by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The great comedian Chris Farley had a recurring “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which he nervously and incompetently interviewed celebrities. “Remember when you were with the Beatles? … That was awesome!” he “asked” Paul McCartney in 1993, after fidgeting for a suitably awkward amount of time. “Yeah … it was,” replied McCartney, who played it straight.
That happened for real last Thursday, but without any self-awareness or comedy, when the entire White House Press Corps either effusively praised or more-than-gently handled President Joe Biden for the duration of his first press conference. Biden had his own struggles in the slow and painful press conference, repeatedly having to read off notecards to get through the few mild foreign policy topics, and occasionally getting lost in “rhetorical cul-de-sacs,” as Fox News’ Bret Baier kindly put it. But somehow it was the media performance that stood out as particularly cringe-inducing.
“[T]he perception of you that got you elected — as a moral, decent man — is the reason why a lot of immigrants are coming to this country and entrusting you with unaccompanied minors,” PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor, the second “reporter” to be called on, asserted Farley-style. Comedian J.P. Sears joked, in a sketch offering constructive notes for the “people running Biden,” that Alcindor sounded like she was worshiping a dictator, and suggested that reporters go ahead and leave the over-the-top compliments out of their questions.
Alcindor’s posture toward the inhabitant of the White House has not always been that of a very supportive fan. Her questions of President Donald Trump were always hostile, and never failed to accept Democrat narratives, no matter how false those narratives were. At this press conference, nobody so much as muttered quietly about her sycophancy. In fact, two more reporters riffed off her preposterous assertion.