CNN Under Fire For Overtly Hostile Treatment Of Sanders In Iowa Debate

CNN has long been criticized for what many view as overtly hostile coverage of Sen. Bernie Sanders that goes back to the 2016 election where the CNN openly seemed to favor Hillary Clinton in her bid for the nomination. Yet, even for the most hardened critics of the network, yesterday’s debate in Des Moines was breathtaking in its unrelentingly negative questions of Sanders followed up relative softballs to others like Sen. Amy Klobuchar. However the lowest moment of this or any debate this year occurred when CNN reporter Abby Phillips made Sanders repeat his outright denial of the allegation by Elizabeth Warren that he told her that no woman could be president and then immediately stated that Sanders did make the comment in her next question to Warren. In watching with a room filled with people who are not affiliated with Sanders, Phillips’ statement led to loud gasps and Sanders himself seemed dumbfounded on stage by the bias shown by the CNN reporter. Later, Warren appeared to refuse to shake the hand of Sanders.

In the debate, Sanders repeatedly and unequivocally stated that he never made the statement. While some have built up the allegations as a type of political MeToo moment, many remain skeptical for the very reasons that Sanders stated. It seems entirely at odds with Sanders’ numerous statements and actions over the years, including his standing aside for Warren herself when she indicated that she wanted to run in 2016. Moreover, it would have been perfectly insane to go to a meeting where Warren just discussing her next run for president and make such a clearly untrue and self-destructive statement. Even if Sanders believed such sexist tripe, why would he make the comment to a possible opponent who was clearly going to run? It would also been moronic since, when he made the statement, Clinton had already beaten Trump in the popular votes by millions. Why would Sanders say something that was proven to be demonstrably untrue in the last election? The point is not that Sanders is telling the truth and Warren is lying. Rather the point is that there is no reason to just reject the position of Sanders as clearly false as Phillips appeared to do last night.

Even in her set up, Phillips seemed to reject Sanders’ earlier denials of the story: “Senator Sanders, CNN reported yesterday, and Senator Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018, you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?”

While Sanders made these points and repeatedly denied the allegation, Phillips left many of us confused when, literally just after he again denied the story, she asked him again if he denied the story. Some in the audience laughed at the weird follow up but that was followed by gasps when Phillips then turned to Warren and said “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”

Phillips then turned to Klobuchar and asked her how she felt about people making such comments to female candidates.

Various media observers had the same reaction. For example, NPR’s David Folfenflik asked “how could CNN accept as fact that Sanders told Warren otherwise when he denied it three seconds earlier? The answer is that you cannot if you are a neutral journalist.

I am not personal friends with Sanders but I have had dealings with him for many years both in hearings and on the Hill. I have always admired him as a person and I have never had reason to question his veracity or integrity. I have also never heard anyone suggest that he was not entirely supportive of women’s rights.

The decision of Warren not to shake Sanders’ hand does not bode well for the next few weeks. The sudden raising of this allegation when Warren is struggling to break out of pack in Iowa was obviously a concern by neutral observers. While Warren says that she is shocked by the story, she did not previously raise it and still last night would shake the hand of Sanders.

Whatever the outcome of this conflict between Sanders and Warren, CNN may have the most to answer for after the debate. CNN has often voiced the view of the DNC and Democratic establishment, particularly in seemingly repeating talk points against Trump. Indeed, in 2016, a CNN figure, Donna Brazile, was found to have leaked questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and then denied the story by falsely alleging that her emails were hacked. In the last couple weeks, there have been stories of DNC figures and establishment figures moving (again) against Sanders to prevent him from securing the nomination. The only people who have raised bias as often as Trump supporters are Sanders supporters. Just this week, this bias was raised before the debate by Sanders people on the air. CNN responded with clearly biased questions and one moderator all but calling Sanders a liar.

If the other questions were equally heavy handed to the other candidates, this would just be a case of hard hitting questioning. However there was a notably slanted quality to the questions. Thus, Biden was asked about this vote on Iraq in a good question but was not confronted on his false statements that he opposed the war in Iraq. Likewise, CNN hit repeatedly at Sanders not giving hard figures for his health plan but did not press people like Warren on her clearly unsupported projections of revenue to support her plan.

While Warren refused to shake the hand of Sanders, she had every reason to shake the hand of CNN and Phillips. The debate left many of us with the feeling of another setup in the Democratic primary debates. The problem is that the bias was so open and frankly gross that it could have the opposite effect in pushing people toward (not away) from Sanders.

