DANIEL VAUGHAN: The White House ghosts America

If you’re a person of a certain age in the digital age of America, you’ve no doubt experienced the new trend: ghosting. More popularly known in the dating app space, ghosting is spreading. Elle magazine said, “The relationship exit strategy (slow-fading communication, eventually leading to no texts, no calls, no closure whatsoever) is unfortunately growing in popularity.”

And because younger staffers are more prevalent in media and White House staffing positions, ghosting is also starting to describe the White House’s communications strategy.

A dating app survey a few years back said, “among 800 single U.S. and Canadian participants aged 18 to 33, 80 percent reported being dumped without explanation.” Another survey by Elle found that “women’s and men’s ghosting habits were not totally disparate. More women reported being on the receiving end, but more women than men also admitted to ghosting.”

Ghosting goes beyond dating or dating apps, however. It’s permeating every part of society, including the jobs sector. 

Indeed.com describes this kind of ghosting similarly, “In the workplace, ‘ghosting’ refers to one party vanishing from the interview process without a trace.” There are two sides to ghosting, just as there is on the dating app side.

First, from employers, Indeed reported survey data that said, “Ghosting seems to have grown in popularity amongst job seekers over the past year: 28% have ghosted an employer, up from only 18% in 2019. Meanwhile, 76% of employers have been ghosted in the same time frame, and 57% believe it’s even more common than before.”

But it’s not just employees ghosting employers, which you’d expect in a super-tight labor market. Indeed continued, “A whopping 77% of job seekers say they’ve been ghosted by a prospective employer since the U.S. onset of the pandemic last March, with 10% reporting that an employer has ghosted them even after a verbal job offer was made.”

From dating to job seeking, and everywhere in-between, the preferred method for dealing with hard conversations or situations these days is not to deal with it at all.

The strategy is becoming familiar beyond dating, jobs, and similar situations. It’s the go-to method for the White House.

The latest example came when President Joe Biden and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a face-to-face meeting this past week. Reporters were in the room with them.

At one point, Johnson recognized some British reporters. He allowed them to ask questions, which he proceeded to answer as you’d expect any world leader to do. 

The moment Johnson finished answering questions, the Biden communications team started shouting and badgering journalists, pushing reporters out the door, shouting down questions, pushing cameras, and getting everyone outside. Afterward, they blamed Johnson for taking questions “unannounced,” forcing that chaos to happen.

No questions are permitted unless they have precleared the time, place, and questions asked.

The episode caused the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune newspaper to say, “when U.S. reporters tried to question their own leader, Biden’s communications team, in this instance better understood as a non-communications team, basically drowned out their own boss and hustled reporters out of the room with all the condescending customer service skills of ambitious Soviet apparatchiks.”

The enduring image of Biden at the moment is making reckless statements and walking away from a podium without taking questions. Or if he does take questions, it’s a carefully scripted event. But the preference is no questions at all, and if it’s a bad news story, he’d much rather you ignore it.

This is not the stuff of inspiration. Jazz Shaw reasonably asks, “How frightened are the people in Biden’s inner circle that they have to act in this fashion? They must know that there is something very wrong when the leader of the free world can’t be trusted to take a simple question on current events from a reporter.”

But back to the point with which we started, Biden and his team want to walk away from every challenging topic they’re forced to deal with daily. They don’t want hard questions, hard conversations, and they can’t take criticism.

For a President who uses the phrase “the buck stops with me,” previous little stops with Biden other than the ice cream flavor he picks on a given day.

Everyone is to blame, including you, dear reader. And because we’re all the real issue, we have no right to question or ask the Biden administration what or why it is doing, what it is doing. The administration wants to leave everyone in the country “on read,” and if we have an issue with that, then we’re the issue, not him.

The irony here is that Biden ran as the ultimate realist, the man who understands the real interests of all parties and isn’t driven by idealism. But as his realism has fallen apart and shows he understands very little about the real world, we’re not allowed to question that.

Biden is trying to ghost America.