Despite President Biden declaring he and his administration "outperformed" expectations in his first year in office, even some progressive media outlets have begun to abandon their public admiration for the Democrat as he battles a series of crises and consistently poor approval ratings.
While Biden enjoyed glowing coverage the first six months of his presidency, his botched handling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last summer sparked a public crisis in confidence and dwindling credibility with the press. Record inflation, ongoing supply chain issues, and a pandemic that is entering its third year have also contributed to more negative coverage.
The media's gradual disenchantment with Biden could be witnessed both in writing and on the air.
NBC's Chuck Todd opened Sunday's "Meet the Press" by declaring Biden is "no longer seen as a good commander-in-chief" and sharing the grim statistic from the latest NBC News poll that 72% of respondents say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
"President Biden’s news conference on Wednesday was designed to kick off a second year reset of his presidency, recapture his political identity, if you will, but our new NBC News poll suggests Mr. Biden does need a reset because he's lost his identity a bit," Todd said, referring to Biden's Wednesday press conference that lasted nearly two hours.
"He's no longer seen as competent and effective, no longer seen as a good commander-in-chief, or perhaps most damaging, as easy-going and likable," he added. "In fact, just 5% of adults say Mr. Biden has performed better than expected as president, one of the many lowest firsts and fewest in our poll."
MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle, who last year was dubbed "Stephanie Antoinette" for downplaying inflation and arguing Americans "have the money" to pay more, also appeared to have a change in tune about the administration as the economic crises persisted.
"You may be going home with a bigger paycheck, but that’s meaningless when your grocery bill and your gas bill are higher," Ruhle told a guest earlier this month.
A pair of New York Times opinion pieces similarly signaled a retreat from the commander-in-chief. The Times editorial board argued that Biden has added to his struggles by downplaying some of the nation's most pressing matters.
"Mr. Biden, however, has contributed to his own political woes. Through much of the fall, the president and other administration officials seemed to be downplaying the dangers of inflation," the editors wrote. "Mr. Biden’s insistence on this implausible narrative may be contributing to a sense that he is not taking inflation seriously."
Days earlier, the outlet ran a column from Bret Stephens with suggested "revisions" for the Biden administration. For starters, he wrote, the White House needs to focus on "American needs, not liberal wishes."
The Washington Post reported on Biden's "long slide," analyzing last week how and why he's hit a wall.
"Biden presented himself as an antidote to his predecessor, offering the promise of what his own campaign ads called ‘strong, steady, stable leadership’ after four years of bedlam under President Donald Trump. But the tumult surrounding the administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan offered an early glimpse of the cascade of crises that have badly eroded Biden’s image of restoring calm," the Post reported.
The media has reported weekly on the rise in inflation that has cut a hole in Americans' wallets and the supply chain crisis that has left many grocery store shelves depleted.
Frustration with Biden has also crept into his press conferences, where last year he made a habit of abruptly leaving the podium after important addresses on Afghanistan and the economy instead of staying to talk to the press. At one presser a frustrated reporter, CBS News Radio correspondent Steven Portnoy, shouted, "When will you answer our questions, sir?" as he walked away without providing more details about his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a follow-up tweet, Portnoy suggested too much time had passed since the meeting to still have such little information.
Even last weekend's "Saturday Night Live" panned the president for his lengthy White House press conference, joking that he needed two hours to "list everything that's gone wrong."
Then came Biden's hot mic moment on Monday in which he called Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy a "stupid son of a b----," delighting some liberal media members but riling some others who often criticized former President Trump for coarseness and belittling the media.
"I don’t think any president should be calling any journalist a dumb son of a b----," CNN's Jake Tapper told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Monday. "And to be fair to Peter Doocy, the question was fairly anodyne."
That isn't to say all of Biden's former defenders have abandoned him. Columnist Albert Hunt penned an op-ed published in The Hill that declared Biden's first year was "scandal free." "Let's Be Honest: 2021 Wasn't All Bad," his headline read.
Biden also appears to still have the loyalty of Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. She has not seemed to waver in her support of Biden, writing an op-ed last week entitled, "The media wants to paint Joe Biden as a failure. He won’t let that happen." In another piece on Monday, she blamed the media for focusing too much on "failure."
"Perhaps, he has absorbed the advice of many Democrats: Don’t talk about failure or things you cannot achieve," Rubin wrote. "You might not know it from the media coverage, but his first year still remains among the strongest of any modern president."