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White House press corps defends itself over coverage of Biden’s age: ‘It’s complicated’

Members of the White House press corps largely defended their reporting after receiving criticism for their handling of concerns over President Biden’s age before the debate. 

“To some extent, the decline has appeared to be gradual — hard to notice from day to day — and that’s perhaps made it harder for reporters to determine when is the right moment to write something,” a reporter, speaking anonymously, told CNN.

These reporters, among some of the most famous and well-connected journalists in the country, said that the White House has concerned itself with preventing stories about Biden’s age. 


“[B]erating reporters who bring them reporting about age concerns, bemoaning that it’s all anyone writes about (clearly, it’s not) and often attacking pieces after they run,” a reporter told CNN. “I think that’s left some folks to conclude that these stories are too painful to report or that they should pick their spots more. It’s clear the age stories that have angered the White House (and the liberal Twittersphere) the most.”

“They keep him at arm’s length, and he rarely does extended interviews,” a reporter told the outlet. 

But some reporters said that the White House press corps should have done more to report on Biden’s accommodations.

“I think the press, most of the White House press, did suffer from a bit of lack of curiosity,” one of the reporters said.

Other reporters argued that the stakes of the presidential election and the alternative to Biden, former President Trump, makes the question of having fairly covered Biden’s age a “complicated” one.

“It makes sense to reflect on this now and ask whether we missed or, really, under-reported the story of Biden’s age and decline. But it’s complicated,” one of the reporters told CNN. “The fact that the political alternative to Biden is an authoritarian who sparked an insurrection and is a convicted felon does not mean that the press is failing American democracy to focus on Biden’s obvious frailty.”

“Just because you are reporting on Biden age, doesn’t mean you’re not reporting on Trump’s lies. I find that argument silly, and it seems one design[ed] towards… producing a certain outcome in the election, rather than like an honest reporting,” another reporter said. 

A reporter also called out “right-wing media” for criticizing Biden for his age from the beginning. 

“The right-wing media was calling him senile from day one, and that wasn’t true,” the reporter told CNN. “Then whenever you report on the age you were in some ways solidifying, giving credence to some people that were actually of bad faith.”


White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the briefing room and press corps on Tuesday for the first time since Biden’s rocky debate performance. 

The majority of questions Jean-Pierre fielded Tuesday afternoon revolved around Biden’s mental and physical health, with the press secretary underscoring that Biden and his allies, such as former President Obama, have noted the debate did not go well for the president but that he’s “fighting” for the American people. 

“White House can’t blacklist all of us, and everyone has to ask about his age now,” one White House reporter told Fox News Digital. “It’s inescapable.”

Liberal critics have complained that the media has not focused enough on questions about the mental acuity and age of Trump, who just turned 78. Biden is 81. 

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. 

Fox News’ Emma Colton and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report. 

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