You Be the Judge: Is This Reuters Report Objective News or a Biden Ad?

Let’s face facts here: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a pitiful record on race.

If it weren’t for the fact that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ performances in the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and Biden’s victory in South Carolina reduced the race to a two-person field, Biden might have actually had to answer for that history.

Instead, the Democratic establishment coalesced around Biden to avoid a democratic socialist becoming the nominee, and it quickly became apparent that Biden’s history on race was going to be swept under the rug.

Let’s also face facts here: Reuters has stopped operating as a mere wire service. While the venerable journalistic institution carries opinion pieces, some of its straight reporting is pretty much the same thing.

One report had Reuters wringing its hands over the possibility of a second Trump term and a 7-2 conservative Supreme Court majority, and calling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “a pioneering women’s rights lawyer before becoming a justice” who “has become something of an icon to American liberals.”

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Throughout the entire 2018 midterm election cycle, one of Reuters’ journalists sat on the fact that then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who was running for Senate against Ted Cruz, had been a member of an infamous computer hacking group known as the Cult of the Dead Cow.

And now Reuters is pretty much running straight-up Joe Biden campaign ads.

In this three-and-a-half minute video, which purports to explain the differences between the Democratic nominee and President Donald Trump on the issue of race in America, Trump is described as having “consistently downplayed the role of racism in American life while simultaneously making racist and xenophobic comments.”

On the other hand, the narrator says “Biden has positioned himself as a crusader for racial justice.”

Keep in mind this video was posted to Reuters’ main Twitter account on Monday. It’s not labeled as opinion or commentary, so apparently we’re not supposed to take it as such.

I give you Reuters in 2020, a pioneering wire service reduced to this:

The first clip in the video is Trump’s quote from his 2015 campaign launch about how “[w]hen Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.” You’ve heard this one before and you can tell what the tenor is going to be straight off.

Meanwhile, Biden is shown saying that Trump “is more George Wallace than George Washington,” referring to the former Democratic Alabama governor and arch-segregationist who ran for president four times.

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We then get to the protests following the death of George Floyd.

Trump, our narrator says, has responded by “focusing on ‘law and order’ and urging a militaristic response.” She goes on to note that Trump signed an executive order on police reform that effectively bans chokeholds in most situations.

But lo! Our hero — ahem — the Democratic nominee says the Trump administration is the problem, because of course!

“Biden has accused the Trump administration of lax oversight of police departments accused of civil rights violations,” she says.

“But the former vice president has resisted activist calls to defund the police,” she insists. Instead, he wants to spend money to hire more diverse officers and “train them to develop less adversarial relationships with communities.”

In Trump’s case, we have a dismissive and reductive view of his positions on the matter, calling his plans to restore law and order “militaristic” in nature. In Biden’s case, it sounds like she’s reciting the former vice president’s talking points off of a teleprompter, much like Biden himself would be doing if the topic arose during an interview.

The second point the narrator talks about is racial economic disparities, which starts off with a clip of Trump saying: “African-American communities have suffered under Democratic control. To those I say the following: What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?”

Does this sound like a Joe Biden campaign ad to you?

The context-free clip from the 2016 campaign cycle is positioned to establish the president doesn’t care for minorities the way that crusading pony soldier for racial justice, Joseph Robinette Biden, does.

“Trump claims he’s done more to help African-Americans than his predecessor, Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president,” the narrator says.

This is because of the not-unreasonable argument that black unemployment levels were at historic lows prior to the current health crisis, although she sounds unconvinced, judging by her language.

Reuters politics reporter Trevor Hunnicutt comes on to tell us, however, that Trump is often accused of making “comments that are racially insensitive, racially inflammatory, racist, depending on who you ask.”

The allegation that Trump makes “racially insensitive” comments” a) a debatable, if not outright false and b) has nothing to do with racial economic disparities.

Again, in terms of Biden, Reuters appears to have just picked some bullet points off of his campaign website — in this case, laws making it easier to sue for wage discrimination and grants to cities “that reduce discriminatory zoning regulations.”

And we’re done. Nowhere in this video could Reuters find the time to mention that Biden had worked with segregationist senators to stop federal funding for busing in the 1970s and then called his comity with those segregationists a sign of a different era of “civility” in Washington.

There was no mention of the fact he’d co-authored the 1994 crime bill which activists claim led to the mass incarceration of people of color.

They couldn’t even find a place for Biden sound bites from the 2020 electoral cycle — such as, “[i]f you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” or perhaps, “[p]oor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

And after all that, they couldn’t even find a place for the one clip I thought videos like this were supposed to have: “I’m Joe Biden, and I approve this message.”

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