“Alternative” reality: White House on full spin cycle for CNN report on voter “exhaustion” with Biden

What happens when media outlets send reporters out to talk to voters outside their Beltway-Big Apple bubbles? Both CNN and the White House found out, the latter the hard way, in advance of Joe Biden’s bid to woo Pennsylvania voters back into the fold. Allentown residents sounded as though they’re still waiting for Biden to make their lives better, and talked about the “exhaustion” from pandemic measures and inflation — even though Jeff Zeleny and Allie Malloy appear to have exclusively spoken with Biden supporters:

“Inflation is frustrating. Filling your tank is expensive. Everything is expensive,” Bissey said, reflecting on the wave of challenges facing the country. “But it’s not just his fault.”

Here in Pennsylvania, where the President is visiting Friday on the first stop of his pledge to spend more time away from the White House, conversations with voters suggest an overall sense of exhaustion as the pandemic approaches its third year and still casts a shadow over so much of American life. …

“The fact of the matter is, I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said Democratic Rep. Susan Wild, talking bluntly about inflation. “People have seen increases in their wages, but we know that those increases of wages have not kept up with a higher price of goods. And so our job is to do everything within our power to bring down costs.” …

That sentiment echoes throughout conversations with Biden voters, many of whom express more of a mild disappointment with the President than an angry dissatisfaction with him.

There’s not a single quote in this CNN article from Republicans or Biden critics. Not one. Zeleny and Milloy did their best to limit the damage to Biden in this, and even so, the White House felt the need to rewrite it for CNN. Their “senior associated communications director” provided his “alternative copy” for Twitter consumption:

This is what happens when Biden’s team gets worried about media outlets talking to people outside the Acela corridor, it seems. Our friend Charlie Spiering couldn’t quite believe it:

Morrissey’s First Rule of Dating and Politics applies here: Desperation is not an aphrodisiac. (I have extensively field tested this rule, you can be assured.) The art of spin is a light enough touch to either make it humorous or to draw attention to some hostile bias. This is so heavy-handed as to make the Biden administration’s desperation for a fresh narrative obvious, plus it does nothing but attract attention to CNN’s sympathetic treatment of Biden. They went out of their way to focus on Biden’s collapsing number of supporters, and even the White House has now recognized that it still makes them look bad.

One could even say that the cat is out of the bag on Biden’s collapse in support. And when I say the cat’s out the bag, I mean a literal cat:

The New York Times headlines this with “Relax, America.” No, seriously:

She interrupted a campaign speech. Jill Biden wanted to keep her.

After keeping the nation on tenterhooks since even before taking office, the Biden White House announced on Friday that a gray cat named Willow had joined the first family, more than a year after the plucky farm feline from Pennsylvania caught the eye of the first lady, Jill Biden, while she was on the stump for her husband.

“Willow made quite an impression on Dr. Biden in 2020 when she jumped up on the stage and interrupted her remarks during a campaign stop,” said Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesman. “Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr. Biden.”

Willow is named after the first lady’s hometown, Willow Grove, Pa.

It’s an all-hands-and-paws-on-deck attempt at a distraction campaign, it seems. It’s not the first time the Bidens have used pet adoption to occupy the media while Biden’s approval plunges, but at some point that strategy has to exhaust itself. Right?

Perhaps desperation isn’t an aphrodisiac, but … it might be catnip to the media.

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