Donald Trump, Goodyear, AZ
President Donald J. Trump speaking at a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally in Goodyear, AZ. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Donald Trump wants to make Joe Biden's purported mental decline an issue in the 2024 election — but the former president's own "senior moments" rarely get the same attention from the media.

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Donald Trump talks a lot, and he clearly has former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on his mind. Therefore, it is not overly surprising that he confused his rival for the GOP nomination with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a speech Friday night. 

No big whoop, really. Who hasn’t forgotten a name or confused people? That’s right, nobody. And Trump tends to do this when he is thinking about somebody a lot. For example, he has confused Presidents Joe Biden and Barack Obama in the past.

The only reason the former president’s latest flub should be news is that Trump’s campaign is trying to make Biden’s age (and supposed mental decline) an issue in the 2024 race. In reality, it is Trump who has more “senior moments.” Granted, he also speaks a lot more in public, but it is noticeable how confused he often seems. 

Still, while it is fair to cover this story, especially because the former president frequently brags about his intelligence and performance in cognitive tests, it’s really no big deal.

It should be noted, of course, that if Biden were to confuse Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who is half-heartedly challenging the incumbent for the Democratic nomination, it would be the nonstop topic on Fox News and other right-wing news outlets for days.

But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the media should be engaged in this type of journalistic malpractice… especially when reporters should focus much more on Trump’s mental illness

Therefore, an informative article should say something like this: “Donald Trump, who has repeatedly claimed that President Joe Biden is in a state of mental decline, on Friday confused…”

It tells readers that a thing happened, puts it in context, and explains why it matters. 

But the media can’t even get that right. 

Take this story from NBC News.

Here is how it begins:

Former president Donald Trump appeared to mistakenly refer to GOP rival Nikki Haley instead of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, when discussing the Jan. 6 riot at a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Friday night. 

“Appeared to”???

This clearly happened. It’s on tape! 

Here is another story from NBC News about something that happened at the same rally — Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) endorsement of Trump. 

Now, if NBC wanted to be consistent, the article should state that Scott “appeared” to endorse the former president.

Of course, that would be preposterous since he clearly made that endorsement. 

This may seem like a small thing, but it shows that the mainstream media is still struggling with how to cover Trump… and generally failing.

It seems that some news outlets are bending over backwards not to offend his base. At the same time, the right-wing media is a well-oiled propaganda machine working tirelessly on Trump’s behalf.

Both of these are a disservice to democracy — the former probably unintentionally and the latter definitely with intent.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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