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Book Detailing Life Of Jill Biden Tanks Big-Time

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A new biography on the life and times of first lady Jill Biden ought to be a fairly hot commodity since she is married to President Joe Biden, who got the most votes in the history of the country.

But it turns out that’s not the case.

“Jill: A Biography of the First Lady,” by Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and Darlene Superville, has sold less than 300 copies in its first week, according to Politico.

The detail was spilled in a report headlined, “The Rise and Fall of the Star White House Reporter,” which described how bored White House reporters apparently are now that Donald Trump is no longer president:

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Gone are the Tweets that sent newsrooms scrambling. So long to the five alarm Friday news dumps that had editors frantically rearranging weekend plans. Bye-bye to the massive TV budgets for White House specials and the firehose of publishing deals for books about the administration. NPD BookScan, which tracks book sales in the U.S., said that prominent books about Trump released in his first two years of office outsold Biden books during his first year and a half by, what an official there said was, “essentially 10:1.” A newly released biography about Jill Biden, by two well-respected Associated Press journalists, sold just 250 units in its first week, according to the company.

For the vast majority of Americans, and even plenty of people in Washington, it’s all been a relief — the minute-by-minute churn of presidential politics is no longer so omnipresent and existential in their lives.

Noted one supposedly unbiased White House correspondent who covered the past two administrations said: “Jen [Psaki] is very good at her job, which is unfortunate. And the work is a lot less rewarding because you’re no longer saving democracy from Sean Spicer and his Men’s Wearhouse suit. Jawing with Jen just makes you look like an asshole.”

“It’s a boring and difficult job. It’s tough to be a White House correspondent if you want to break news, they’re so airtight,” another reporter who covered both the Trump and Biden White Houses from the briefing room. “There’s no Maggie [Haberman]. Who’s the Maggie of the Biden administration? It doesn’t exist.”

“It’s not such a bad thing that there’s a new sense of sobriety in the White House briefing room,” said Eric Schultz, a former deputy press secretary under Obama. “The histrionics probably got out of control. It is serious business… It’s probably good for democracy for this to be less personality-based and more about the work.”

And yet, the reporters who covered Trump appeared to intentionally make it “personality-based”; who can forget his legendary back-and-forths with then-CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who often appeared to be intentionally rude to the then-president?

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The Trump presidency turned the reporter-to-celebrity conveyer belt up to an even higher speed. The 45th president practically worshiped his near-daily combat with the press. He used his Twitter feed and his jousting with reporters to explicitly drive specific news stories and, in the process, turned the press room itself into its own must-see drama. Many of the Trump administration’s primary adversaries in the briefing room, in turn, became the biggest beneficiaries of his attention.

Biden, by contrast, has been a journalistic sedative. The 79-year-old president is not immune to political controversy or making news, having made several recent proclamations about his goals for the Russia-invasion of Ukraine that went far beyond his administration’s stated policy.

One post-Trump book, however, seems to be getting plenty of coverage: “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns. It made news again earlier this week in a report claiming there is major tension between President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House that has not settled down.

In one instance, the book alleges that Biden left Republican senators stunned during legislative negotiations last year when he strongly shut down Harris in front of everyone.

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