122 thoughts on “CNN Under Fire For Overtly Hostile Treatment Of Sanders In Iowa Debate”

  1. “The Clinton machine may have been corrupt but nobody ever questioned Bill and Hillary’s ambition and desire. Beyond debates over policy, Democrats have to be asking themselves today whether they have anyone ready to rise to the occasion of a national presidential election.

    Mr. McAuliffe’s CNN colleague, leftist Van Jones, found the event “dispiriting” and saw “nothing” in the debate to suggest a Trump loss in the fall. The network’s Chris Cuomo added, “I think the consensus… is that this was not the type of night of ambition we expected.”


    1. Which explains why you are here day in and day out, more regularly than David Beson’s bowel movements

  2. So you’re saying CNN is biased and manipulative? Welcome to the world of non-democrats. If you’ve been eating their sauce until now, you have yourself to blame.

  3. “…Hostile treatment of Sanders…”


    Once again, the truth slaps the MSM in the face and they ignore it. Sanders and the rest of the enemies of America and the Constitution should be in prison. If this isn’t treason, nothing is.


    Project Veritas: Sanders staffer says ‘cities burn’ if Trump reelected, predicts violence at DNC

    Hidden-camera footage shows field organizer praising Soviet-style gulags

    By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times – Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    A Project Veritas video released Tuesday showed a man identified as a campaign organizer for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders saying “cities burn” if President Trump wins reelection and predicting violence against police at the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

    Asked what would happen if Mr. Trump is reelected, the man described as Sanders campaign field organizer Kyle Jurek said, “F–ing cities burn,” adding, “I mean, we don’t have a lot of time left, we have to save f–ing human civilization.”

    In the undercover video, the first in the Project Veritas #Expose2020 series, he also expressed support for ideological reeducation Trump voters; compared such Americans to Nazis; praised Soviet-style gulags; and predicted police would be “beaten” in riots at the party convention.

    “We’re going to make 1978 [1968] look like a f–ing Girl Scout f–ing cookout,” he said, adding, “The cops are going to be the ones that are getting f–ing beaten in Milwaukee. They’re going to call out the National Guard for that s–t. I promise you that.”

    He was apparently referring to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago where police clashed with protesters.

    “If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, or it goes to the second round at the DNC convention, f–ing Milwaukee will burn,” Mr. Jurek said. “It’ll start in Milwaukee, and then when the police push back on that, other cities will just f–ing (explosion sound).”

    In the video, Project Veritas President James O’Keefe displayed Federal Election Commission records showing that Mr. Jurek has worked for six months for the Sanders campaign, earning about $11,000, and that he was employed briefly by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2018.

    Project Veritas also posted a Sept. 21 tweet by Sanders Iowa field director Brooke Adams showing a photo of Mr. Jurek and describing him as one of the campaign’s “top tier organizers.”

    “Is Kyle Jurek the true but hidden face of the Sanders campaign? Is the Sanders campaign going to fire Kyle Jurek? Are they going to say he’s a lone wolf or an isolated incident?” asked Mr. O’Keefe in the video.

    The Washington Times reached out to the Sanders campaign for comment but received no reply. Top campaigns for the party presidential nomination typically have hundreds of paid staffers.

    In the video, Mr. Jurek said that Trump supporters would need to be re-educated, comparing them to Nazi supporters at the end of World War II, and expressed support for Soviet-style gulags, which he said were “a lot better than what the CIA has told us.”

    “Greatest way to break a f–ing billionaire of their privilege and the idea that they’re superior: Go out and break rocks for 12 hours a day,” Mr. Jurek said. “You’re now a working-class person, and you’re going to f–ing learn what that means, right?”

    Asked in the video whether “some of these MAGA people could even be re-educated,” Mr. Jurek replied, “We gotta f–ing try,” adding that such reeducation was an aim of Mr. Sanders‘ call for free tuition at public universities.

    “So like in Nazi Germany, after the fall of the Nazi party, there was a s–t-ton of the populace that was f–ing Nazi-fied,” Mr. Jurek said. “Germany had to spend billions of dollars re-educating their f–ing people to not be Nazis. We’re probably going to have to do the same f–ing thing here. That’s kind of what Bernie’s whole ‘hey, free education for everybody,’ because we’re going to have to teach you not to be a f–ing Nazi.”

    Mr. Jurek aligned himself with antifa, saying that Trump supporters are “scared f–ing senseless of anti-fascists” and that “the only thing that fascists understand is violence.”

