Right-wing media is getting apoplectic over President Joe Biden’s whispered response at a press conference on Thursday.
Biden was commenting on the quality of the “legitimate questions” he was being asked by reporters, mocking queries about the difficulty that employers were having finding workers in the current economic situation, still massively affected by the COVID pandemic.
Saying that he was being told “Guess what? Employers can’t find workers,” Biden transitioned to a whisper to respond to his own sample question:
“I said, yeah, pay them more.”
“Pay them more.”
— President Biden whispers in response to questions about worker shortages. pic.twitter.com/8OtMvzizFT
— The Recount (@therecount) June 24, 2021
Some commentators suggested that Biden employed the dramatic sotto-voce effect as a way of channeling his anger at being asked questions by the press that were so obvious and pedestrian that the answers were in plain sight and didn’t require much in the way of presidential insight.
The thinking behind this interpretation posits that Biden was seeking to avoid a repetition of his angry outburst towards CNN’s Kaitlin Collins when she asked him if he was “confident” that Russian President Vladimir Putin would change his behavior following their summit meeting — an outburst for which he later apologized to the CNN correspondent.
For right-wing pundits, however, the president’s whispered response suggested something entirely different and way more malevolent than one would expect having watched the footage of the incident.
Fox News contributor Sean Duffy said yesterday that he thought that Biden’s behavior indicated some form of diminished mental capacity.
“And to lean forward and, you know, whisper your answers kinda leads me to believe that there is some level of dementia,” Duffy slandered the president.
Sebastian Gorka, the former Trump administration official who now hosts a right-wing talk radio show, told his listeners that “He’s not functioning, guys!”
On Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, Dan Bongino told America that the whispering was clearly a “serious issue.”
“By any objective measure, the man is clearly compromised,” Bongino said to Hannity.
Other Fox News hosts piled on the president as well.
“What an utter embarrassment he is,” commentator Steve Hilton described the president.
Another contributor, Sara Carter, urged her viewers to “Listen to Biden and let me know if you’re feeling scared,” without ever specifiying exactly what was so frightening.
Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, apparently having spent too much time reading the U.S. intelligence community’s recent report detailing its findings about UFOs, inexplicably claimed that Biden’s whispering meant that he was now an “alien.”
Despite the right-wing media’s cynical attempts to cast doubt on the mental competency of Joe Biden, their efforts seem to be falling on deaf ears.
With Biden’s approval rating currently at 52.7%, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, compared to the 38.6% approval rating that Donald Trump achieved at the same point in his presidency, the message being relentlessly pressed over conservative media seems overwhelmed by the public’s positive response to the Biden agenda and his competency in his handling of the pandemic response.
At least one media outlet not only rejected the idea that Biden’s whispered answer indicated any form of mental deterioration but saw his calm and serene response as a trendy incorporation of AMSR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) video techniques meant to elicit tingles down your spine.
The Daily Show‘s editors put together and posted a megamix of Joe Biden whispers to Twitter that will hopefully induce some paresthesia in the bodies of his supporters. You can view the results below.
Joe Biden ASMR pic.twitter.com/ldJgMu4fJe
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) June 25, 2021
If you don’t get shivers down your spine, you can always use The Daily Show‘s video to help lull you to sleep.
Original reporting by Zachary Petrizzo at Salon.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.