Vox reporter blames CNN reporter for provoking Biden, 'she put words' in president's mouth
President Biden complains about press: To be a reporter, you’ve ‘got to be negative’
President Biden complained the press was overly negative during brief remarks to reporters before boarding Air Force One.
Vox journalist Aaron Rupar defended President Biden’s behavior towards CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins following Wednesday’s press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, implying that it was her fault the president behaved as he did.
During a press conference after Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Collins pressed Biden on why he was “confident” he could change Putin’s behavior. Biden appeared to take offense to Collins’ question and reacted by telling her that she’s “in the wrong business.”
“Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior? Mr. President?,” Collins asked.
“I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior. What in the hell, what do you do all the time?,” Biden responded.
As Collins tried to speak, Biden spoke over her, “When did I say I was confident? Let’s get this straight. I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and diminishes their standing in the world. I’m not confident of anything. I’m just stating a fact.”
“But given his past behavior has not changed, and in that press conference after sitting down with you for several hours, [Putin] denied any involvement in cyber attacks, he downplayed human rights abuses, he even refused to say [Russian dissident] Alexei Navalny’s name. So, how does that account to a constructive meeting?” Collins asked.
“If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business,” Biden said, before finally walking away.
Rupar explained while Biden shouldn’t have lost his temper, Collins instigated the confrontation by putting words in Biden’s mouth.
“It would’ve served Biden better to not lose his temper with Kaitlan Collins. But the problem with her question is she put words in Biden’s mouth that he didn’t say. Biden never expressed confidence that Putin would change his behavior,” Rupar tweeted.
Earlier in the press conference, Biden shared with reporters on areas where he and Putin where in agreement like providing humanitarian aid in Syria. But the president also said the real test is how Russia behaves in the future to know whether their meeting was productive.
“We’re going to be able to look back in three to six months and say, ‘Did the things we set out, did they work?'” Biden said. “That’s going to be the test.”
Users on social media pointed out that Rupar defended reporters, including Collins, during the Trump administration when President Trump criticized the press.
Contrary to the Vox writer, several reporters came to Collins’ defense. New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi who tweeted “If you’re the most powerful person in the world and you can’t field questions from the media without losing your temper, maybe you’re in the wrong business.”
Biden later apologized for his behavior outside Air Force One, stating that he shouldn’t have been a “wise guy.” Collins accepted his apology, calling the act “completely unnecessary.”
Rupar further defended his stance by posting a video of Biden’s apology and reporter comments on his Twitter account. He also attempted to clarify Biden’s position in a tweet saying “On the contrary Biden stressed that while he can’t be sure how Putin will behave, he thinks Putin’s desire to not have Russia viewed as a complete pariah puts pressure on him to be more responsible.”
Biden has since commented on reporters having a “negative view of life” following his confrontation with Collins. “Look, to be a good reporter, you’ve got to be negative. You’ve got to have a negative view of life, it seems to me. You never ask a positive question.” This contrasts with recent questions Biden has received like when he was asked what flavor of ice cream he got while visiting Ohio last month.
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