On May 21, the CNN "Reliable Sources" newsletter mocked the governor of Florida under the headline "Stuck in his safe space: DeSantis hides on Fox." The governor holds press briefings to take questions from Florida reporters, but he hasn't said yes to CNN or MSNBC or CBS, all of which have requested an interview.
To conservatives, this kind of shaming fails to address how the rest of the national media are a "safe space" for Democrats like Joe Biden. CNN would never consider a headline reading, "Stuck in His Safe Space: Biden Hides From Fox."
On Friday afternoon, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee did rounds of interviews with CNN, MSNBC and PBS to discuss George Floyd's terrible death, and they certainly sounded like safe spaces. The questions were very open-ended and very deferential — the complete opposite of what President Donald Trump and his team receive.
On PBS, Judy Woodruff asked, "What happens now?" and "What are people to believe now?"
On MSNBC, Craig Melvin's inquiries were also mostly open-ended. Was justice served with third-degree murder and manslaughter charges? What did he say to the Floyd family? "If you are elected in November, where do you start?" Melvin asked. He read a new statement from former President Barack Obama and asked, "How do you heal the racial divide...that has existed and persisted arguably since the founding of our republic?"
Melvin only grew sharper when he questioned Biden from the left. Does police brutality in Minneapolis disqualify Sen. Amy Klobuchar from being vice president, since she was a local prosecutor? When Biden demurred, Melvin asked, "If you don't choose a woman of color as your No. 2, what message would that send to the African American community?"
The MSNBC host wrapped up by noting the fifth anniversary of Beau Biden's death from brain cancer, and he asked, "How do you plan to remember him this weekend?"
When it was over, Chuck Todd told Melvin, "It's a delight to actually sit here and watch and listen to the conversation." Melvin agreed: "Here is a man who knew loss deeply, probably more than just about anybody else I know. And to hear him sort of draw on that — it's fascinating."
The CNN interview with Don Lemon had the worst questions. "What do you think of the president's comments when he tweeted, 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts'? Do you think the president is stoking racism and inciting violence with those kinds of comments?"
Lemon then turned to white people, saying: "You said earlier today that silence means complicity, and that is a message that is so hard, quite honestly, for white people to hear, including those who are sickened by George Floyd's killing, and they reject racism. Those people have a hard time understanding how they are complicit. How are you going to deliver that message to them?"
This was Lemon's last question: "I've been saying there are two viruses in this country, COVID-19 and what I call 'Racism-20,' because this is how it is playing out in 2020. It's a very dark time...and neither virus has a cure. Are you worried about how we're going to get through this?"
When the interview was over, Lemon gushed, "This is what leadership sounds like...this message of hope and healing is what we need right now." Wolf Blitzer agreed: "He certainly showed his pain, and the pain all of us are feeling over what happened in Minnesota."
This is the sound of a safe space. Biden's very comfortable being stuck in it — hiding in it.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.