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. She is a great disappointment. The “press” is sadly besmirching themselves re Bernie, sad.

  2. “#CNNIsTrash Trends as Pushback Grows Against Oligarchic Election Meddling”

    January 15, 2020 • 33 Comments

    Angry Berners have been rightly decrying the despicable manipulations of CNN, says Caitlin Johnstone.

    By Caitlin Johnstone


    “In fact the power of these vast news media corporations to manipulate the way the populace thinks and votes stretches far beyond the consequences of a mere presidential election. The ability to manufacture consent for the agendas of the plutocratic class which controls these corporations enables war, ecocide, militarism, soul-crushing oligarchic neoliberalism, increasingly Orwellian surveillance programs and an increasingly militarized police force to destroy lives and this very world without it ever occurring to a critical majority that it would be possible for us to use the power of our numbers to force real changes to our advantage.

    “It is good that people are loudly criticizing this dynamic. It’s important to keep drawing attention to the way we’re being manipulated out of having any control over not just what happens in our world, but over what we think about what happens in our world. Hopefully public trust in the mouthpieces of oligarchy can be weakened to such an extent that people stop buying into their deceptions.”

  3. CNN Bias continued the day after the DNC Debates

    Opinion: Bernie Sanders isn’t facing enough scrutiny – CNN

    “….little attention was paid to an article he wrote in 1969, exploring studies on stress and wondering if there could be a link between what parents taught their daughters about sexual mores and their child’s likelihood of developing breast cancer.

    Few are aware that before he got to Congress, he was even more radical. In 1972, he backed a political platform’s call for the abolition of all laws that interfere with the constitutional right of citizens to bear arms.“

  4. I am not a Sanders supporter, still the case you have laid out is compelling. The “press” in general needs a wake-up call. It’s biased positions were here long before Sanders and Trump. A possible “wake-up” would be for the next president to Revoke All Whitehouse Press passes and reissue them via a lottery, guaranteeing 1 Press pass to media in every state sould one be requested. Access to public officials by the Press is not a Right, but rather a privilege . Reporters should remember this and behave accordingly.

  5. It’s eerily satisfying watching the Left eat it’s own. If we could get the Right to do this, the oligarchy would die.

      1. Anonymous – you can always depend on the Bee to bring you insider info.

        1. Mr. Schulte,
          Fortunately, The Babylon Bee crew stuck around and kept their cameras rolling, capturing everything that happened after the networks stopped recording.🧐

          1. Anonymous – I am just surprised he got such a good price on an “authentic” peace pipe on eBay. My wife tells me prices have been going up.

    1. loupgarous – this is not the first time she has been called a liar on national TV.. 🙂

  6. Psssst, Dont Tell Bernie Bros, But Sanders Is Unelectable

    Electability matters down the ballot as well. If Sanders is the nominee, he will face the spectacle of Democrats in swing states and districts running from his agenda, not toward it. To date, Sanders does not have a single endorsement from a lawmaker on the Democrats’ Frontline list — the House Democrats facing tough races, many in districts Trump won in 2016. That is not an accodent.

    The Sanders agenda won’t sell there, and elected Democrats running for their political lives in these critical states and districts will sprint from a set of plans that costs between $60 trillion (the cautious estimate) and $97 trillion (the estimate Republicans will use) over the next decade. These Democrats will balk at an agenda that doubles the size of government. They will say no to the middle-class tax increases already being proposed by Sanders and the massive deficits he could create because his tax plans cover only a sliver of his costs.
    In 2017, Sanders wrote in the New York Times that, to win in 2018, Democrats should run on an agenda that was unapologetically far to the left. Led by then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), they did exactly the opposite. When the dust settled on Democrats’ landslide victory, Sanders’s political organization could not claim a single flipped seat in the House, while the moderate New Democrat Coalition claimed 31 of the net 40 red-to-blue wins.

    Sanders is truly an authentic politician. That helps explain why some early national polls show him competitive in a head-to-head race against Trump. But at about this time in 1984, a Gallup poll had Mondale in a dead heat with Ronald Reagan. Eleven months later, after Mondale’s agenda was fully litigated, Reagan won 59 percent to 41 percent.

    Edited from: “Bernie Sanders Agenda Makes Him The Definition Of Unelectable”

    This Evening’s Washington Post

    Professor Turley headlines this column with, “CNN Under Fire For Overly Hostile Treatment Of Sanders In Iowa Debate”. But in all my reading today I saw no stories saying that CNN was ‘under fire’. To the contrary I saw several stories saying that Warren possibly has good reason to be upset with Sanders. So I’m not at all sure why Professor Turley thinks ‘CNN Is Under Fire’. Maybe that story is playing in only rightwing media. I wouldn’t know.

    Trump supporters have always pretended to admire Bernie Sanders. And they typically comment that Sanders got a ‘raw deal from the Democrats’. Never mind that Sanders was never a Democrat, the DNC was supposed to hand Bernie their nomination and tell Hillary to get lost (even though she decisively beat Bernie in the 2016 primaries).

    This Op Ed that I posted from explains the ‘real reason’ Trump supporters have so much sympathy for Bernie: ‘They know that Sanders would wash-out in the general election’. That’s why Professor Turley, and most of our resident Trumpers, keep saying what a great guy Bernie is. They know painting Bernie as a far-left radical would be an easy job.

    1. Hillary Clinton was unelectable and lost to the least popular president in USA history.

      Sanders beat all of Obama the super stars records for crowds and donations and is beating his own records!

