The confrontation between Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren was one of the highlights of the seventh Democratic presidential debate. Echoing media reports amplified by her own campaign, Warren accused Sanders of gender discrimination, claiming that he told her during a private one-on-one meeting that a woman could never be president of the United States. Sanders vehemently denied the allegation.
After the debate, the senator extended his hand to Warren, but she refused to shake it. An audio recording of the confrontation later revealed that Warren accused Sanders of calling her a liar. Sanders responded that it was Warren who accused him of lying, telling her that he'd like to continue the discussion later. On Saturday, MSNBC host Joy Reid brought on a "body language expert" to determine which of the candidates was telling the truth, according to Mediaite.
"Bernie Sanders does have a sort of physicality when he talks that is a shaking your finger at Hillary Clinton, shaking your finger, shoving," Reid began, stating that Sanders' "physicality" has led her to conclude that the senator stating a woman cannot win seems like something he would say.
In agreement with the host, the alleged expert, Janine Driver, concluded that Sanders is indeed "lying."
"We see him, he slouches forward anyway Joy, but here he turtles... his whole shoulders come up like a little kid getting caught, his eye level is below his shoulders, this is trying to hide in plain sight."The segment went viral on social media, and dozens of journalists and prominent figures were quick to point out that the alleged body language expert and the host were slandering Sanders and pushing anti-Semitic stereotypes about his appearance and behavior. After The Nation's Ken Klippenstein pointed out via Twitter that Driver shared anti-vaccine conspiracy theories on social media, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept slammed MSNBC, Reid, and her guest.
"What [MSNBC] allows on its air - this segment of bullsh*t charlatan body language analysis to prove Bernie is lying mixed with Joy Reid's anti-semitic stereotypes about his pushy use of his hands when speaking - is appalling but typical," Greenwald said.
In a tweet, writer Adam H. Johnson accused MSNBC of poor journalistic practice and anti-Semitism.MSNBC has been criticized for being hostile to Sanders. An analysis released in November found that the network's coverage of Sanders is largely negative, and that the senator is covered and talked about less than candidates he leads in the polls by large margins.
Prominent supporters of the senator, such as actor John Cusack, have suggested that the network needs to be boycotted, as have supporters of Sanders' fellow White House hopeful Andrew Yang.