Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaign continues to express frustration at members of the media and pollsters, accusing them of going out of their way to dismiss him and his second bid for the presidency, according to a Wednesday report from the Hill.
While the Vermont senator has consistently polled in the top tier of candidates – often coming in second or third place – his campaign believes he is being treated as the political equivalent of a B-lister, with greater attention going to presidential campaign novices like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA). Instead of changing tactics, however, the Sanders campaign is hitting the media directly.
According to the Hill:
And the campaign is turning its allegations of unfair media coverage into a rallying cry, telling supporters that the news media’s inherent bias, obsession with horse-race politics about who is rising and falling, and the propensity to give outsize coverage to new candidates has led to a Sanders blackout that gives a false impression about the state of the race.
“Every time there is a story about how Bernie can’t win, it fans the flame of our base and we get more donations and more volunteers,” said one Sanders campaign aide who is not authorized to speak on the record.
“We’ll never be the favorites in the media. I get it. But when was the last time one of these pundits visited a field office or talked to a state director?” the aide asked.
The aide added that Sanders has 2 million donors who “have bought stock” in what the campaign is trying to do.
“If the media doesn’t want to tell that story, that’s fine. It just means we have to out-hustle these other campaigns,” the aide added.
Critics say that Sanders has not been willing to change tactics, which is preventing him from standing out among the crowded Democrat field. In 2016, Sanders only faced one true competitor: Hillary Clinton. The dynamic of the current Democrat Primary race is completely different. There nearly two dozen actors at play.
The Hill added:
“The challenge here is getting news editors to see him as newsworthy when he’s not moving in the race,” said one Democratic strategist with close ties to the progressive movement. “The reality is he’s having a hard time expanding. It’s completely OK for the media to point this out. The media is reporting on real movement in a dynamic race. This is not 2016 where he was the only other option.”
Complaints have been a long time coming. Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir recently said the media find Sanders “annoying” and likely wished that his movement would “just go away.”
“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 said, according to Politico.
Breitbart News reported:
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.
Additionally, Ari Rabin-Havt, the chief of staff for the Sanders campaign, recently participated in a video and slammed media outlets for dismissing Sanders.
“The elite media, the media that’s at the top, the cable nets, the lead editors, the reporters, they tend to live in Washington, D.C., or New York,” Rabin-Havt said, according to the Hill.
“They tend to be upper-middle class or wealthy. They work for companies worth billions of dollars. So on TV you have millionaires paid by billionaires to present information,” he added.