It's routine for right-wing outlets like Fox to smear progressive activists under the guise of "news" coverage. But why the New York Times? And why the special venom for Bernie Sanders?
After the horrific June 14 shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and three other participants in a Republican baseball practice, the media floodgates opened for slimy innuendos. Before the day was done, a major supplier of the political sewage was the New York Times, which prominently published a left-blaming article that masqueraded as news reporting.
The media watch group FAIR pointed out that the Times piece "started with a false premise and patched together a dodgy piece of innuendo and guilt-by-association in order to place the blame for a shooting in Virginia on 'the most ardent supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders.'"
It would be a mistake to think that the Times story was only the result of bias inflamed by the grisly shooting spree. A few days earlier, the newspaper had front-paged another "news" story hostile to grassroots political forces aligned with Bernie -- a de facto editorial masquerading as news coverage, headlined: "Democrats in Split-Screen: The Base Wants It All. The Party Wants to Win."
In a bizarre disconnect from electoral reality, the article portrayed a party establishment that had lost election after election, including a cataclysmic loss to Trump, as being about winning. And the article portrayed the party's activist base as interfering with the establishment's winning ways.
Such Times stories are now operating under a heightened sense of journalistic impunity since the newspaper abolished its 14-year-old ombudsperson position of "public editor" more than two weeks ago -- further insulating its reporters and editors from accountability. More than ever, calling the shots at the Times -- the most influential news outlet in the United States -- means never having to say you're sorry, or even justify what you've done.
Corporate-owned media hostility toward Sanders and the progressive base has been conspicuous and well-documented. That hostility started early in his campaign and never let up, sometimes manifested as giving him scant coverage. When the momentum of the Bernie campaign gained powerful traction as a threat to the corporate order, big media efforts to trash him went over the top.
At a key political moment last year, as FAIR analyst Adam Johnson wrote, "the Washington Post ran 16 negative stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 hours, between roughly 10:20 PM EST Sunday, March 6, to 3:54 PM EST Monday, March 7 -- a window that includes the crucial Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, and the next morning's spin." The day after this onslaught, Sanders stunned the elite pundit class by winning the Michigan primary.
Now, in mid-2017, with no presidential election in sight, why is the corporate media hostility toward Sanders so prone to surface?
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