CNN Absurdly Compares Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders with Trump Over Media Complaints
CNN has been pushing an offensive comparison between Donald Trump’s treatment of the press and complaints by the Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders camps about the media’s coverage of the Democratic presidential primary campaign, saying that Sanders and Biden are using “Trump’s playbook.”
CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny first made the comparison about Sanders on Monday, tweeting that “In NH today, @BernieSanders sounds a lot like @realDonaldTrump as he trashes Amazon: ‘I talk about that all of the time 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 I don’t know why.’”
On Tuesday morning’s edition of New Day, the network cast the net a bit wider. Co-host Erica Hill introduced a package featuring clips of Sanders and senior Biden adviser Symone Sanders by saying “Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign and Senator Bernie Sanders taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook.”
The featured clip of Symone Sanders showed her complaining about the gaffe coverage of Biden’s stint at the Iowa State Fair. “I want to be really clear, this is a press narrative, not a voter narrative, if you were to look at the coverage in Iowa this weekend and juxtapose the local newspapers and the local television coverage to national media coverage, you would have thought these reporters were at two different events.”
The Bernie clip contained the quote that Zeleny referenced, but included the fact that Amazon paid zero dollars in federal income tax last year.
The panel mainly focused on the validity, or lack thereof, of the specific critiques being offered.
On that score, it is difficult to argue that Symone Sanders’ remarks were in any way out of bounds. Just how much coverage should be given to two verbal lapses in the context of a president who has lied 12,000 times since taking office is fair game, and a campaign surrogate pointing out her candidate’s positive reception by local media is literally her job.
In Bernie Sanders’ case, the attack on Jeff Bezos is a bit more ripe for a comparison to Trump, but even in that narrow sense, Trump’s attacks have been many degrees worse. What Sanders is implying — with a finer conspiratorial point — is that corporate ownership of media may have an influence on news coverage, while Trump has accused Bezos of running a flat-out “lobbying” organization that publishes “fake news.”
But by lumping Sanders and Sanders together, CNN has elevated the premise from mere false equivalency to a dangerous and offensive normalization of Trump, and one which CNN in particular should know better than to make.
The only unifying feature of these clips is a critique of the media by a political campaign, yet CNN compares this to a president whose relentless anti-press words and actions culminated in pipe bombs being sent to CNN’s headquarters.
Of all people, CNN journalists should know that there is a huge difference between gently criticizing the press and inciting violence against them.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]