Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign manager accused MSNBC of “undermining” the Vermont senator while lauding Fox News for being “more fair” to his campaign.
Faiz Shakir called out the liberal network for its “condescending attitude” toward the Sanders campaign in an interview with Vanity Fair that was published Tuesday.
“It’s been a struggle to change the tone and the tenor of the coverage that we receive,” Shakir said of MSNBC’s treatment of Sanders in his second bid for the White House.
“They’ve been among the last to acknowledge that Bernie Sanders’s path to the nomination is real, and even when it’s become real, they frequently discount it,” he added.
Shakir contended that the coverage of Sanders on MSNBC has been “actively damaging” while noting that even Fox News has been “more fair than MSNBC.”
“That’s saying something,” he said. “Fox is often yelling about Bernie Sanders’ socialism, but they’re still giving our campaign the opportunity to make our case in a fair manner, unlike MSNBC, which has credibility with the left and is constantly undermining the Bernie Sanders campaign.”
The 2020 contender has long railed against “corporate media” though both Sanders and his surrogates have been given frequent airtime on MSNBC. Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas will be cohosted by MSNBC and NBC News and may increase tensions with the network which was approached by Shakir in the fall of 2019.
“We watched a ton of terrible coverage occurring and we thought we’d at least try to address it,” Shakir said of his meeting with MSNBC president Phil Griffin.
“The constant diminishment of Bernie Sanders on MSNBC,” he added, “hurts his case for electability.”
MSNBC contributor James Carville sounded the alarm over a potential Sanders nomination after the Iowa caucuses earlier this month.
James Carville ‘scared to death’ of his party’s cult-like direction: ‘Without power, you have nothing’ https://t.co/cqHr87aPT2
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 5, 2020
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace admitted on the air last week she would vote for Sanders if he is the nominee but wondered if the Democratic Party would be able to tell voters to support a “democratic socialist,” which “sounds scary.”
Chris Matthews also went on a rant that ignited a backlash from Sanders supporters on social media during MSNBC’s post-Democratic debate analysis.
“I’ve seen what socialism’s like, and I don’t like it. OK? It’s not only not free, it doesn’t frickin’ work,” Matthews exclaimed, questioning Sanders’ brand of socialism and arguing that the Democratic Party “has to figure out its ideology.”
“Bernie Sanders is not going to be president of the United States, okay?” he declared.
And a New Hampshire voter told MSNBC’s Ari Melber last week that “Bernie’s got my vote” after the network’s “stop Bernie’ cynicism.”
Awkward: New Hampshire voter tells MSNBC she voted for Sanders as payback for their bad reporting https://t.co/8zcJ9XhsOm
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 12, 2020
Sanders’ campaign manager was frustrated by MSNBC’s treatment of the candidate as well as his supporters.
“You can feel the disdain they have for Bernie Sanders’s supporters,” Shakir told vanity Fair.
“It’s a condescending attitude: ‘Oh, they must not be that intelligent. They’re being deluded. They’re being conned. They’re all crazy Twitter bots.’ My view is that there’s a bit of detachment from MSNBC and the people who this campaign gets support from. It feels like they’re covering progressives from an elitist perspective,” he said.
Journalist and author Glenn Greenwald is also critical of the liberal network.
“There’s a reason the network is mocked as MSDNC: because it’s long been little more than an arm of the party’s establishment apparatus,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter told Vanity Fair.
He contended that MSNBC is “not some news organization with an anti-Sanders bias,” but is actually “a full-scale disinformation machine serving the primary goal” of the Democratic National Committee, which is “destroying the Sanders campaign at any cost.”
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