It is Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) second time running for president, but his campaign is not satisfied with the way the media have treated him. It finds Sanders “annoying” and wishes his movement would “just go away,” campaign manager Faiz Shakir said, according to a Politico piece published Monday.
Sanders has remained in the top tier of Democrat 2020 candidates since his official campaign announcement, but the mainstream media have not been supportive or fair, his campaign claims.
“This isn’t intended to be a sweeping generalization of all journalists, but there are a healthy number who just find Bernie annoying, discount his seriousness, and wish his supporters and movement would just go away,” Shakir claimed.
This would not be the first time Sanders or his campaign have issued a complaint of this nature. Democrat leaders went through the wringer during the Democrat primary ahead of the 2016 election, constantly dodging questions about “rigging” the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile claimed to have found “proof” that the DNC did, in fact, “rig” the election in favor of Clinton.
She wrote in her book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House read, according to an excerpt featured in Politco Magazine in 2017.
I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested.
“By Sept. 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart,” she said.
The proof was, as Fox News summarized, a “joint fundraising agreement document between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund and Hillary for America.”
Sanders supporters struggled to see Brazile as an ally. After all, she reportedly provided debate questions to Hillary Clinton prior to her CNN debate against Sanders during the Democrat Primary. It served as a point of contention within the Democrat Party and Democrat voters, as Brazile only served as interim chair due to WikiLeaks revealing DNC emails “that suggested the previous chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), and her underlings worked in various ways to rig the Democratic primary against Clinton’s challenger,” Breitbart News reported.
Interestingly, Sanders did not hit Clinton hard during the primary, perhaps due to an “agreement,” which was, once again, uncovered and detailed by WikiLeaks.
Sanders’ campaign seems to acknowledge that he is given sufficient airtime, but it is not particularly enthralled by the tone of the coverage.
In the 2020 campaign, his team’s frustration has morphed, centering on what they see as excessively negative stories and dismissive commentary. Even though he’s consistently near the top in the polls, Sanders’ staff thinks pundits write off his chances. And they’re unusually vocal in calling out coverage they dislike on Twitter and on the media channels they’ve created in-house, fueling frustration once again among the senator’s supporters about whether he’s getting a fair shot at the White House.
On Sanders’ live-streaming show “The 99,” three campaign staffers spent more than an hour last week discussing what they perceive as media bias, such as the tendency to focus on the shiny and salacious rather than Sanders’ decades-long advocacy for the poor and working class. “Standing up on these issues over 40 years is not new and exciting for people,” said chief of staff Ari Rabin-Havt.
It would not seem that Sanders’ radical ideas are the issue. After all, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) share a strikingly similar ideology, but her surge to the top tier has been more widely covered by the media.
As Breitbart News reported:
Despite Warren’s and Sanders’ ideological similarities, they do not share the same base. While Sanders tends to appeal to low-income individuals with less educational background, Warren wins over individuals with postgraduate degrees.
Identity politics may also be at play, with some Democrat voters looking for a change and leaning toward Warren due to her status as a female.
Shakir seems to believe that members of the media “attempt to hide their disdain” for Sanders and “masquerade their commentary behind purported straight pieces that amount to seeing everything as a ‘bad news for Bernie’ moment.”
Critics, however, say the Sanders campaign is overthinking. It is a crowded field and harder to make headlines if a candidate is not willing to deviate from his or her talking points.
“[Sanders ] wants to talk about what he wants to talk about, when he wants to talk about it,” one reporter who covered Sanders in the past and present said, according to Politico.
“And he doesn’t see the value of talking to reporters about what they want to talk about because, in part, he thinks they’re going to talk about what he considers stupid stuff,” the reporter added.