The Corner

Media

Our Ice-Cream Media

President Joe Biden eats an ice-cream during a visit to Cleveland, Ohio, May 27, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The media have developed a curious idea that every time Joe Biden has ice cream, it constitutes news. I cite:

I love that em dash, which sets off a portion of the sentence to indicate a surprise is coming but instead just continues down the same dopey P.R. path:  “Joe Biden likes people — and people like him!” “Joe Biden is a great father — and a great husband!”

This was one of dozens of similar examples of coverage of Biden hitting Wisconsin like a treat-seeking missile. In the rare moments when the media get to fire questions at Biden, they tend to be easily distracted by frozen props.

Politico this year granted anonymity to whoever told its reporter that Biden likes ice cream.

Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein can be relied upon to have the scoop on this:

Sometimes reporters provide anniversary coverage of their own previous reporting on Biden’s fondness for ice cream.

Sometimes the president’s ice-cream consumption yields a “takeout” or long, researched piece about not just one incident, but many.

To be fair to Jennifer Epstein, she was equally dedicated when it came to the question of what ice cream Hillary Clinton was eating or discussing at any given moment and often went into detail:

Epstein also feels it is important to report on historical incidents of Hillary Clinton consuming ice cream in previous years. This one is a 2014 tweet of a 2008 treat.

Jennifer Epstein also covered Barack Obama’s ice-cream eating, joining forces with Obama’s spokeswoman to get the message out.

Ice cream tends to be associated with high levels of approval, low levels of controversy, and extreme levels of deliciousness, which is why political campaigns often try to associate themselves with ice cream.

Reporters who join in pushing this association are effectively acting as unpaid promoters of the campaign or politician. Which is why Jennifer Epstein has shown very little interest in, say, Donald Trump’s ice-cream consumption. Zero tweets on that, as far as I can tell. Reporters keep telling us it’s their solemn duty to stand up to people in positions of authority. If they want to convince us they do so for both parties, ceasing to echo the gauzy, soft-focus communications strategy of the DNC might be a step in the right direction.

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