Biden Loves TV for 68 Year Olds
If you like presidential candidates obsessed with cable news shows for 68-year-olds, 2024 is the election for you.
President Joe Biden has a longstanding “obsession” with MSNBC’s Morning Joe and is in frequent contact with host Joe Scarborough, often asking staff about segments, according to a new report in Axios this morning. The median age for MSNBC viewers is 68 years old, data shows — the exact same median age as Fox News viewers.
A cable news-addled elderly president having his reality shaped by acutely partisan cable news. Sound familiar?
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For four years, the news media made hay of former president Trump’s obsession with Fox and Friends, his cable news drug of choice. But we now know Biden does the same thing with MSNBC, demonstrating that he too nourishes himself at the cable news feed lots.
In contrast to Fox and Friends, Morning Joe is the “liberal” counterpoint. It is also yesterday media, catering to people who still pay for cable and want to feel like they’re informed about the goings on in Washington. Think Politico but for people too lazy to read. Morning Joe is the successor to Don Imus, the legendary shock jock (look him up) but unlike Imus, Joe turns apples into applesauce so that people with dentures can consume his banal chatter.
Biden’s obsession with Morning Joe is another sign that the president has no clue as to how to better understand or reach out to young voters. Youth support for Biden has plummeted in poll after poll in the past months. A New York Times/Siena College poll in December found that Trump leads Biden among registered voters ages 18-29 by 49% to 31% percent. This month, a USA Today/Suffolk university found Trump leads Biden among voters under age 35 by 37% to 33%.
Biden is 81-years-old, so it’s perhaps not surprising that he’s having problems connecting with the youth. As Senator and Vice President, Biden grew up on the day-to-day beltway titter and he still thinks it’s important. He is not only stuck in radio days and retreads of old media personalities, but he doesn’t really understand how to reach beyond the bubble he lives in.
I’ve written before about Biden and the youth vote (you can read that here). Take a look, by contrast, as to how Barack Obama took care to at least reach out to the youth.
Obama, who generated record youth voter turnout, had the White House conduct “100 Youth Roundtables” — 100 separate meetings with young Americans across the country to “participate in roundtable discussions about important issues.” Obama personally attended some of them.
The roundtables were put together by the White House Office of Public Engagement, whose associate director was Kal Penn, the young protagonist of the stoner comedy movie Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. (As a young college student at the time, I got a kick out of his appointment to the White House.)
That might not seem like much, but the Biden White House has held comparatively far fewer youth-focused initiatives. And the ones that exist are bleak, focusing on things like “national youth substance use prevention month” and “plans to protect youth mental health, safety & privacy online.” A crucial difference in these initiatives is instead of being in dialogue with young voters, they’re a one-way street. Well, that’s because Biden isn’t young, and he isn’t connected, and he doesn’t understand the world beyond radio and television. He hasn’t even taught himself about the new world, not even after watching Trump master Twitter and the social media age.
Without the youth vote, Biden can’t beat Trump. What is most glaring is not that most young voters are indifferent to the president. It is that they are starting to support Trump at a higher rate, which is astonishing given their policy preferences. Report on that Morning Joe: how every Biden spokesperson and campaign strategist appearing on your show is essentially spending their time talking to themselves, not to the voters who matter.
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