What did White House reporters know and when did they know it?

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What did reporters who cover the White House know, and when did they know it?

As President Biden lurches toward a withdrawal from the 2024 election that seems likelier by the hour, the question of the media’s role in hiding his mental decline is taking center stage.

The greatest loser from Biden’s catastrophic meltdown during his debate last week with Donald Trump is not Biden himself.


Somewhere deep inside, Biden may actually be relieved that he may soon be free of the obligation to perform (or pretend to perform) the world’s most important job.

No, the greatest loser is the media, specifically elite news organizations like The New York Times that have teams of reporters covering the White House. These teams either entirely missed Biden’s sharp cognitive decline — or, worse, actively covered it up.

Either way, a reckoning for the way media outlets have turned into spear-carriers for the Democratic Party may be coming. I hope it will be. It is long overdue.

On Thursday afternoon, New York magazine published a long article about Biden’s decline by Olivia Nuzzi, a Washington correspondent who is its top reporter. Nuzzi wrote in the piece, headlined “The Conspiracy of Silence to Protect Joe Biden,” that top Democrats had talked about Biden’s worsening memory and cognitive problems at least since January.

“Following encounters with the president, they had arrived at the same concern: Could he really do this for another four years? Could he even make it to Election Day?” But the worriers did not want to talk publicly, Nuzzi said. “They were scared and horrified.”

Okay. Those folks want Biden to be president. Their allegiance is to him, not the truth. Thus, the conspiracy. And Nuzzi wrote she could not get these high-ranking Democrats on the record — though it is not clear how hard she tried.

Then, late in the piece, Nuzzi made an extraordinary admission — one whose importance she seems not to have recognized.

She, too, had seen Biden’s decline up close. So had much of the Washington press corps.


As hard as Biden’s courtiers try to protect Biden, they cannot keep him from every public interaction. The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is Washington’s premier annual social event, its so-called “nerd prom.”

Nuzzi met Biden, whom she had covered closely and extensively during the 2020 campaign, at a photo session and reception before the dinner. Here is how she describes the encounter:

My heart stopped as I extended my hand to greet the president. I tried to make eye contact, but it was like his eyes, though open, were not on… I said “hello.” His sweet smile stayed frozen. He spoke very slowly and in a very soft voice. “And what’s your name?” he asked.

Exiting the room after the photo, the group of reporters — not instigated by me, I should note — made guesses about how dead he appeared to be, percentage wise. “Forty percent?” one of them asked.

Try to wrap your head around what happened that night — April 27, 2024, exactly two months before Joe Biden’s infirmities exploded for the world to see.

The reporters who cover the president, who are the eyes and ears of the world on a man who controls a nuclear arsenal capable of killing billions of people, saw his cognitive decline face-to-face.

They didn’t write about what they had seen. They didn’t investigate it.

They joked about it. With each other. Privately. Nuzzi and the rest were part of the “conspiracy of silence” as much as any Democratic donor.

And in June, when even the most tightly controlled public events could not hide Biden’s infirmities, they wrote of “cheap fakes” (meaning, accurate and real videos) and “misinformation.” Only now that the world knows have they turned on Biden — viciously, as I wrote Wednesday.

Every last one of them should be ashamed. And wondering how they allowed their Democratic partisanship and hatred for Donald Trump and in-group thinking to overcome their most basic instincts to chase the truth and give it to the readers and viewers who pay their bills.


I almost died working as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times in Iraq 20 years ago. That’s not an exaggeration. I cannot believe what the Times and the rest of the elite media have become. I am heartbroken today.

This is the last and greatest in a series of media catastrophes over the last several years. They all have in common an unwillingness to admit, much less investigate, hard truths that Democrats find unpleasant.

If it does not provoke a reckoning, nothing will. And places like the Times will lose whatever shreds of credibility they have left.


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