Enough with the Headlines about Age!

Age and age discrimination have never gotten more media coverage, especially in the wake of President Biden’s announcement that he’s running for reelection. If there’s anyone who should be delighted, it’s me. I’m in the age and ageism business after all.

Instead, it’s making me mad.

Many of the headlines are alarmist clickbait. (“Biden Would End His Second Term at 86. What Could That Mean for His Brain and Body?”) Many of the stories, like that one, which ran the in the New York Times, and another that ran in the Wall Street Journal, say little more than what I and countless geriatricians have to say: if you’ve seen one octogenarian, you’ve seen one octogenarian.

There are countless reasons to ignore age when it comes to choosing political candidates. More consequentially, these stories distract us from real issues that actually matter. Climate disasters. The economy. Racism. School shootings. Police brutality. Forced pregnancy. World War III. Why obsess over age? It’s an ignorant, biased, costly smoke screen.

I have a policy of not following elections until the calendar year in which they take place. Most of the coverage up until then is side-show stuff…. If that’s too much to ask, how about holding the media accountable for the coverage we—and the real issues—deserve? There are so many more important things to think about.