Several major news outlets that are normally less critical of President Joe Biden have stepped up their scrutiny of him in recent days amid a chaotic pull-out from Afghanistan, leaving some seasoned political journalists including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to question why.
In a compilation posted Friday afternoon, Mediaite noted that CNN, NBC, ABC, and Fox News were among the media majors pushing back on Biden’s statements regarding Afghanistan in ways that left some observers questioning the sudden change after months of soft coverage regarding other issues and crises after Biden took office in January.
Earlier in the day, Biden was asked if he would green light sending American troops into Kabul to rescue Americans who remain trapped behind Taliban checkpoints, as British and French troops have reportedly done. But the president said he wasn’t aware of any issues involving Americans getting to the international airport there, where American troops are currently deployed.
“We have no indication that they haven’t been able to get in Kabul through the airport. We’ve made an agreement with the Taliban thus far,” Biden said. “They’ve allowed them to go through.”
But CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, who is on the ground in Kabul and has been reporting from there all week, told a different story.
“Well, we had difficulty getting into the airport,” she told host Victor Blackwell. “It’s very difficult. It’s not a simple process at all.”
She added: “Anyone who says that any American can get in here is, you know — yeah, I mean, technically, it’s possible, but it’s extremely difficult and it is dangerous.”
Meanwhile, ABC News anchor David Muir noted what Biden said and asked network correspondent Ian Pannell the same question.
“The president said he has no intelligence that Americans have been unable to get there. The question obviously, does that square with reporting on the ground?” Muir asked.
“I mean, just totally not,” Pannell replied, adding that in at least one instance, Taliban fighters beat some Americans “with the rubber fan belt from a vehicle.”
“It just seems the reality and the rhetoric are miles apart. I’m not quite sure what advice the president’s receiving, but the truth on the ground is that these people who are in fear of their lives can’t get through,” said Pannell.
On NBC, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel described a similar situation on the ground.
“President Biden just described a very orderly process, an American airlift that is going efficiently, that there’s a negotiation with the Taliban, that it may be difficult but Afghans can get to the airport and then get on these flights and then come to places like Doha,” Engel — who was reporting from Doha — said. “It is far more chaotic than that.”
Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin responded to Biden’s claims with disbelief, saying, “I’m having a hard time digesting what we heard because I couldn’t fact-check it fast enough in real-time.”
“There were so many misrepresentations of what is happening on the ground,” she added.
On his Friday evening show, Carlson noted the sudden criticism of Biden from major networks, as well as public disagreement from his own top officials.
“What is going on here? These are literally the people who got Joe Biden elected. He wouldn’t be president without these people. Now, just seven months in, they’re telling you he has failed personally? It does not make sense,” Carlson said after playing a clip of CNN host Brianna Keilar being highly critical of Biden over his handling of the withdrawal.
After claiming that CNN’s hosts are given their opinions by network boss Jeff Zucker, Carlson asked why the left-wing network was suddenly against Biden.
“Afghanistan is hardly Biden’s first disaster. As of tonight, our southern border has collapsed, the murder rate is spiking in our cities, the COVID vaccines do not work, inflation’s out of control, and the country’s entire population of school children hasn’t been educated in more than a year. All of that’s been going on. None of that seemed to bother CNN in the slightest,” Carlson continued.
“In fact, they reserved their energy to attack anyone who noticed those trends. But now, suddenly their anchors are weeping on the air because Americans are trapped in Afghanistan,” he said.
“The people around Biden are moving away from him, in ways that are not subtle. Why is this happening now? Was it always the plan?” he added. “Again, we don’t know the answer. But the signs are everywhere, and they’re strikingly obvious.”
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