    He added that, “There’s a reason Josef Stalin had gulags” and that “gulags were actually meant for, like, reeducation.”

    The video also showed him taking shots at less radical liberals and media outlets, saying, “Walk into that MSNBC studios, drag those m–––ers out by their hair, and light them on fire in the streets.”

    If “they f–ing take Bernie from us,” he said, “then we have nothing else left to lose.”

    Project Veritas has been accused by critics of deceptively editing its undercover videos, which Mr. O’Keefe denies.

    According to public information, Kyle Jurek, the campaign staffer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign at the center of an undercover investigation by Project Veritas, was arrested in September of last year for allegedly abusing prescription painkillers.

    He was also arrested on January 8 of this year for allegedly driving under the influence.

    On September 28 of last year, Jurek was arrested by the Polk County, Iowa Sheriff’s Department and given three charges, including “possession of a controlled substance,’ “unlawful possession of prescription drug,” and “possession of drug paraphernalia.”

  4. Jonathan: I think you have wasted a lot of column space on whether Bernie Sanders actually told Elizabeth Warren a woman could not be elected president and specifically CNN’s “hostile coverage” of Sanders. It’s not news that corporate CEOs, including those that head major news networks, don’t relish the prospect of either Sanders or Warren becoming president. Sanders wants to rollback the tax give-a-way to corporations in 2017. Warren is demanding corporate accountability. That’s anathema around the table in most corporate board rooms. They would prefer Donald Trump, despite all his dictatorial proclivities. to any leading Democratic candidate–except maybe Joe Biden who is corporate friendly. So I’m sure the word came down that the CNN moderator in the latest debate should focus on the feud between Sanders and Warren–waste time trying to sow discord among the leading Democratic candidates and avoid addressing the important issues important to voters–like climate change, healthcare, affordable housing, etc., etc. Distraction with trivial issues seems to be the focus of your column.

  5. To advance herself and her career Warren is known as a big time liar and once again her career seems to be promoted by another lie.

    There is enough stuff proving why Sanders would make a terrible candidate. Below is a video of snippets some of which will invariably be used against Sanders should he get the Democratic nomination.

    Why Bernie Sanders’ Communist Misadventures Still Matter with quotes such as: “I don’t believe in charities…”

  6. Not hard to figure out. Add Sanders five to ten percent of the socalist vote, Warren 5%, others 5%, anti pelosi 5% and walk aways ten percent plus and that is before the formation of the Independent Constitutional Democrat Party is announced it’s a loss of 25 to 35% and don’t count the one’s that post. That’s just a bunch, for the most part, of illiterate uneducated programmers and a list of names that have no ‘life’ no existence off a printed list.

    The Collective and the ruling class of the classless society is just about all they have ‘left’ pun intended aside from a few paid off pollsters and the remnants of the 9th circuit. The media is deserting them and whose next? The snowflakes? Maybe but we aren’t talking brain power there as they were stupid enough to sign up for the draft and volunteer to change their status to ‘awaiting assignment’ for the college loan money.

    They are reduced to fighting their own membership just to keep their heads above water. atihough as the old joke goes… If you walked by a lake or river and saw a Pelosite drowning to you know what to do to save them? Answer: Uhhhh No. Punch Line: GOOD!

    Constitutionalism or socialism
    Independence or slavery

  7. Does CNN want Trump to get reelected? Two of the factors that led to his election in the first place were a) a loss of confidence in the mainstream media and the narrative they present to the public, and b) Sanders supporters perceiving that the primaries had been rigged, and staying home or voting third-party. What happened here only reinforces both factors.

    1. Today’s CNN bares many similarities to the Soviet-era Pravda. Bernie Sanders supporters are witnessing what Republicans have seen for years. Remember Candy Crowley in the second 2012 presidential debate? But, don’t dare criticize CNN or Brian Stelter will accuse you of being an enemy of the First Amendment.

    2. If you look at the annual Gallup Media Trust Survey, a majority of Americans have not trusted the media since 2005 (around the time of Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate”).

      1. False

        Never before have Americans come to loathe the MSM with Fox News ostensibly killing the competition. There is a reason for that

        Trump 2020…

    3. Comedy News Network is a joke: and yet they show their bias – even when everyone knows Warren lies and fabricates stories all the time.

  8. Why did SHE either claim he said it or refute same? He said it to HER is the claim, right?

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