This is the Charming Video of Joe Biden and 10-Year-Old Girl That The Right (and NYT) is Freaking About
Right-wingers and other political opponents are jumping all over former Vice President and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden for”creepy” “touching” of a young girl at a campaign rally, an attack that is being amplified by The New York Times despite the fact that the video of the event shows this to be a complete misrepresentation.
You can Google the headlines yourself, but conservative websites like The Daily Wire, Twitchy, Gateway Pundit, and RedState are promoting the smear that Biden inappropriately touched a 10-year-old girl at an American Federation of Teachers event in Houston Tuesday night. One headline read, in part, “Joe Biden gets handsy with young girl,” while another said “Joe Biden Goes Full Creeper Again With a 10 Year Old Girl.”
The “incident” also drew reaction from Biden opponents on the left, like Bernie Sanders supporter Shaun King, who, like many of the outraged, appeared to be reacting to a written description of the event, and not the actual video:
What the hell?
Please escort this man out of politics. He doesn’t get it.
This is so damn creepy.
This may be a tipping point, honestly. https://t.co/QG4UzGqGzm
— Shaun King (@shaunking) May 29, 2019
The smear was amplified by The New York Times, which introduced its description of the interaction by writing “Mr. Biden did have one interaction that raised some eyebrows among online commentators,” which is a strange way for a newspaper to describe “people on Twitter who already hate Joe Biden.”
What actually happened, according to the full video, was that Biden took a question from a little girl who introduced herself as “BB”, and proceeded to have a thoroughly heartwarming exchange with her.
After introducing herself, BB asked her question, dropping a Pitbull reference in the process.
“Pitbull, the singer, always says we are the United States of America, not the divided states of America,” she said, and explained “I bring us up because Texas has many ethnic groups living here.”
“What do you intend to do to project a message of unity,” BB asked, contrasting that with the current divisive messages dominating Republican politics.
Biden said “You are very good, BB,” and asked how old she was.
“She’s 10 years old!” Biden said, and added “When I was your age, kiddo, at 10 years old, I stuttered so badly,” relating his difficulties with stammering.
“But the point is, even if I didn’t I wouldn’t have had the courage to stand up in front of all these people and do what you just did,” Biden said. “So you gotta make me a promise. When you’re president of the United States, you remember who I was, okay?”
Biden then delivered a minutes-long response about his reasons for running, citing the racism and bigotry he called out in his launch video.
He then came back to BB and said “But I’ll tell you what honey, what I’m going to do, if you give me an address, I’m going to write you a longer answer and tell you the exact things I would do, okay? Okay? Promise?”
“I’ll bet you’re as bright as you’re good looking,” Biden said, a remark that has been juxtaposed with the “touching” in many of these critiques.
“What’s your favorite subject?” he asked BB.
“Journalism? Whoa,” Biden said after BB responded, and joked “I better be more circumspect in my answers.” .
He then took BB by the wrist and led her to the back of the room, where the media were congregated.
“You see there?” Biden said, one hand on BB’s shoulder and the other pointing at the press. “The Washington Post, New York Times, all these guys. You want to go back and talk to them, okay?”
Biden then stood, and with his hands on the girl’s shoulders, said “And by the way, that’s one of the things that’s dangerous, this idea, you know, because these guys will tell you, I’m not always their favorite subject. But the truth of the matter is the reason we are who we are is called a free press, to continue to degrade them is dangerous.”
“Now that’s the guy you want to talk to, okay?” Biden said, pointing BB’s way into the press pen. “Somebody take her back to meet the press.”
It’s important to note — even though it’s obvious — that Biden’s interaction with this little girl was absolutely typical of any adult in a situation like this, that the hands on the shoulders were a normal comforting gesture to a child in a potentially stressful situation. And if BB was anything but thrilled at having her precocious passion for journalism indulged, she did not show it.
As pretty much all of those jumping on the former VP noted, Biden has been dogged by accusations of inappropriate — but non-sexual — touching since the days before his campaign launched. And to be fair, Biden has repeatedly botched his handling of those allegations, even joking about them at an event during the height of the controversy.
Consequently, there are many people with good-faith reasons to be disturbed by the issue, and by Biden’s handling of it. But the controversy has also brought with it an effort to read into innocent interactions, and more bad-faith criticism than you can shake a tiny mushroom at.
This appears to be a combination of the two.
Biden has, without a doubt, brought this type of scrutiny on himself, but that doesn’t relieve journalists — or even just people of good faith — of their duty to fairness.
Watch the full interaction above, via AFT.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.