On Friday morning, President Joe Biden repeatedly fell up the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base and almost immediately, comparisons ensued as conservatives and Republicans recalled the liberal media’s wall-to-wall coverage of then-President Trump holding of a water glass and walking slowly down a ramp at the June 13, 2020 West Point commencement.
For CNN and MSNBC, the ordeal was treated like the 21st century’s Zapruder film. A NewsBusters analysis has found that CNN and MSNBC spent a heaping 50 minutes and 55 seconds (excluding teases) on June 15 reveling in the ordeal as a sign of Trump’s supposed mental and physical decline that had to be further investigated.
Excluding teases, CNN mentioned it on seven shows for a total of 22 minutes and 13 seconds. Never Trumper David Frum started it off on New Day when he said it was proof of his “physical decline,” which led co-host Alisyn Camerota to later helm a full segment that wonder if there was “something, possibly neurological” wrong with Trump
Dr. Sanjay Gupta repeatedly said he wasn’t going to speculate, but he did just that as he wondered if there’s “balance problems” or “numbness in his feet” because there’s “lots of unknowns” about Trump’s health. Later in the day, he called the ordeal part of a “concerning” pattern regarding his well-being.
The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman fueled the fire, hyping that “there are a lot of questions around the President’s physical fitness” that are entirely “legitimate.”
Inside Politics host John King touted it a few hours later, telling political correspondent Abby Phillip that Trump “looked a big shaky” in a sign of “balance issues,” leading Phillip to reply that Trump has lacked an “ability to sort of convey information accurately” and so it’s fair game to wonder.
Other offenders included Jim Acosta, Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett, and Kaitlan Collins, but the most hilarious character was none other than human meme Chris Cillizza, whom Brianna Keilar brought on so he could hawk his CNN.com piece “Why the Donald Trump-West Point ramp story actually matters.”
But when it comes to Biden’s struggles, CNN and MSNBC both accepted his administration’s excuse that it was a particularly windy day in the Washington D.C. metro area. Because when their friends are in power, friends don’t hang friends out to dry with such a concerning narrative about the Commander-in-Chief.