Our Ice-Cream Media

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President Joe Biden eats an ice-cream during a visit to Cleveland, Ohio, May 27, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The media have developed a curious idea that every time Joe Biden has ice cream, it constitutes news. I cite:

President Biden stopped by Pearl’s Ice Cream Parlor in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Tuesday. For his order, the president got a scoop of cookies and cream with a scoop of strawberry on top – all on a sugar cone. pic.twitter.com/crfgalEYNC

— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 30, 2021

I love that em dash, which sets off a portion of the sentence to indicate a surprise is coming but instead just continues down the same dopey P.R. path:  “Joe Biden likes people — and people like him!” “Joe Biden is a great father — and a great husband!”

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This was one of dozens of similar examples of coverage of Biden hitting Wisconsin like a treat-seeking missile. In the rare moments when the media get to fire questions at Biden, they tend to be easily distracted by frozen props.

“Mr. President, what did you order?”

President Biden: “Chocolate chocolate chip.”

Crowd: “Ooooooohhh” “Oh yeahhh.”pic.twitter.com/4FjDIFqEpr

— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 27, 2021

Politico this year granted anonymity to whoever told its reporter that Biden likes ice cream.

Today in anonymity granting: “He’s a very big ice cream fan,” said another source.https://t.co/v6HYbnPIhx

— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) January 6, 2021

Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein can be relied upon to have the scoop on this:

Biden’s ice cream habit “appeared to [an unnamed comms aide] to be a form of self-care” https://t.co/gRQBnDOiJY pic.twitter.com/463wQDXdgO

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) August 14, 2019

He may be Vice President of the United States but he’s President of Ice Cream pic.twitter.com/G72FiTJrj1

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) October 9, 2014

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Biden slid his aviators on before taking his first bite of ice cream in a very on-brand Joe Biden moment cc @jmpalmieri pic.twitter.com/DB4qEVfzSq

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) March 3, 2020

Sometimes reporters provide anniversary coverage of their own previous reporting on Biden’s fondness for ice cream.

Happy anniversary to this quote from President Biden. I assume the customary gift is chocolate chip ice cream and aviators. https://t.co/l2BUwc6CwC

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) February 8, 2021

Sometimes the president’s ice-cream consumption yields a “takeout” or long, researched piece about not just one incident, but many.

#TodayInJournalism

Here’s a 3-minute MSNBC segment on Joe Biden eating ice cream pic.twitter.com/4bk5PK8CBo

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 28, 2021

To be fair to Jennifer Epstein, she was equally dedicated when it came to the question of what ice cream Hillary Clinton was eating or discussing at any given moment and often went into detail:

Hillary Clinton tasted several flavors of ice cream and ices before settling on a cup of lime with no toppings pic.twitter.com/vQj37kIpPn

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) October 14, 2015

Hillary and Huma having some ice cream pic.twitter.com/9aBH5lwfxj

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 22, 2015

Clinton on NY wine ice cream: “It was amazing ice cream … one of the top-secret formulas for really producing wonderful ice cream”

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) April 1, 2016

Epstein also feels it is important to report on historical incidents of Hillary Clinton consuming ice cream in previous years. This one is a 2014 tweet of a 2008 treat.

Hillary Clinton eating ice cream in 2008 pic.twitter.com/054vCqorBT

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) October 9, 2014

Jennifer Epstein also covered Barack Obama’s ice-cream eating, joining forces with Obama’s spokeswoman to get the message out.

RT @jrpsaki: Potus making a stop at deb’s ice cream

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) July 10, 2012

Ice cream tends to be associated with high levels of approval, low levels of controversy, and extreme levels of deliciousness, which is why political campaigns often try to associate themselves with ice cream.

Kicking off our first stop in Trenton, New Jersey! 🍦

We’re out here celebrating shots in arms, checks in pockets, and jobs coming back with a scoop of @JenisIceCreams in hand. pic.twitter.com/8eQfKF68Wm

— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) June 30, 2021

Reporters who join in pushing this association are effectively acting as unpaid promoters of the campaign or politician. Which is why Jennifer Epstein has shown very little interest in, say, Donald Trump’s ice-cream consumption. Zero tweets on that, as far as I can tell. Reporters keep telling us it’s their solemn duty to stand up to people in positions of authority. If they want to convince us they do so for both parties, ceasing to echo the gauzy, soft-focus communications strategy of the DNC might be a step in the right direction.

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