Greenwald: Anti-Sanders ‘Bernie Bro’ Narrative Based on Parody Account

MASON CITY, IA - JANUARY 27: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at a campaign rally at Music Man Square on January 27, 2016 in Mason City, Iowa. The Democratic and Republican Iowa Caucuses, the first step in nominating a presidential candidate from each party, will take place …
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Glenn Greenwald writes that the “Bernie Bro” narrative, alleging widespread misogyny among Bernie Sanders’ supporters toward Hillary Clinton, is an establishment media creation–based on one easily offended author falling for a social media hoax.

From The Intercept:

The concoction of the “Bernie Bro” narrative by pro-Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic – and a journalistic disgrace. It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall-Street-enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are “bros”); and(2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior.

[L]et’s quickly look at two of the most widely cited examples of online “Bernie Bro” misogyny from this week’s deluge of articles on the topic, smartly dissected by columnist Carl Beijar (“How many smears on Sanders supporters can we debunk in one week?”). A much-cheered Mashable article – headlined “The bros who love Bernie Sanders have become a sexist mob” – purported to describe the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon as Sanders supporters who are “often young, white and predominantly male” and whose messages are “oftentimes derogatory and misogynistic.” It cited a grand total of two examples, both from random, unknown internet users. Here was one of those examples, left in response to a Facebook post from New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen about a Clinton rally she attended:

These were the types of comments that followed: [From a Facebook screenshot of a user named Carol Jean Simpson] “I am no longer voting for you. You should have supported someone with integrity instead of a lying s***bag like HRC. #FeelTheBern”

There are two small problems with this example. First, it’s written by a woman, not a man. Second, it’s not remotely sexist. If anything is sexist, it’s the branding of Carol Jean Simpson as a “bro” because she supports Sanders rather than Clinton. And while I’m sure it’s terribly unpleasant for a former Governor and two-term U.S. Senator such as Jeanne Shaheen to have her favorite presidential candidate described as a “lying shitbag” and be told that she lost a supporter as a result, there’s nothing particularly inappropriate, or at least not unusual, about this kind of rhetoric being used in online debates over politics – unless you think the most powerful U.S. politicians are entitled to the reverence which London elites accord British monarchy.

Then there’s the most widely-cited example, used by that Mashable article as well as one from BBC entitled “Bernie Sanders supporters get a bad reputation online.” This example originated with the New Yorker TV critic (and Clinton supporter) Emily Nussbaum, who claimed that she was called a “psycho” by the “Feel the Bern crew” after she praised Clinton. Nussbaum’s claim was then repeatedly cited by pro-Clinton media figures when repeating the “Bernie Bro” theme. The problem with this example? The person who called her a “psycho” is a right-wing Tea Party supporter writing under a fake Twitter account of a GOP Congressman – not remotely a Sanders supporter. As Beijar put it:

UPDATE: Turns out one the Republican Congressman who called Emily Nussbaum a “psycho”doesn’t even exist. So just to clarify: this Berniebro story exists because

1) Wonkette’s Kaili Joy Gray is citing
2) The New Republic’s Jamil Smith, who cited
3) Mashable’s Emily Cohn, who cited
4) New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum, who credited to a Berniebro a quote from
5) A Republican Congressman’s Twitter account, who turns out to not even be a Congressman, but rather
6) A random troll who created a character “based on J.D. ‘Boss’ Hogg from the classic TV show, ‘The Dukes of Hazzard'”.

Read the rest of the story here.


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