So why the tepid treatment of Biden by the media? It must go beyond simple bias or personal animosity for the current President. For three-and-a-half years now journalists have shamed their colleagues and themselves over what I will call the ‘but her emails’ dilemma. Those who reported dutifully on the ill-timed federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server and spillage of classified information have been cast out and shunted away from the journalist cool kids’ table. Focusing so much on what was, at the time, a considerable scandal, has been written off by many in the media as a blunder. They believe their friends and colleagues helped put Trump in the White House by focusing on a nothing-burger of a Clinton scandal when they should have been highlighting Trump’s foibles. It’s an error no journalist wants to repeat. Simply put: no journalist wants to be the one to quiz Biden on his record on criminal justice, his campaign staff bailing out rioters in Minneapolis, the handsiness allegations, his cozy family relationships with China, his involvement in the Flynn unmasking, or anything else that might trip up the one man standing between them and Trump’s second term.

The journalist who asks the question that makes Uncle Joe stroke out at the podium would be treated as a professional leper. No book deals. No CNN or MSNBC contributor contracts. No cocktail parties.

But here’s the deal, folks: none of this actually helps Joe Biden. It hurts him and his campaign. When the debates kick off at the end of the month, Biden will not have a teleprompter, or aides he can defer to or friendly journalists from the Atlantic or CNN he can point to for a fact check. The second he calls upon the moderator to become a referee in his favor, his campaign slips.

You don’t have to “think” of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines, when they’re acting explicitly like that every day.