Bernie Sanders took aim at The Washington Post on Monday, criticizing its coverage of his presidential run, but the newspaper isn’t taking the insult lying down. Editor Marty Baron responded to the senator’s accusations, calling his attacks a “conspiracy theory.”
According to CNN, the independent senator from Vermont was speaking in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as part of a two-day pass through the state to promote his presidential bid. While talking to the audience, he suggested that The Post didn’t run positive articles about him because he is critical of Amazon. Both companies are owned by Jeff Bezos, suggesting that Bezos had ordered the paper to run critical stories about Sanders in retaliation.
“I talk about [Amazon’s taxes] all of the time,” Sanders said. “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.”
He repeated his criticism later in the day at a second campaign event in North Conway, New Hampshire.
“We have pointed out over and over again that Amazon made $10 billion in profits last year. You know how much they paid in taxes? You got it, zero!” he told the audience. “Any wonder why The Washington Post is not one of my great supporters, I wonder why?”
He added that The New York Times was “not much better,” though he didn’t explain how the Times‘ owner was involved in criticism about Amazon’s tax rate.
Baron shot back at Sanders, issuing a statement pointing out that Sanders belongs to a large group of politicians on both sides of the aisle who don’t think that they are being covered fairly by the media.
“Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor, Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest,” Baron said.
2020 Watch-Now: @Foxnewspolitics covers @BernieSanders town hall in Wolfeboro, NH – his first stop in a 2-day swing in the #FITN presidential primary state #BernieSanders #2020Election #FITN #NHpolitics #mapoli pic.twitter.com/lIMMm4SRn2
— Paul Steinhauser (@steinhauserNH1) August 12, 2019
It’s not the first time Baron was forced to defend his paper against the suggestion that Bezos meddles in reporting. He informed The New York Times that the Amazon executive had never once intervened in a story.
Sanders has made a point to criticize the media lately, telling an audience in Orient, Iowa that people need to be careful because the current president is trying to intimidate the media and people on the left don’t want to get dragged into the same tactics. But, he believes that the media is largely controlled by corporations who have their own agenda to push.
While Sanders may be taking aim at the media, his criticism falls short of Donald Trump’s attacks on the so-called fourth estate, which he has called “the enemy of the people,” according to The New York Times.