CNN's Zeleny panned for fawning that Biden 'carried himself with a seasoned air of confidence' at Putin summit

Media top headlines June 17

Biden snapping at a reporter, being mocked for again using a prepared list of journalists to call on in Geneva, and a New York Times reporter claiming that teachers can’t explain Juneteenth to students for fear of ‘critical race theory backlash’ round out today’s top media headlines

CNN correspondent Jeff Zeleny raised eyebrows on Thursday for his over-the-top praise for President Biden following the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

In a piece co-authored with CNN reporter Kevin Liptak, Zeleny summarized Biden’s first international trip by declaring that he was in his “comfort zone.”

“Traveling across Europe for the past week, Biden found his reputation as a foreign policy wiseman preceded him — even at Windsor Castle, whose occupant has met her share of world leaders,” Zeleny and Liptak wrote in reference to Biden’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth. “It was evident at nearly every stop along the way that after five months focused almost exclusively on pressing domestic concerns, Biden was at last in his comfort zone. He carried himself with a seasoned air of confidence that new presidents seldom possess, a fluidity on the world stage that was among his biggest calling cards in his race for the White House.”

The CNN piece concluded by bizarrely spinning his apology to his colleague Kaitlain Collins, who he lashed out towards at Wednesday’s press conference. 

“As he departed Europe on Wednesday evening, Biden found he had more to say even after holding a lengthy press conference by his standards. Walking to reporters waiting by Air Force One, Biden initially offered an apology to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who he chastised for a question about Putin,” Zeleny and Liptak said. “But he did not apologize for approaching the world pragmatically and openly. Instead, he described an approach rooted in offering his time and attention to leaders who, like him, are politicians at heart.”

Zeleney shared the report on Twitter, writing “Joe Biden carried himself with a seasoned air of confidence that new presidents seldom possess. The Biden doctrine will be tested in the months ahead as the relationship he’s crafting with Putin and other leaders develops.”

Critics pummeled the CNN correspondent on social media. 

“This kind of comedy writing takes real talent,” The Federalist senior contributor Benjamin Weingarten reacted.

“hope he sees this, bro,” Habibi Bros co-host Siraj Hashmi told Zeleny. 

“Look how comfortable and confident he is unfairly trashing our female colleague!” Fourth Watch media critic Steve Krakauer mocked the CNN reporter. 

Many critics, including journalist Glenn Greenwald and New York Post reporter Jon Levine, compared his tweet to North Korean propaganda. 

Zeleny’s claim that Biden “carried himself with a seasoned air of confidence” stands in stark contrast with marks that he himself made on Wednesday about the president being “protected” by his staff from the press. 

“What we have not seen him do is answer questions like that without his aides screaming at him to stop,” Zeleny said during CNN’s coverage of the summit. “I have never seen a president, covering the last four of them, who is so protected by his aides in terms of not wanting him to answer some questions. They were silent today because he had a job to do. He recognized that.” 

Last month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that her team advises Biden not to take questions from reporters. 

“That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions,'” Psaki told David Axelrod during an interview. “But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States.” 

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