Media top headlines August 19

In media news today, Biden faces intense backlash for avoiding questions on Afghanistan following address, Biden says ongoing ‘chaos’ in the country was ‘priced’ into the withdrawal decision, and an MSNBC opinion piece compares Republicans to the Taliban

CNN has continued offering critical coverage of President Biden amid his administration’s turbulent military withdrawal from Afghanistan

Clarissa Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent who’s been reporting from Kabul, called what she’s witnessed an „absolute mess“ and offered a stunning rebuke to Biden’s claim to ABC News that the pullout of troops out of Afghanistan which quickly resulted in a takeover by the Taliban was not a „failure.“

„I think a lot of people outside that airport, particularly those taking the kind of extreme actions we’re just talking about would like to know if this isn’t a failure, what does failure look like exactly?“ Ward asked Thursday. 

Later in the day, CNN’s counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd went off on the State Department for failing to say how many Americans are left in Afghanistan. 

„That was unacceptable,“ Mudd reacted. „I’m not interested in hearing a U.S. Government spokesperson talk about how unprecedented this is with other U.S. presidents and how other presidents didn’t have to deal with this.“


„I’m interested in understanding why we did only 2,000 people in 24 hours, how we increase that pace over the next 24 hours, what the total number is that we want to get out, and how long that’s going to take. That was pathetic!“ Mudd exclaimed. 

Mudd even took a swipe at State Department spokesman Ned Price, saying „That guy needs some training fast. That was horrible.“

An analysis piece published on CNN’s website also offered a scathing response to Biden’s defense of the Afghan withdrawal. 

„Biden is failing to adequately explain why he so badly failed to predict the swift collapse of the Afghan state. And his credibility has been sullied because his confident downplaying of the risks of the withdrawal has been repeatedly confounded by events. Seven months into his term, Biden no longer gets credit simply for not being Donald Trump,“ CNN White House reporter Stephen Collinson wrote on Thursday. „Biden’s defensiveness, imprecision and apparent changes of position hardly project confidence or competence during an extraordinarily sensitive crisis on hostile foreign soil. Anytime a commander in chief does not appear in control or is in denial of obvious developments is a moment that threatens to inflict political damage.“


Collinson insisted Biden gave Republicans „their clearest opening of a presidency in which he has been a hard political target“ and how the president’s „appeal lies in his candor and competence. Both are taking a hit.“

„The President’s image abroad is also taking a beating. His goal of reviving US relations with allies after declaring ‚America is back‘ following the Trump administration have been complicated by dismay over the possibility that interpreters and other workers who helped US troops over 20 years could be left behind to face reprisals from the Taliban,“ Collinson wrote.