US President Joe Biden has paused on his way to a Christmas holiday break to demand more favorable media coverage of the nation’s economy amid his slumping approval ratings in the polls.
Biden stopped briefly to talk to reporters outside the White House on Saturday before boarding a helicopter with family members to fly to the Camp David presidential retreat in Virginia. Asked about his 2024 outlook for the US economy, he said, “All good. Take a look. Start reporting it the right way.”
The president has repeatedly expressed frustration with media coverage as voters continue to give his economic policies poor marks despite statistical reports showing low unemployment and slowing inflation. He complained at a White House press briefing in October that public perceptions of the US economy had been dimmed by the negative tone of media coverage.
However, a Monmouth University poll released last week showed that only 28% of Americans believe that Biden is doing an adequate job in taming inflation, and just 12% report that their personal financial situation is improving. His overall approval rating dropped to 34%, down ten percentage points in the past five months and the lowest level since he took office in January 2021. A Wall Street Journal poll earlier this month found that 23% of US adults believe that Biden’s policies as president have helped them, compared with 53% who say he has hurt them.
Monmouth polling director Patrick Murray warned that Biden may alienate even more voters heading into the 2024 presidential election by emphasizing improvements in economic statistics at a time when most Americans are still suffering from post-pandemic inflation.
“There is a political danger in pushing a message that basically tells people their take on their own situation is wrong,” Murray said.
The top-polling Republican candidate, former President Donald Trump, leads Biden by six percentage points in the 2024 race, according to the WSJ survey. A New York Times poll showed that Trump is favored over Biden by four to 11 percentage points in the five key “swing states” that are expected to decide the election.
Critics of Biden have mocked his complaints about press coverage, saying legacy media outlets have tried to protect him while incessantly attacking Trump. Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald noted that the Democratic National Committee was able to simply use NBC, CNN and MSNBC clips to produce pro-Biden commercials because such networks are “activist outlets, and their employees are DNC propagandists.”
About 60% of US voters believe that media bias has gotten worse in recent months, rising to the highest level on record, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released last week. Most of those critics see the media as favoring Biden. While 51% of respondents said the press was giving too little coverage to scandals involving Biden’s son, just 24% said it was giving the issue too much attention.
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