it. Does he appear energetic? Does he appear to be vigorous, given the fact that poll after poll shows that majorities of Americans have serious concerns about his age? How attuned is the White House to that?

Notice that there's apparently nothing Biden can say that suggests the Democrats are extreme or mistaken about anything. KJP offered the usual advertising answer about how Experience Delivers Results.

This spurred more Democrat worrying about how Biden's "objectively popular policies" aren't helping with his approval rating! 

BENNETT: And yet there is this persistent disconnect between the president's objectively popular policies like student debt relief… reducing prescription drug costs, capping junk fees, et cetera, and his underwater approval ratings. What's the White House's theory of the case as to why that is?

KJP basically thanked him for the softball:  "You just said it. Every issue that the president is working on is popular, whether it's student loans, whether it is making sure that we're dealing with gun violence in a way that really helps to save and protect communities, save our young people's lives, right?"

By this juncture, it might spur giggles that these Democrats just can't figure out Biden is so unpopular, and why their "the people will come around" blather isn't turning out. This is the closest thing to a hardball (but it's not!): 

BENNETT: Hasn't the president been saying that for the better part of three years, that once the American people start to feel the impact of these policies, once the American people start to see these shovel-ready infrastructure projects begin, then they will fully understand the impact of the work that I have been doing? He's been saying that for years. Why hasn't that shifted?

The answer was unintentionally funny: "I understand that, but I also understand and we also understand that it takes time, right?" How much time does it take?!

This state-run TV echo was brought to you in part by the American taxpayer, including Republicans. And by Raymond James.