      1. Emma, Hillary won the Popular Vote by a 2% margin. That’s well within the bounds of a normal victory.

        1. It is instructive that you would call a humiliating loss of epic proportions a win, one that failed to result in the coveted title of “President of the USA” but instead the ridicule and scorn from continent to continent



          1. It’s instructive that you would call a fluke of a victory a “humiliating loss of epic proportions” for the opposition. Somehow you’ve got landslide victories mixed up with bizarre, Electoral College-only victories and you think they’re both the same.

            1. “humiliating loss”

              Totally humiliating but Peter is constantly humiliated and doesn’t recognize it.

  7. “Later, Warren appeared to refuse to shake the hand of Sanders.”

    It may have looked that way. But most Native Americans use a light and fleeting gesture. Touching is considered invasive.

  8. I’m not a Bernie Sanders guy, but I guess the fix is in again. Just like in 2016.

  9. Bernie organizer caught saying a lot of nasty stuff about gulags and lining up reactionary americans on the beach for execution “after the revolution…” here is one of the clips of this guy’s violent talk. said milwaukee is gonna burn if bernie doesnt get nominated and they’re planning on attcking and beating police

    ps gulags were “not that bad”

  10. If forced to choose between CNN and Bernie Sanders, most people are going to go with Bernie. My understanding is he had a fundraising boon because of CNN’s attempted take down.

    Maybe some people on the left now have an appreciation for Trump’s identification of this phony “news” organization for what it is.



    Those of us without cable, or the desire to watch Fox News, have rarely, if ever, seen White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. Grisham was appointed to succeed the better-known Sarah Huckabee Sanders who left the White House several months ago.

    But since assuming the job, Grisham has held NO briefings for the White House press corps. In fact, a large segment of the public has no idea what Grisham looks or sounds like! Grisham is something of a phantom outside the rightwing bubble. Yet Grisham has given 26 exclusive interviews to Fox News.

  12. “CNN Under Fire For…”

    Why aren’t CNN and the rest of the communist Mainstream Media “under fire” for NOT reporting that Bill Clinton shot down a passenger airliner and covered it up after CNN and the MSM reported that Iran shot down a passenger airliner and covered it up?

    If reporting the truth is good when it relates to Iran, why isn’t reporting the truth good when it relates to America?

    Why do the MSM hide the truth from the American people?

    “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    – William Casey, CIA Director 1981-1987

    1. “Shortly, the public will be unable to reason or think for themselves. They’ll only be able to parrot the information they’ve been given on the previous night’s news.” – Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1972. Brzezinski was one of the Democrat Party’s thought leaders. CNN , MSNBC, and others of their ilk have been following Brzezinski’s roadmap and have the “thoughts” of Democratic Party voters well under control. However, excluding strangleholds like California, New York, and Massachusetts, Brzezinski was wrong about the majority of voters. Otherwise, Donald Trump would never have been elected president.

      1. The only problem the democrats face is a little old thing called the Constitution which denies the entire American welfare state. All the principles of communism are unconstitutional.

        Affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc., are all unconstitutional.

        Congress cannot exercise dominion in any fashion over private property, tax for the purpose of redistribution in any form, or regulate anything other than the value of money and the flow of commerce to preclude bias or favor.

        – The right to private property is not qualified by the Constitution and is absolute.

        – Article 1, Section 8 provides Congress the power to tax for ONLY “…general Welfare…” omitting and, thereby, excluding any power to tax for individual or specific welfare.

        – Article 1, Section 8 provides Congress the power to regulate ONLY the “value” of “money” and the flow of “commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;…” No other power of Congress to regulate is enumerated in the Constitution.

  13. Does Elizabeth Warren own a dress?! Honestly…..her fans should start a Go Fund Me page for clothes that might make it appear as though she is a woman running for President……..instead of her always appearing as if she has just left the gym to come to attend her next gig.
    Memo to Liz: We KNOW you’re thin and in shape, ok? So, why not, occasionally, dress unlike men, instead of like them.
    It was refreshing to me to see Amy Klobuchar in her beautiful red dress/suit……That image totally set her apart from the men on the stage….and why not? She’s a woman running for President!! I thought Amy’s appearance showed a seriousness and respect for what was taking place.

    1. Cindy:

      “Does Elizabeth Warren own a dress?! Honestly…..her fans should start a Go Fund Me page for clothes that might make it appear as though she is a woman running for President…”


      It’s hard to dress when your style is 70s grade school librarian. You shoulda seen the bead-studded, buckskin fringy thing she wanted to wear. Clashed with the feathers so they 86’ed it all.

      1. mespo…..LOL! I forgot about her “heritage”…..
        And I don’t have to tell you there’s nothing worse than an over-dressed fake Cherokee.🛶

    2. Cindy Bragg – have you seen Liz’s putative husband? Of course, she is trying to get the lesbian vote.

        1. Cindy Bragg – Liz may have introduced him in the infamous “I’m going to have a beer” ad. He was in and out.

    3. Liz Warren does not select her own clothes that she wears for public events. Warren does not leave such matters to chance. She relies on fashion consultants to craft her image. Love or hate her clothing, her designer is Nina McLemore, who has designed clothing for many of the high-profile female power players, including such clients as Hillary Clinton, Janet Yellen, Elena Kagan, and many others, including many of the top female executives running some of the world’s largest corporations.

      Here’s a brief video about Nina McLemore.

      1. James….thank you for the input……..But, seriously, she doesn’t choose her own clothes? So this is Socialist Chic? Does she change clothes in the back of her limo, too? 😊
        I still say if she wants to be treated like a lady-woman, in my opinion, she needs dress like one.

          1. James……Regardinng Nina McLemore: Those clothes really are quite hideous, imo. They look as though they were custom-made for the soul-less in society.
            Thank you for telling me about her.

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