Recently the Washington Post took yet another shot at Bernie Sanders, publishing an article titled “Sanders Accuses the Post of Biased Coverage Due to His Criticism of Amazon, Cites No Evidence.” The Post cited its own executive editor, Martin Baron, who said Bezos does not interfere or influence the paper’s coverage. Specifically saying, “Sen. Sanders is a member of a large club of politicians – of every ideology – who complain about their coverage. Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor, Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.”
Framing Bernie’s beef with the Washington Post as a conspiracy theory ignores two main points of Bernie’s critique.
First, Bernie’s critique is far more subtle than Baron gives him credit. He never said Bezos directs negative coverage against him, just that the Washington Post seems to do so a lot. Taking that critique to its logical end doesn’t mean Bezos is directly involved in the process. It simply means those working at the Post know there is a company line they must follow. Certain columnists know they are there to write certain articles. And with exceptions made for people like Elizabeth Bruenig who is a Bernie supporter, for the most part the writers at the Post aren’t there to push a left narrative.
Second, the Washington Post has a LONG history of anti-Bernie smear pieces.
For those on the left calling the Washington Post biased against Bernie Sanders isn’t any sort of conspiracy theory, it’s just stating the obvious. In a somewhat infamous moment of the 2016 campaign, the Washington Post published 16 negative stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 hours. Between Sunday March 6, 2016 to March 7, 2016, a window which included a Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, Washington Post published these zingers.
From there the coverage hasn’t been much better. As we noted in a piece months ago titled “House of Many Hit Pieces A Closer Look at Over Two Months of Anti-Bernie Coverage From the Washington Post” we dove into 10 articles published by the Washington Post, just to highlight how shallow their anti-Bernie digs really are.
Since then many a Bernie hit-piece have graced the pages of the Washington Post. In the last month alone these are just some of the doozies they’ve thrown up.
- Bernie Sanders Runs Into Socialist Reality
- Is Iowa No Long Feelin’ the Bern?
- Trump and Sanders Look to Canada for Affordable Drugs. But We’re Not a Good Model to Follow – Yet.
- The NRA Helped Elect Bernie Sanders. Why Won’t He Admit It?
And the article we started this article with,
And this isn’t an exhaustive list of the negative articles on Bernie the Washington Post has published. Not even close. This does not appear to be a publication without a slant when it comes to Bernie Sanders. And connecting these negative pieces to the material interests of the publication’s billionaire owner doesn’t seem completely unfair. Not because Bezos himself dictates the Post’s work product, but because the writer’s at the Post, for the most part, were hired because they won’t champion a Bernie Sanders style politics. There are exceptions to that rule, but on days where the Post is cranking out 16 negative hit pieces in less than 24 hours, those exceptions aren’t so important. Those pieces are there, they were written by the Post’s writers and they were written for a reason.
That reason doesn’t have to be “Bezos wanted us to take down Bernie” for them to be problematic. From Bernie’s perspective, and that of his supporters, “I was hired for my moderate view on American politics and will use the platform I’ve been given accordingly” is just as problematic. Directly motivated by Bezos or not, it’s a problem.
As Bernie himself said, “I think my criticism of the corporate media is not that they are anti-Bernie – that they wake up, you know, in the morning and say, ‘What can we do to hurt Bernie Sanders? That’s not the case, that Jeff Bezos gets on the phone to The Washington Post, but there is a framework of what we can discuss and what we cannot discuss, and that’s a serious problem.”
That framework of what can and cannot be discussed is the problem and it’s baked in from the beginning. Jeff Bezos knows who the higher ups will hire. He knows what the editors will allow. And he structures his organizations accordingly. The Washington Post doesn’t post 16 hit pieces in a day for no reason and they aren’t still cranking them out for no reason. The Post as an entity is there to push the line of the billionaire class and week after week they do just that. Ultimately that’s the problem, it’s not Bezos, but the fact that an organization owned by Bezos likely wouldn’t pan out any other way. Structurally the Post is against Bernie, because structurally the post is for people like Bezos, and as Bernie said, that’s a serious problem.