Down in the Polls, Sanders Echoes Trump on Media Bias

The senator suggests he gets bad press because he has criticized the owner of a newspaper.

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, January 9, 2016
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, January 9, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

First, Bernie Sanders suggested the Democratic Party teamed up on him in 2016 to deny him the presidential nomination. (Of a party of which he is not even a member.)

Now he is suggesting The Washington Post is giving him negative coverage because he has been critical of its owner, Jeff Bezos.

America already has one party that regularly calls the legitimacy of institutions like universities, the FBI and NATO into doubt. It doesn’t need Democrats to do the same.

Bad press

Like Donald Trump, Sanders believes Bezos, who also owns the online retailer Amazon, is responsible for giving him bad press, telling supporters in New Hampshire this week:

I talk about [Amazon’s taxes] all the time. And then I wonder why The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why.

The senator toned down his criticism in an interview with CNN, agreeing that Bezos doesn’t get on the phone in the morning to ask his editors, “What could we do to hurt Bernie Sanders?”

But he did suggest the “corporate” media treat him unfairly because he is critical of big business:

We are taking on corporate America. Large corporations own the media in America, by and large, and I think there is a framework about how the corporate media focuses on politics. That is my concern.

And his campaign still sent out this email:

It is no shock to me that the big networks and news organizations, which are owned and controlled by a handful of large corporations, either barely discuss our campaign or write us off when they do.

When we trail in a poll, it gets endless coverage.

When a poll is great for us, it barely gets a mention.

When someone out-raises us in fundraising, it’s non-stop news.

When we have the most donations by far, of any other candidate, here comes the coverage about who has the most “crossover donors”, whatever that means.

We’ve said from the start that we will have to take on virtually the entire media establishment in this campaign, and so far that has proven to be true.

Lashing out

The reality is that Sanders’ support has been falling since April. He is now in third place, far behind Joe Biden and a few points behind Elizabeth Warren.

Sanders hasn’t polled above 25 percent this year. His support in 2016 — 43 percent — must have been driven in part by opposition to Hillary Clinton rather than genuine support for Sanders. Now that there are more than two candidates, Democratic primary voters who aren’t happy with the “establishment” choice (Biden) don’t have to line up behind Sanders anymore.

He’s not taking it well.