NYT Front Page 'Hit Piece' on Sanders

By | 5/24/2016 3 comments

On Monday, the New York Times ran a front page story with the headline “Bernie Sanders Makes a Campaign Mark. Now, Can He Make a Legacy?” Since there had already been rumblings from establishment Democrats in recent days suggesting that Bernie Sanders was “damaging his brand” and “hurting his legacy,” our suspicions were raised.

Sure enough, what was posing as an objective political news story on the cover of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper was in reality little more than a blatant piece of op-ed clearly skewed against the Vermont Senator.

Written by the Times’ Jonathan Mahler, a former sports columnist for Bloomberg View, and Yamiche Alcindor, previously a reporter at USA Today, the article posits that the race is essentially over and instead of wasting his time campaigning, Mr. Sanders should busy himself in building a version of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition for the left.  

It states: “Far from laying the foundation to transform his campaign into a movement, Mr. Sanders is wrapped up in the race itself, sharpening his attacks on Hillary Clinton and demanding she debate him before the June 7 primary in California.” In other words, instead of quitting and focusing on a pet project, he’s making a nuisance of himself by continuing the democratic process in his race against the self-anointed nominee of the party.

It then ends the paragraph with this comment: “And many of his supporters are following his cue.” That, quite outrageously, is then used as a segue into the following paragraph: “In an ugly series of events this month that, if nothing else, showed how difficult they may be to herd, Sanders supporters disrupted the Nevada Democratic convention and later threatened the state party chairwoman in a fight over delegates.”

The clear implication being, of course, that by continuing his criticisms of his political opponent, he is by extension encouraging his supporters to engage in disruptive and threatening behavior. And yes, you read that right; it referred to how difficult it might be to “herd” Sanders’ supporters. Not lead, not preside over or manage but “herd.”

The article then goes on to quote the eminently irrelevant Howard Dean (former party rebel turned Clinton superdelegate), who also suggests that Mr. Sanders stop wasting his time with his campaign and get busy behind the scenes.

Next up was a swipe at Sanders’ political skills: “And Mr. Sanders himself does not have a reputation for leadership; in Congress, he is seen as more of a lone wolf [read: political independent], known more for introducing symbolic legislation [with a link to an article that incongruously touts his legislative successes] than for methodically building constituencies [read: pandering to the Democratic establishment].”

The article does, however, take a moment to give Mr. Sanders a little credit: “Few dispute that Mr. Sanders has already had an effect. His campaign has not only galvanized young voters, but also produced an invaluable email list, several million strong, of fervent activists and donors.” And that, according to the Times, is about the sum total of Sanders’ achievements: that he’s excited young people and created a big email list. A more patronizing and belittling assessment of Mr. Sanders’ historic, record-breaking campaign would be hard to imagine.

However, a brief look at the Twitter feed of Jonathan Mahler, one of the writers of the piece, goes some way in explaining the above:

Jonathan Mahler Retweeted
Andy Bachman ‏@andybachman  • May 23
“If @BernieSanders thinks it's more abt him than the people, the movement fizzles.  True, @jonathanmahler & @Yamiche”

Jonathan Mahler ‏@jonathanmahler  • May 5
“Will Bernie's Hillary-bashing online army ultimately get behind her? with @NYTnickc”

Jonathan Mahler ‏@jonathanmahler  • Apr 17
“great @patrickhealynyt on Bernie's history of sarcasm and general nastiness vs his opponents.”

In fairness, we checked the Twitter feed of the other writer of the piece, Yamiche Alcindor, and found no such bias.

The upshot:

How the Times can purport to be a “newspaper of record” when it puts such a biased, distorted piece of so-called reportage on its front page instead of the op-ed section where it belongs beggars belief. If that’s the level of journalistic standards it has now stooped to, then “All the News That's Fit to Print” it is not.

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  1. The New York Times lost their right to "All the news thats fit to print." some time ago. JMHO

    1. Not just your humble opine, millions will /would agree...ashame