Most presidents are fact checked about their policies, few have been fact checked about whether they were awake. Joe Biden has had the most sleeping fact checks of any other president, but that’s because presidents usually don’t fall asleep at major events like visits by foreign leaders or commemorations of mass deaths in a recent natural disaster.
Even at the best of times, it’s never that clear whether Biden is awake or asleep. But sometimes he closes his eyes and appears to drift off before stirring awake.
And the media rushes in to argue that he wasn’t really asleep.
This happens so often that when former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the White House in 2021, video showed a masked Biden seeming to doze off with his eyes closed. Current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joked in his own video that, “I heard that Biden was very attentive at this meeting. He dropped his head in agreement.”
Media fact checks claimed that the video of Biden sleeping had been “misleadingly cropped”.
This year, Biden welcomed Israeli President Isaac Herzog (an unelected official) to express his opposition to democratic judicial reform in Israel by seemingly closing his eyes, clasping his hands and mumbling something about everyone “coming together at a political level”.
Some people thought he was sleeping, but the media explained that he was reading from a note in his lap. With his eyes closed. The media blamed “misleading clipping”.
While Biden has been criticized for avoiding meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the odds are he’d be asleep by the time Bibi opened his mouth.
Unlike the administration’s other policies, Biden’s sleepiness isn’t even anti-Israel.
Biden appears to have fallen asleep at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference while a speaker intoned about the “destruction of the planet” until seemingly woken by an aide, during an MSNBC interview, at a NATO session opposite Turkey’s Islamist dictator, and at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Delaware. When it comes to falling asleep, Biden doesn’t discriminate between national and international events or care which country is involved.
Ceremony, protocol, international relations and major crises can’t stop Biden from napping.
In the latest naptime incident, Biden appeared to nod off during a memorial event for those who died during the Hawaii wildfires before shaking himself out of it and nodding in confusion.
Each time the media has argued that the video was somehow misleading or out of context.
After a video of Biden dozing during the Maui memorial went viral, media fact checks claimed that the original video was “low quality” and that he was just looking “downward” but that he “kept his eyes open for most of the time he was looking downward”.
Sleep is in the eye of the beholder and only Biden knows for sure whether he was really asleep. You don’t have to be 80 years old to fall asleep during a speech. I’ve done it myself. And most of us have probably briefly nodded off at some occasion only to quickly wake up again. There’s nothing especially wrong with that, beyond a little bit of social awkwardness, but lying about it is another matter. It’s not at all far-fetched that an 80-year-old man after an extended flight, touring wildfire damage in hot weather, and taking part in multiple events might have briefly dozed off at 9 PM or so, before boarding a return flight to Nevada.
The problem isn’t that Biden’s people are lying about the sleeping, it’s that the media is doing it.
A reasonable person would have to ask whether it’s more plausible that there’s something wrong with all the videos of Biden falling asleep in public or that sometimes an 80-year-old man might conceivably catch a few inopportune Zs while pretending to care about the imminent destruction of our planet, NATO, Israel, or a bunch of people burned to death in Hawaii?
Sometimes a nap isn’t just a nap. Biden’s sudden somnolence in Maui appeared to coincide with a bout of heavy breathing. Previous videos appear to suggest something similar. Biden may not be nodding off so much as he may be experiencing an event that causes him to close his eyes, bow his head and breathe heavily. Based on his reaction he may briefly lose consciousness, but other times he’s able to continue speaking, but slurs his words.
I’m neither a doctor nor a conspiracy theorist, but this looks like a medical issue. The White House announced in June that Biden had begun using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. It’s not impossible that he has breathing issues beyond those that have yet to be disclosed. The Biden administration has done its best to limit its titular figurehead’s schedule: and keep him vacationing and away from the press as much as possible to avoid placing strain on him.
It’s the traditional role of the media to ask such questions, to think conspiratorially, but factually, so that the entire public discourse doesn’t devolve into a mutual exchange of conspiracy theories. Unfortunately these days the media is there to throw conspiracy theories at its political opponents while explaining that its boss isn’t really sleeping, he just has his eyes closed.
Nobody really believes the media anymore and even the media doesn’t especially believe the media. The media knows better than anyone that its only motivations are clicks and politics.
The media’s party has tethered its fortunes to a corrupt 80-year-old man who tells bizarre lies, like falsely claiming that his son died in Iraq, finishes speeches with declarations of “God Save the Queen” and does other incomprehensible things that not even his staffers can explain.
When the media covers for Biden, an untrustworthy force meets an inexplicable politician resulting in total nonsense. The same media that awkwardly ignored Biden’s misbehavior around women and girls, despite legions of photos and videos of him groping and sniffing the wives and daughters he encounters, has to also explain away all the sleeping videos.
Is the media just covering up their elderly candidate’s limited attention span or a medical issue? The media itself may not know. Cover-ups become the default responsible in corrupt organizations so that even when there’s no crime, there’s still a cover-up. The media no longer waits until there’s a scandal to launch the cover-up, it commences the cover-up before the scandal. It’s a safer bet to deny that Biden is sleeping to avoid the possibility that he may be snoozing because of medical problems at which point dreamland becomes an election issue.
Falling asleep is not a crime or a moral failing (although there’s a time and a place) but lying about it is. Recently we walked past a public concert where the surviving descendants and a few new members of the old The Tokens band were performing their sixties hit song, ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’. Joe Biden isn’t a lion, he’s a liar, and he manages to lie even while sleeping.
Most politicians lie while they’re awake, but Joe Biden has broken new ground by lying while awake and asleep, lying about being awake while asleep and asleep while awake.