As the chattering class continues to downplay the primary results of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) enraged Democrats are crying foul to anyone who will listen. It would be fair to say these people are annoyed, peeved, and downright indignant at the media elite who appear to be using their might to tilt the scales against the Vermont senator. A Fourth Estate using its power to marginalize a winning candidate?
Former Democratic operative and Political Director for NBC News Chuck Todd went so far as to repeat a comment about the Sanders faithful referred to as the “digital brownshirt brigade.” The brown shirts are a direct reference to Nazis of the 1930s. Indeed, Bernie took multiple hits from Todd, who also opined, “I don’t understand how Bernie is considered a front-runner. This is a guy that, more people showed up to the polls, highest turnout ever, and his percentage went down, not up.” What the political analyst forgot to mention is that this time the New Hampshire democratic field included nine candidates versus just two in 2016.
In GQ, Mari Uyehara penned an opus on the subject titled, “Why Does Mainstream Media Keep Attacking Bernie Sanders as He Wins?” Her opening salvo was “Poor Chuck Todd” and asserted that the anchor of Meet the Press “has long had his crosshairs on Sanders.” The upshot of all this open anti-Bernie talk is that rank and file socialist Democrats have taken up arms against their own. Currently trending on Twitter is #FireChuckTodd.
Turnabout Is Fair Play
When the leftist legacy media doesn’t like someone, it goes beyond marginalizing their success and rapidly morphs into distortion. Trump supporters know this all too well. A case in point is when Todd referred to the Vermont senator as “pro-NRA,” which is laughable.
The Washington Post Media columnist Margaret Sullivan accurately pointed out that journalists “keep falling in love – with anybody but Bernie Sanders.” She didn’t go so far as to say that the “straight news coverage reflected an anti-Sanders bias” but did aver that the “framing” of Bernie’s candidacy sometimes did.
Translation: Something is wrong with the way the media is covering the Democratic front-runner. GQ went farther by contending, “After the New Hampshire results came in, political reporters and pundits put facts into linguistic pretzels, instead of just stating what the numbers did: That Sanders had won, taking the popular vote for two straight contests in a crowded field.”
Why, pray tell, would the establishment media elite downplay and distort coverage of the good senator? In a word: electability – or the lack thereof. Sullivan highlighted but a few anti-Bernie headlines worth noting:
- “Running Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity” – New York Magazine
- “Bernie Sanders’s Trump-like campaign is a disaster for Democrats” – The Washington Post
- “Bernie Can’t Win” – Atlantic
The unintended consequences of trying to tell Americans how to vote just may be driving people toward the self-described democratic socialist. Americans, by nature, have a rebellious spirit – just ask the British. No matter the party or political ideology, they don’t like people stepping on the scales. Mr. Trump certainly benefitted from the media spin against his campaign in 2016. Now it’s Bernie’s turn, and leftists don’t cotton to it either. One woman voiced this very thing when she told an MSNBC program host that the reason she voted for Bernie was because of what she perceived as MSNBC’s biased coverage against him. “It made me angry,” she thundered.
Before the conservative schadenfreude runs amok, it would only be fair to point out that, no matter which candidate the media tries to denigrate, this is not an effective strategy. Political pundits may be correct in asserting that Mr. Sanders is a certain loser in the general election against Trump, but telling Americans who to vote for – whether it be through distortion or derision – is a losing proposition.
One wonders when they will learn this lesson.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.