Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participated in a town hall event that aired on CNN Monday as part of his campaign for the 2020 election–but some online sleuths have discovered that the audience may have been stacked against him.
During the event, a young woman who asked Sanders a critical question about allegations of sexual harassment in his campaign was introduced as a student at American University.
However, the student was also reportedly an intern for Cassidy & Associates, a large lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.
Check out their client list: https://t.co/Aguxds8TiV
— Mike Gapes Fan Account (@respecteconomy) February 26, 2019
According to a report from Paste Magazine, this wasn’t the only fishy audience member. Several audience members were introduced without disclosing their professional ties to politics. Two audience members actually worked within the Democratic Party establishment.
— CNN called Tara Ebersole a “former biology professor” when her LinkedIn page lists her current job description as “Chair, Baltimore County Democratic Party” since 2016. Further, her husband was part of Hillary Clinton’s leadership council in Baltimore in 2016.
— Abena McAllister was labeled “an active Democrat,” which is far less descriptive than the Charles County Democratic Central Committee’s description of her as their Chair.
— Yunjung Seo was simply called a “George Washington Student” by CNN, despite her LinkedIn page saying she also works for the Katz Watson Group, a fundraising and consulting outlet.
— Michelle Gregory was simply listed as a “Maryland voter” by CNN, but a cursory Google search reveals her to be much more active in politics than just voting.
The Paste article notes that the questions asked by these audience members weren’t necessarily unfair, but that the connections of the members will raise skepticism about CNN’s intentions.
While Sanders is a darling of many millennial voters who support further-left policies, many establishment Democrats dislike the Vermont independent.
After running a tough primary campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton herself blamed Sanders for helping Trump win. In her book, What Happened, Clinton writes, “His attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
Some Democrats also see him as being unable to represent the increasingly diverse party as he is an older white male.
Sanders announced his 2020 candidacy last week, saying, “Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”