Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump caused a veritable outrage-gasm this week when he said, then un-said, that women seeking abortions under a legal ban should be punished, an issue that Hillary Clinton managed to also turn into an attack on her Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders. Clinton has accused Sanders of minimizing the issue of access to abortion, an attack which Sanders says is taken out of context. In his lengthy interview with Rachel Maddow Wednesday night, Sanders spoke about the issue for a good five minutes, and here is the full context of what he said:
Now, I will leave it to the viewer to determine just what it was that Bernie Sanders was trying to convey, and how much this context helps him. I think his overall point is that there’s a pattern of the media failing to hold Trump accountable for his positions, in favor of narrowly covering the kerfuffle of the moment. When Maddow asks him directly if he thinks the media is overreacting, Sanders says “Of course it should be mentioned.” Since he’d just spent three or four minutes denouncing the Republicans on the issue, it’s pretty clear his meaning is that the media should also be paying attention to issues like climate change.
So where did Hillary Clinton get the idea that Bernie Sanders thinks this issue is no big deal? Well, in a weird quirk of timing, Maddow taped her interview with Hillary before Trump made his comments, then taped her interview with Sanders, then went back to Hillary to get her reaction to Trump’s remarks. As a result, a good hour before Bernie’s remarks aired in full, Maddow aired this clip asking Hillary to react to what Bernie said:
I spoke with your Democratic opponent, Bernie Sanders, after this happened and he was critical of Mr. Trump’s remark, but then he also said that this is basically another Donald Trump stupid remark, that the media will cover ad nauseam as opposed to something like the minimum wage, taxes, climate change that might be more deserving of extended attention. Do you think this was another Donald Trump stupid comment, and the media might be making too much of this?
Now, Bernie ought to have known better than to deliver the “every stupid remark” sound bite, but he did not say what Maddow says he said. It’s an open question whether Hillary ever went back and watched Sanders’ full remarks, or if she did, maybe just found Maddow’s spin appealing, but this is self-evidently the first time she heard it. What Maddow did was what we in the biz call “shopping” a quote, but in this case, it was a bad shopping trip that everyone involved should learn a lesson from.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.