Russians are bewildered by Biden’s free pass

By: Rachel Marsden

MOSCOW — “What the heck is going on over there?” That’s the rough translation of what a Russian cab driver asked me the other day upon hearing that I cover American politics. Average Russians have expressed bewilderment to me over how a country as important as the United States could be led by someone who seems so … confused.

And you don’t have to go as far as Russia to find people scratching their heads. Even a trip to Canada will do.

In Russia, the buck stops with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and everyone here knows it. That goes for everything from foreign affairs to the price of parking in Moscow. As someone who has been able to sit in and ask questions at the Russian president’s annual press conferences, it’s not unusual to witness Russian journalists tearing into Putin over municipal affairs that would normally be within the purview of city council. Yet Putin still offers a polite response.

But when Biden responds to journalists, are they absolutely certain that he’s the guy with whom the buck stops in practice rather than just in theory? Or is there an unspoken understanding that there’s a Team Biden that’s discreetly doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes? Because this assumption that bureaucrats are playing an outsized role in the Biden administration would certainly explain the free pass that Biden seems to be getting from the press lately — particularly compared to his predecessor.

With former President Donald Trump, there was no doubt who was in charge — if only because he kept saying so. So when photos of a bathroom at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, filled with boxes allegedly containing classified material, ended up in a federal indictment for charges of mishandling state secrets, there was no doubt about who would have given the orders. A flurry of coverage ensued — 291 minutes over four days on ABC, CBS, and NBC, according to Washington’s Media Research Center.

By contrast, a nascent scandal implicating Biden wasn’t even worthy of a mention after Republican Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the floor of the Senate and referenced an FBI document that emerged during the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into Biden family business dealings.

“President Joe Biden was allegedly paid $5 million by an executive of the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where his son Hunter Biden sat on the board, a confidential human source told the FBI during a June 2020 interview,” Fox News reported exclusively.

While the allegations against Biden are unproven, it’s not like that’s stopped rampant media speculation before. How many years were we bombarded with talk of alleged collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, which continued even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative report failed to find any?

For months, the accusations alone placed Russia, Trump’s entire family and entourage, in the US media’s firing line. By the time the underwhelming report was released, most people who had been following the coverage were already convinced of Russia’s meddling and Trump’s guilt.

With this new Biden information, the same kind of overwhelming media curiosity simply doesn’t exist. You’d think that it would, though. Particularly given that the US now finds itself deeply involved with Ukraine, as US taxpayer cash gets funneled to it via the US military-industrial complex under the pretext of fighting Russia. A “good investment” as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls it, or “the best money we ever spent” according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has long been jonesing for Russian regime change.

You’d think that the allegations’ ties to Ukraine alone would warrant at least a bit of curiosity about the kind of shady activities in which US and western economic and military interests have been engaged in Ukraine since at least the Orange revolution of 2004. “The campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes,” the Guardian reported at the outset of the unrest in November 2004.

A Biden scandal could, at the very least, be used as a news hook for Ukraine-related stories. Instead the media insists on maintaining a sole focus on Trump rather than on the guy who’s actually supposed to be running the country right now.

Not that the wall-to-wall Trump coverage is unbiased, either. MSNBC and CNN hosts recently said that they wouldn’t be covering Trump’s response to the indictments against him, if only because they were committed to airing only the truth and not a platform of lies.

Give me a break. They had no problem running months worth of wall-to-wall Russiagate speculation that turned out to be bunk. And what about all the gatekeeping they did during the Covid fiasco that resulted in the marginalization of information now accepted as fact, like the value of acquired immunity or the fact that an anti-Covid jab doesn’t actually stop infection or transmission.

Trump is a big boy who will get his day in court and can handle the media storm. If Biden is equally competent in his own self-defense, then why the double standard and kid gloves? Surely Russians aren’t the only ones who are curious.