We have previously discussed the efforts of the Democratic establishment and some in the media to (again) derail the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, including the raw bias against Sanders shown by CNN reporter Abby Phillip in a prior presidential debate. Now, with Sanders’ victory in New Hampshire and rising polls, figures from both politics and media are putting on a full-court press to stop Sanders. Everyone from James Carville to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews are sounding alarms over Sanders. His victory last night was called the “doomsday scenario” by a Democratic Super PAC. The most shocking was MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd who used a quote form a columnist to compare Sanders supporters to Nazi brown-shirted thugs. It is a technique used before by Todd who reads letters or quotes from others to preserve the patina of neutrality like his recent attack on Trump supporters.
Sanders is not just surging with young people but now surging in national polls ahead of the preferred candidate of the establishment, Joe Biden. On his show, Todd decided to curiously connect the Democratic Socialist with National Socialists in terms of his followers. Todd stated
“Hey I want to bring up something that Jonathan Last put in The Bulwark today. It was about how—and Ruth, we’ve all been on the receiving end of the Bernie online brigade—here’s what he says: He says ‘no other candidate has anything like this sort of digital brownshirt brigade. I mean, except for Donald Trump.’ . . . I know everybody’s freaking out about his, but you saw the MAGA rally that’s prepared around here,” Todd continued. “There are people coming from three or four states on that, that’s real… This is like Bernie.”
He is not alone. The coverage of Sanders remains slanted and negative. His victory is only begrudging acknowledged by some while immediately suggesting that he does not have broad base support.
What is interesting is how such biased reporting can cause a backlash. Many people resented how the media seemed in a uniform drumbeat for Hillary Clinton in 2016. For voters who want to see a challenge to the Washington establishment, the media bias only worked to the advantage of Donald Trump.
It may have the same impact in favor of Bernie Sanders. The fact is that voters like Sanders because he is viewed as authentic — something that they do not associate with either the establishment in politics or the media. The one thing you cannot say about Sanders is that he is scripted conventional politicians who like Biden and Clinton has changed many positions with the poll. It has never been popular to hold socialist views, but Sanders has remained. You have to respect him for that. Voters sense that he is exactly as he appears and not constantly reinvented by political handlers. That is why Chuck Todd and others are fueling, not deterring, support for Sanders.