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On Monday August 12 2019 Bernie was the top trending topic on Twitter with #myberniestory - over a thousand supporters posted a video explaining why they were supporting Bernie. This is newsworthy one might naively think - maybe not the main political topic but certainly worth a mention in one of the CNN segments that day. Wrong. Instead, CNN spent the day smearing Bernie regarding quite innocuous and obviously true comments he made about the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos etc.

Beginning with Poppy Harlow, she described Bernie’s Monday Aug. 12 reference to Jeff Bezos, Amazon and the Washington Post’s providing unfair coverage / no coverage of his campaign as a conspiracy theory. She went on to discuss this notion with Kirsten Powers and Brittany Shepherd, all three agreeing with the idea that Bernie provides no evidence for his criticism of WAPO. As is well known, Bernie is not just critical of the Washington Post - he is critical of the corporate news media in general which are a for-profit enterprise. As such, they tend to steer discussion away from some subjects (like Medicare for all, Green New Deal, student debt loan forgiveness etc). Unlike Trump who decries the ‘fake news’ if there is a story he doesn’t like, Bernie does have plenty of evidence to back up his criticisms of the media.

It would be too easy to just cite how CNN colluded with the DNC to sabotage Bernie’s campaign in 2016, resulting in the resignation of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Donna Brazile (something never mentioned on CNN unsurprisingly). Instead let’s look at the recent allegations of Bernie having no evidence to back up his idea that he is being treated unfairly by the media.

Harlow showed a recent clip of Bernie’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir with Brian Stelter, in which Shakir suggested that after their segment, CNN would go to a commercial break featuring some pharmaceutical products paid for by pharma companies who pay the wages of hosts on CNN (which in turn tends to determine what kinds of political issues are talked about on CNN and which ones aren’t). In reply, Stelter irrelevantly claimed not to know which particular commercials are shown on CNN. Harlow then repeated Stelter’s idea to her panelists, claiming that they don’t know what particular commercials are coming up while they are on air in defense of Stelter’s idea that Shakir lacked evidence.

Even if you don’t know which particular commercials are coming up as a news host, objective journalists and everyone else watching CNN in America knows that every commercial break is full of pharmaceutical commercials - there’s almost as much commercial break featuring pharmaceutical products as actual show. For Harlow to suggest that Faiz Shakir had no evidence for his claim about pharmaceutical commercials is just a blatant deliberate deception, and her two media stooges played along. She must know that CNN shows lots of pharmaceutical commercials after every segment (even if she doesn’t know which particular ones will be shown). These are not objective journalists. If they were, they’d acknowledge that Faiz Shakir is correct about the constant bombardment of pharmaceutical commercials on CNN and the role of the pharmaceutical industry on the wages of CNN contributors and their narrative.

They might also acknowledge that The Washington Post has a $600 million contract with the CIA! Isn’t that a bit of a red flag (no pun intended)?

Later that day, Jake Tapper followed up with a similar smear piece on Bernie who was alleged to have ‘walked back’ his claim that WAPO is unfair in their coverage of him. A bit of footage was shown of Bernie saying that he doesn’t think Jeff Bezos is phoning people telling them what to write (which was never what he said in original New Hampshire claim or any other claim). No evidence was presented by CNN that Bernie walked anything back - he just elaborated on what his position has always been - the corporate media as part of the corporate oligarchy that rules America will do everything in their power to try to subvert his political movement.

Tellingly, the Tapper clip of Bernie was edited to exclude actual evidence of media bias against him (in which Bernie reminded the interviewer that he is never asked about how he intends to deal with wealth inequality, millions homeless, how America is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee health care for all (whilst currently charging twice as much per capita for health care as other countries). Tapper then appealed to his millionaire panelist cronies to chip in their five cents.

Paul Begala, rabid Hillary Clinton supporter, dismissively parodied Bernie as analogous to Luke Skywalker: someone who needed a metaphorical ‘Death Star’ (Hillary) but hasn’t got one anymore. Needless to say he did not address the issue with any objectivity. No one mentioned that since 2016, Bernie has set the agenda for discussion amongst ersatz Democratic Party progressive wannabes like Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris etc. (they have all stolen his ideas but now he is being required to distinguish himself from his own ideas and the charlatans who stole them from him). No-one mentioned that Pete Buttigieg is a recipient from billionaire donors, and has met privately with Neera Tanden etc. to discuss ‘the Bernie problem’.

Amanda Carpenter, former worker for Ted Cruz followed up with an (MSNBC Mimi Rocah - esque) indignant rant about Bernie. None of the panelists drew attention to e.g. the fact that the website FAIR (dot org) found that the Washington Post did sixteen negative op-ed pieces about Bernie in sixteen hours in 2016. That’s some evidence to at least consider, if you are an objective journalist.

Later in the afternoon, Wolf Blitzer continued the anti-Bernie theme. Lawyer Jeffrey Toobin called Bernie’s WAPO criticism ‘idiotic’. Failing to mention any of the above cited evidence for Bernie’s media claims, he proceeded to argue (remember, he is supposed to be a lawyer) that Bernie is only making this sort of media criticism because he is ‘down in the polls’. That’s a ‘tu quoque’ informal fallacy in logic: the attempt is to distract you from the content of Bernie’s criticism (which Toobin did not address).

In any case, contrary to Toobin, Bernie seeming to be ‘down in the polls’ is a function of the media’s selective bias on reporting about polls. Many polls which favor Bernie are not reported on TV and those that favor e.g. Biden are skewed (they don’t include the opinions of people under 50). Also CNN never provides context about polls - they never say that ‘mainly people over fifty were questioned in this poll that puts Biden as front-runner’.

Arlette Saenz (political reporter) and well known CNN reporter and panelist April Ryan also chimed in. Ryan in particular reiterated the idea that Bernie needs to be careful not to sound like Trump in attacking the free press. This was perhaps the most disappointing statement from all the alleged journalists who reported on this Bernie story through the day. Unlike when Trump criticizes the media as doing fake-news just because he doesn’t like what they are reporting, there is ample evidence (some mentioned above) to show why Bernie is not behaving like Trump. Ryan must know this. Where is her integrity?

If the corporate media choose to try to develop this line of attack against Bernie as the primaries unfold, he can easily refute them along the lines suggested above,