Because he’s a socialist, Bernie Sanders is naturally obsessed with “fairness.” I’ve written before about how Sanders and his campaign love to complain about bias against them at MSNBC – the most left-leaning mainstream television news outlet.
The campaign is at it again. Vanity Fair reports that Faiz Shakir, Sander’s campaign manager, is tired of the coverage that his candidate has received at the hands of MSNBC:
“It’s been a struggle to change the tone and the tenor of the coverage that we receive,” Shakir said in an interview. “They’ve been among the last to acknowledge that Bernie Sanders’s path to the nomination is real, and even when it’s become real, they frequently discount it.” (A study from progressive magazine In These Times buttresses Shakir’s critique). Sanders also attended the off-the-record discussion with Griffin; an MSNBC spokesperson said the network has hosted similar meetings with other Democratic candidates. Shakir said the 30 Rock chat was “open” and “cordial,” but now, months later, he’s “not sure it really changed anything.”
Thin-skinned Bernie has made his displeasure known, and Bernie Bros lash out when they believe their guy has been slighted. They cite Chris Matthews and his “warnings” about Sanders, along with Joy Ann Reid’s suggestion that the socialist lied when he said he respected Elizabeth Warren.
Sanders’ followers are lashing out at MSNBC too, complaing oaubt what they call “Stop Bernie cynicism”:
MSNBC has pushed back, as the Daily Beast reported back in the summer:
“A presidential campaign complaining about tough questions and commentary speaks for itself,” the spokesperson said. “Our anchors and analysts are doing their jobs: discussing day-to-day developments that have an impact on the race.”
What does it all mean? Is the problem simply that MSNBC isn’t willing to fawn over the socialist? Not exactly. One host said on air that Sanders makes her “skin crawl,” while Matthews has compared Sanders to George McGovern. So there’s a certain amount of animus toward Sanders, even from the reliably left-leaning network.
As Sanders is emerging as a front runner, will we see coverage change? That remains to be seen, but what happens if he wins the nomination? If Bernie Sanders becomes the Democrats’ only hope to stop the re-election of Donald Trump, I bet we can see a difference in the coverage. But not too much – after all, when you’ve said some of the things MSNBC personalities have said about Sanders, there’s only so much you can take back.