'The Washington Post' Vs. Bernie Sanders: Newspaper Runs 16 Negative Stories About Candidate In 16 Hours

Mike Bessler

"Don't believe the liberal media" is a longstanding rallying cry of conservative-minded folks in America, but supporters of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders might well feel like at least one prominent media outlet is decidedly against them during the present election season. According to media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), the Washington Post – a paper that has often been accused of leaning to the left over the course of recent decades – has been hammering away at the Vermont senator over the course of recent days, running a total of 16 negative stories against Sanders in just 16 hours. An article published by FAIR suggested that the tally of critical articles "has to be some kind of record."

Articles in the batch cited by FAIR include titles such as "Bernie Sanders Pledges the US Won't Be No. 1 in Incarceration. He'll Need to Release Lots of Criminals," "Clinton Is Running for President. Sanders Is Doing Something Else," and "And the Most Partisan Senator of 2015 Is … Bernie Sanders!" All 16 of the purportedly anti-Sanders pieces were published between 10:20 p.m. on March 6 and 3:54 p.m. on March 7.

The Washington Post answered the call by FAIR and others to address the spate of negative press for Sanders via an article by Callum Borchers. The writer defended his paper's coverage of the Democratic candidate, suggesting that it is comparable to the "vetting process" that other candidates – including Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton – should be expected to endure during a political campaign.

"[E]ven if we accept the idea that Post reporting, analysis and commentary combined to put Sanders through the wringer, I fail to see the inherent trouble. As I've written before, Sanders skated through the early portion of the primary season on stories about his 'yuge' crowds and better-than-expected poll numbers. It was one of the perks of being an underdog. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, faced constant scrutiny of her tenure as secretary of state — most notably her response to a 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya and her use of a private email server."

Nevertheless, criticism of the Washington Post's treatment of Bernie Sanders has resonated with the aspiring president's supporters on social media. A tweet by FAIR contributor Adam H. Johnson that included screenshots of all 16 of the above-noted Sanders-themed headlines garnered around 6,000 retweets and over 5,000 likes in the first few hours after it was posted.

— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) March 8, 2016

Despite his own bumpy ride in the media over the course of the past week or so, Bernie Sanders does not appear ready or willing to give up on his quest for the Democratic nomination. Pundits are predicting a respectable showing for the candidate in the Michigan primary, and the Sanders camp will soon look ahead to major contests in Ohio and Florida. And while Bernie Sanders might not garner an endorsement from the Washington Post, he has gained a boost from endorsements by the likes of former DNC vice chairperson Tulsi Gabbard and the magazine The Nation.

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]