Conservatives often talk about media bias and how it can shift the narrative. Sometimes, this means an outlet fails to cover a story altogether; other times, they use slanted language to skew the contents of a story.
But once in a while, the media will run with an all-out smear, intended to do little more than take out an intended target. And just before Tuesday’s final Democratic primary debate before the Iowa caucuses, CNN orchestrated its latest hit job.
Their target? Bernie Sanders.
The story focuses on a one-on-one meeting in December 2018 between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, where the two now-candidates discussed the 2020 race, according to The New York Times. The fact that these two met was far from secret; progressive journalists from outlets like New York Magazine have reported on it thoroughly.
Citing sources close to both Warren and Sanders, the magazine reported in June 2019 that the two made a pact: “Warren and Sanders would not go after each other directly on the campaign trail. That’s not what they wanted 2020 to be about.”
And that’s all anybody heard about the meeting. From December 2018 until this past week, no one mentioned sexist comments or a rift between the senators; no “insiders” from the other campaigns had anything to say about it.
Then, mere days before the debate — that CNN hosted — on Thursday evening, CNN dropped a story alleging that Warren said Sanders told her a woman couldn’t win the White House. And while The New York Times says they verified the report, they acknowledge that CNN — and everyone else reporting the story — “relied on anonymous sources.”
If this were the general election, we’d call a story like this an October surprise — a bombshell report that comes right on the heels of Election Day. In 2016, we had two such monster stories: first, the media dropped the infamous Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump. It landed like a nuclear blast on his campaign. But after the fall-out of that video, Clinton got hit as well, when then-FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress reopening the investigation into her email scandal.
It may only be the primaries, but this sure looks like the same thing.
Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has been losing ground for months now. She’s floundering in a distant third or fourth place nationally, and now sits in a secure fourth place in Iowa. And her campaign knows that Sanders stands between her and any chance at the nomination.
The politics of this story are clear; whether or not anything nefarious happened is another story.
For his part, Sanders denies the allegations. He was clearly caught off guard when Warren accused him of calling her a liar on national television after the debate — a moment that CNN kept the mics on for. But the really unconscionable thing CNN did was in how they framed their debate questions.
When questioning Sanders, they didn’t ask him whether or not he said it. Rather, they asked: Why did you say that?
And then, after Sanders hit back, denying the very premise of the question, they proceeded to ask Warren: “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”
It’s about as clear of an example of a loaded question that you’ll ever find. And it’s a clear smear job by a news organization with a set agenda, trying to clear the field for Warren.
These were not journalists — they acted as representatives of the Democratic establishment, trying to kick Sanders out of the race.
I’m as conservative as they get, and as such, I wholly disagree with Bernie Sanders on just about every conceivable subject under the sun. But while I disagree with him, I wouldn’t call him a natural liar.
I would, however, call Elizabeth Warren a bald-faced liar to her face. For one, nothing about this story makes any sense. If it were true, we’d have heard about it before this debate — and before Elizabeth Warren wasn’t floundering in the polls with a failing campaign.
Remember, Warren lied about her ancestry, claiming she was a minority to get on Harvard’s faculty roster. She even went so far as to try and use a DNA test to prove she was Native American, bizarrely relying on the old (and racist) one-drop-of-blood rule.
Warren has also lied and changed her story multiple times on whether or not she was fired or quit her job as a teacher. She refused to answer questions about her “Medicare for All” plan for so long it became a campaign meme. And when she finally did answer questions, the answers were so wrong it sunk her campaign.
In the 2020 campaign alone, Warren has had a fast and loose relationship with the truth. Bernie Sanders is wrong about everything, but he doesn’t have the same relationship with lying as Warren.
That brings us to the end question: In this CNN smear-job, who do you believe?
Do you think Warren, who is floundering in the polls and early states and needs a dramatic turnaround to win, is telling the truth? Or do you believe Bernie?
One helpful note: both Warren and CNN waited to drop this bombshell until right before the debate — and right before the Senate impeachment trial begins to limit Sanders’ capacity to change the media narrative.
If this were a game of Clue, the end result would be Elizabeth Warren, on the debate stage, with CNN, stabbing Bernie Sanders — a person she claims is a friend — in the back.
With friends like these…