Matthew Dowd Defends Biden on Afghanistan Withdrawal, Says Media Coverage ‘Way Over the Top’


Matthew Dowd defended President Joe Biden on Sunday over the avalanche of serious criticism he’s receiving for the chaos in Afghanistan.

Biden has been criticized by correspondents on networks like CNN and ABC for claims he has made about the situation on the ground in Kabul.

Last week the president defended the withdrawal and said there would not have been “a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing.” On Friday the Huffington Post reported Biden and his allies are frustrated with the media for “hawkish” coverage.

CNN’s Brian Stelter discussed the coverage on Reliable Sources and asked Dowd how he would describe it.

“Way over the top and unconnected to a perspective on the issue from the beginning,” Dowd said.

“We should judge it on the data of what’s happened and not by anecdotes, and sometimes the press has a tendency to judge things by anecdotes and not the data,” he continued. “And the data for the last week shows Joe Biden has basically gotten 30,000 people out of Afghanistan without a single loss of an American life.”

Salon senior politics writer Amanda Marcotte said “there tends to be a bias in the press towards military intervention,” and said, “We also see why it was so hard for presidents in the past to pull out of Afghanistan. They were afraid of exactly this kind of press overreaction.”

Stelter asked, “Aren’t these reporters just doing their jobs, challenging the people in authority?”

“I feel accountability works better if it’s in good faith or if it’s rooted in something that’s factual,” Marcotte said. “There has not been accountability for 20 years for staying in Afghanistan. Over and over and over again, presidents have actually been rewarded for the bad decision of staying in Afghanistan by a press that kind of leans towards not ever wanting to see the ugly images of what leaving would look like.”

Dowd, who was chief strategist for George W. Bush’s re-election campaign (a few years later he said he lost confidence in the president), said, “George W. Bush is the one who should be lambasted the most in this coverage… The original sin of the problem we’re seeing unfolding and everything that’s happened in 20 years is at his doorstep. ”

He continued criticizing the media coverage by saying, “The voices they’re putting on the air are all the voices that got it wrong from day one. All of the voices they’re having on the air criticizing — most of them — criticizing Joe Biden are all the ones that got it wrong for the last 20 years. Leon Panetta, George W. Bush — he hasn’t been on the air but people around him — all of them got it wrong, so why would we listen to them related to the pullout?”

At one point Dowd added this:

Keep in mind one thing, Brian. 5,000 people, while this was going on, died of covid in this country. 500 people died of gun violence in the last week in this country. And not a single American has died on the pullout in the midst of this chaotic situation in a political hurricane, and I don’t think the press fully understands what the context is for the American public. So when you understand the context not only of Afghanistan but the context of what’s going on in our country, there is far worse crisis situations, including the assault on our democracy, that get forgotten about in the midst of this.

You can watch above, via CNN.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac