Embattled President Biden has been hammered by political opponents over the botched troop exit from Afghanistan that allowed the Taliban to seize control but something more concerning for the Democratic administration happened along the way: it lost the mainstream media.
Mainstream, corporate media outlets have long earned their reputation of leaning left, often overlooking potential damning headlines aimed at Biden while criticizing conservatives at every turn. But some of the media industry’s most outspoken liberal pundits and progressive news organizations have taken Biden to task over scenes of chaos and desperation as the Islamist terrorist group takes power.
CNN’s Jake Tapper opened Sunday’s edition of "State of the Union" by calling the situation a "tragic foreign policy disaster" that caught the Biden White House "flat-footed."
"That is, of course, a sharp turn-around from six weeks ago when President Biden called it highly unlikely that the Taliban would overrun the country, an assessment that even at the time struck many experts in Biden’s own administration as unrealistic," Tapper said. "Now, as American diplomats rush to shred embassy documents and escape, it seems shocking that President Biden could have been so wrong."
Mainstream news outlets played footage of Biden’s July 8 poorly aged claim that helicopters wouldn’t be needed to save anyone from the U.S. embassy, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken was roasted for a series of Sunday morning interviews in which he dodged questions and played defense.
NBC’s Chuck Todd even told Blinken that previous comments about Afghanistan didn’t age well.
The Atlantic published a story headlined, "Biden’s Betrayal of Afghans Will Live in Infamy," which declared the burden of shame for the debacle falls on Biden.
CNN’s presidential historian Tim Naftali was one of many observers to compare the situation to the infamous fall of Saigon.
"This is the Saigon moment for President Biden and this will be an albatross around his neck for the rest of time," Naftali said.
The New York Times senior writer David E. Sanger wrote that Biden "came to office with more foreign policy experience than any president in recent memory" but still managed to put a stain on his legacy with poor execution.
"Biden will go down in history, fairly or unfairly, as the president who presided over a long-brewing, humiliating final act in the American experiment in Afghanistan," Sanger wrote. "Even many of Mr. Biden’s allies who believe he made the right decision to finally exit a war that the United States could not win and that was no longer in its national interest concede he made a series of major mistakes in executing the withdrawal."
As devastating images from Afghanistan dominated the news cycle, Biden began taking heat for remaining silent on the situation. Biden has faced criticism for remaining on vacation and White House press secretary Jen Psaki has also been unreachable. No White House briefing is scheduled fro Monday.
NBC reporter Richard Engel told viewers the Taliban takeover shouldn’t surprise anyone who was paying attention.
"I’m not shocked at all," Engel said on Sunday from Kabul.
"I thought Kabul was going to fall right around now. That was just a gut instinct. I think lots of people that I spoke to believe that," he continued. "It was well-known that the security services were collapsing a month, two months ago, three months ago. So this feigned surprise that, maybe it’s genuine surprise, but if it is, I don’t understand what it’s based on. It was quite clear that it was going to come to this, when you started to see the Taliban take territory without having to fight months ago."
Meanwhile, the White House has only broken its silence to share a picture of the president being briefed on the situation by senior officials. Biden did not address the nation Sunday night, instead opting to take up the issue in the "next few days" as he remains at Camp David.
By Monday morning, reliably liberal CNN’s on-screen chyron said, "STILL NO REMARKS BY BIDEN AS AFGSNISTAN FALLS TO TALIBAN" and MSNBC’s website featured a headline, "Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan charade."
CNN’s John Berman scolded the Biden administration for everything it botched regarding Afghanistan.
"Whether or not one agrees with the president’s decision to withdraw all U.S. Troops, there’s no question the White House was wrong about the length of time they had. Wrong about the strength of the Afghan military. Wrong about the reach of the Taliban," Berman said.
CBS reporter Kathryn Watson tweeted the transcript of a July 8 press conference when Biden told reporters the Afghan government and its leadership "clearly" had the capacity to sustain the government in place.
Longtime CBC News White House correspondent Mark Knoller added to the criticism.
"Though Camp David fully equipped as a presidential command center, Biden seems out of touch there in response to Afghanistan," Knoller tweeted. "Bad optics."
Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report.