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Biden & His Times

joe biden
At a deeper level, the rift may expose some of the anxieties and vulnerabilities of both the Biden campaign and the Times (and, perhaps, Politico, too) at an uncertain moment in politics and media. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
April 26, 2024

On Thursday, in anticipation of White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend and the rolling canapé and conversation-starter circuit, Politico channeled a little bit of its devilish, late-aughts, shit-stirring character. The now-establishmentarian, Axel-owned, former media wunderkind published a lengthy magazine piece, written by Eli Stokols, chronicling the “petty feud” between the Biden White House and The New York Times. As Stokols perceptively noted, Bidenworld, itself a touchy place, has long chafed at the newspaper’s treatment of their principal—particularly when it comes to coverage of his age and fitness. Sure, the Times can be a bit smug, but so can the White House. Anyway, at least ostensibly, it was a perfect idea for a Politico story.

As always, the story behind the story—as well as the response from the Times, the White House, and the Washington chattering classes—reveals quite a bit more. And yes, dear reader, I recognize we’re peeling quite a few layers into the metaphorical onion. Nevertheless, at a deeper level, the rift may expose some of the anxieties and vulnerabilities of both the Biden campaign and the Times (and, perhaps, Politico, too) at an uncertain moment in politics and media.