On the night before the seventh Democratic presidential debate, CNN reported that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said to Elizabeth Warren in a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t beat Donald Trump, which Sanders later denied. The accusations prompted some to note that the report used four sources that were not present in the conversation, while others suggested that CNN and Warren were engaging in a hit on the rising Vermont senator.
Not long after, congressional candidate and The Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur took to Twitter to claim that the story was in the works for months.
“Apparently several MSM reporters were working on this @BernieSanders story for months. What does that tell you?” Uygur asked. “They had a pre-conceived notion that they wanted to paint Bernie as sexist & it was just a matter of when they could cajole SOMEONE on @ewarren to play ball.”
Uygur also pointed to similar patterns in other elections.
“But the script was already written. Every progressive leader is criticized as too far left until it gets close to an election than [sic] they are characterized as too far right and smeared as sexist, etc. Every single time. And every time the national media has its fingerprints on it.”
During the debate itself, many noted that CNN pushed centrist talking points and appeared to exhibit bias against Sanders, Common Dreams reported. The report detailed that Rolling Stone writers pointed to the inanity of the moderators’ questions, while HuffPost’s Zach Carter called them “awful.”
Sanders’ National Co-Chair Nina Turner noted the “interesting” framing of the debate questions, which appeared to be slanted against the 78-year-old politician.
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) January 15, 2020
Per The Intercept, Waleed Shahid — spokesperson for Justice Democrats, an organization that was founded by former 2016 Sanders staffers but has not yet made a 2020 endorsement — believes that the media has long desired for a spat between Sanders and Warren. According to Shahid, the two progressive candidates are taking the bait when they should instead by focusing on attacking Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. He also noted that none of the drama thus far has matched the negativity that was seen in the 2008 primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Zina Precht-Rodriguez, political communications manager at Sunrise Movement — which has endorsed Sanders — claims that infighting does nothing but help the Republican Party, the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, big oil, and fossil fuel billionaires. She expressed hope that Sanders and Warren will turn their focus to matters that are important to all Americans, as reported in The Intercept.