Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign sent a note to top news broadcasters on Sunday that “demanded” they stop giving airtime to Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, in light of his unfounded corruption accusations against Biden.
The note, which was co-authored by top Biden advisers Antita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield, was sent to executives at ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC and included leading anchors like Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd and Chris Wallace.
“While you often fact check his statements in real time during your discussions, that is no longer enough,” the note said. “By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation.”
The note explained that Giuliani had repeatedly pushed the idea that Biden’s work in Ukraine was meant to protect his son from a corruption investigation, despite mainstream outlets including NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reporting that there is no evidence of wrongdoing on Biden or his son’s part. Instead, the note stated, Biden’s push for the ousting of a Ukrainian prosecutor was in advancement of “the foreign policy goals of the U.S. government, the European Union, the IMF, the World Bank and more.”
So much disinformation out there. Independent investigators here in Ukraine have told me, repeatedly: Joe Biden did NOT stop an investigation into his son. In fact, US officials, including Biden, were pushing for MORE oversight of the company where Hunter Biden was a board member
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) September 30, 2019
In response, Giuliani told The Daily Beast the note “sounds like the usual left wing censorship.” And in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Giuliani said Biden’s “enablers” were trying to silence him because he had proof of Biden’s dishonesty.
The note comes during a time of increasing tension between the Biden campaign and the media.
Just last week, a video of Joe Biden facing off with a Fox News reporter went viral on Twitter when Biden pressed the media to “ask the right questions” after being probed about his son’s alleged improprieties.
After that, the Biden campaign emailed news outlets saying that stories would be “misleading” if they did not include that Trump’s claims were unsubstantiated. The campaign also accused the media of treating President Donald Trump as an “assignment editor.”
The campaign clearly recognizes the importance of guiding media coverage and preventing Trump and his allies from controlling the narrative. When the controversy over her private email server engulfed Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, “aides reckoned with their inability to defend her from Mr. Trump’s conspiratorial accusations.” Four years later, Biden’s campaign seems determined to not fall victim to the same offense.
Senior members of the Biden campaign believe that the Clinton campaign did not adequately respond to the email scandal and that the media was instrumental in fueling Trump’s narrative. Therefore, Biden is determined to “work the refs”: instead of addressing the accusations about his son’s business dealings, he criticized the press for not focusing on Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
That highly scrutinized call, the subject of a now-famous whistleblower complaint, has in recent days become the impetus for House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Former Senator Bill Nelson, a Biden supporter, told The New York Times that the media failed to address the political context of the 2016 election.
“In the old days when the truth was something that was respected and the press could be a source of the truth, that was one thing,” Nelson said. “Now when you have a player on the political stage that will say anything and has been shown to not tell the truth over and over and over, freedom of the press means that there is a new responsibility of the press.”
It is not yet apparent whether Biden’s attempt to shape the media’s coverage will prove successful.