Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here.

George Stephanopoulos, sporting a T-shirt, shorts, and over-the-ear headphones, was traversing the New York City streets by foot on Tuesday when he was approached by a stranger who asked for his thoughts on President Joe Biden’s fitness for office.

“I don’t think he can serve four more years,” candidly replied the ABC News anchor, who had just sat down with Biden a few days earlier for his first on-camera television interview following the CNN presidential debate.

The blunt remark from Stephanopoulos — video of which made its way to TMZ — served as the latest example of the news media turning on Biden, expressing strong concerns about whether he has the fortitude to defeat Donald Trump in November and then serve an additional term in office.

On Tuesday night, Stephanopoulos expressed regret for his frank remark, saying through a spokesperson, “Earlier today I responded to a question from a passerby. I shouldn’t have.” (Notably, Stephanopoulos did not withdraw the viewpoint he articulated, but simply said he shouldn’t have expressed it.) ABC News separately said that Stephanopoulos “expressed his own point of view and not the position of ABC News.” Regardless, any damage inflicted by the comment was already done.

It goes without saying that Stephanopoulos is far from alone amongst his peers in the news media in sharing that opinion. Whether fair or unfair (and I do believe you can argue some of the coverage over the past two weeks has been over the top and irresponsible), the reality is that Biden has, at this juncture, lost much of the press corps. Many journalists simply do not buy the narrative that Biden, his campaign, and the White House are selling.

“To Serve His Country, President Biden Should Leave the Race,” The New York Times editorial board titled a scathing piece last week as several other prominent figures called for him to step aside.

That loss of trust poses a significant challenge for Biden as he tries to convince the American public that he is up for the difficult task before him. Every move Biden makes, every sentence he utters, has now fallen under a microscope, never a good sign for a political candidate. Worse for Biden, he is no longer being given the benefit of the doubt. In fact, just the opposite.

The president said this week that he does not care about what “the elites” think about his candidacy. But, given his decades in politics, he surely knows that alienating and going to war with the news media is not a winning strategy. Whether he likes it or not, how the news media covers his campaign influences how millions of Americans view his fitness for office. And given how close the 2024 race already was before the CNN debate, the recent coverage battering Biden’s campaign poses a grave threat to its livelihood.

How Biden might manage to pull himself out of this media storm threatening to consume his candidacy remains to be seen. Can he? Thus far, the steps Biden has taken to win back trust have failed to deliver the desired outcome. The Stephanopoulos interview is the perfect example of that. Instead of helping him move forward, granting the interview has effectively backfired, with Biden failing to even convince Stephanopoulos with his message.

The fact that the president could not convince the interviewer his campaign hand-picked for his first post-debate sit-down of his ability to lead the nation for the next four years does not bode well for his campaign.

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