On Friday, CBS News reporter Bo Erickson seriously displeased President-Elect Joe Biden by “shouting” out a question following a meeting between Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). While there was no official Q&A session, Erickson attempted to get the President-Elect on the record about the ongoing debate about opening schools during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Mr. Biden, the Covid task force said it’s safe for students to be in class,” Erickson asked. “Are you going to be encouraging unions to cooperate more to bring kids back to the classrooms, sir?”
Instead of addressing the question, the President-Elect responded with his own question, “Why are you the only guy that always shouts out questions?”
Erickson was then escorted out by Biden’s staff. However, instead of ending the matter, it has now taken on a life of its own on social media as Erickson posted via his official Twitter account (@BoKnowsNews), “Asked Biden if he will encourage teacher unions to cooperate to get kids back in school because the COVID task force said it is safe to be in the classroom. He didn’t answer.”
Many of Erickson’s colleague’s quickly came to the reporter’s defense, and this included fellow CBS correspondent Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS), who posted, “President-Elect Biden asks a good question – why is
@BoKnowsNews the only one in the Biden pool tossing questions? Schools, vaccines, stimulus – so many important q’s for both @SpeakerPelosi & @JoeBiden.”
Will Steakin (@wsteaks), ABC News 2020 campaign reporter, added, “Good for Bo, also the idea that this was a ‘shouted’ question is hilarious”
Freelance writer Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) addressed Biden’s question directly, posting, “Because Bo is trying to do journalism and much of the rest of Biden’s press corps are stenographers”
Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV), media columnist at The Hill, questioned whether the media will be forced to tow a softer line under the President-Elect’s administration, “Shouting questions will again be deemed a bad, disrespectful thing.”
A Tough Job
Many users on social media agreed that Erickson was simply doing his job, and users @AnnaZ posted, “1 – It’s a perfectly legitimate question
2 – Listen to how the press is barked out of the room… are they really all just going to go back to being fall-in-line lapdogs?”
Another user, @toddau92, took an even harder stance, “You need to start asking him the hard questions. Our republic deserves answers.”
That sentiment was shared by @jd313jd, “Will be embarrassing watching the national press get meekly pushed around by Biden’s team for four years”
@AGHamilton29 added, “As we see many other reporters throw softballs at Biden, reporters that ask tough questions of both sides (like Bo) are going to be far more important over the next 4 years.”
Silencing The Media
However, across social media many users defended Biden, suggesting that it was inappropriate that the Erickson “shouted” a question – something that is routinely done by reporters at nearly every press conference and media event.
User @ATLHailState01 defended the President-Elect, “Maybe you should not ask a loaded question during a no questions time??”
Some users also thought this was a matter of civility as noted by @privatyoga108, who suggested, “It wasn’t the appropriate time to shout out questions, period. It’s as simple as that. Your question has merit but please don’t be rude. We’re exhausted by 4 yrs of that already. Please show integrity. Thank you for your hard work please be gracious.”
A Tale Of Two Conferences
What also makes Friday’s comments by the President-Elect notable is how the media also reacted to Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to answer any questions.
The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) posted video that showed White House briefing room along with the commentary, “Chaos erupts as VP Pence walks away from the podium”
Perhaps @keyboard_monkey best summed up the frustrations sardonically that the media faces from too many politicians today, “How dare those uppity journalists ask questions and expect answers from those government workers who are paid with our tax dollars?”