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General News    H4'ed 1/14/20

CNN's Sanders Hit Piece Doesn't Pass the Smell Test

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Bernie Sanders' campaign pushes back on Elizabeth Warren's claims According to sources, Sen. Bernie Sanders told Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a private meeting in December 2018 that he did not believe a woman could win ...
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This article originally appeared yesterday in FAIR.org

CNN(1/13/20) has an anonymously sourced hit piece out today on Bernie Sanders, claiming that at a meeting in Elizabeth Warren's home on December 18, 2018, he told her "a woman can't win" the presidency.

The article, by CNNcorrespondent MJ Lee, is so journalistically shoddy that someone reading only the first few paragraphs would end up believing that it is a fact that the current top-polling candidate for the February 3 Iowa Caucus actually said that. Never is Sanders' "quote" prefaced with the term "allegedly."

None of the four anonymous staffers/friends making the charge of Sanders sexism were actually witnesses who were apparently in the room that day. Two, according to Lee, spoke to Warren "shortly after" that meeting. The other two "sources" were described only as people who "knew about the meeting."

CNN (1/13/19) on Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren: Let's you and him fight.

Sanders issued a blistering denial to CNN, saying, "It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn't win." He added:

It's sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren't in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.

So far, Warren has not commented on the story, either to confirm or deny it.

The timing of this poorly sourced and poorly written story, appearing the day before a crucial candidates' debate and days before the start of the actual primary season, on a network that has been hostile to or dismissive of Sanders for years, is a journalistic outrage.

On its face, the claim allegedly made by Lee's four anonymous sources makes no sense. Sanders is in fact on the record as far back as 1988, saying, "In my view, a woman could be elected president of the United States." As Sanders points out in his debunking of CNN's story, since then a woman has actually won the popular vote for the presidency; Hillary Clinton, whom Sanders campaigned for, could have won the electoral college as well, if she hadn't neglected campaigning in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Why were CNN's sources allowed to makes such an explosive, far-fetched claim anonymously? Anonymity is most justifiably granted to protect sources from retaliation for revealing damaging information about their superiors; would Warren staffers (assuming they were the source) be fired for giving an accurate account of their candidate's conversation? When corporate media withhold the names of sources to allow them to make attacks against rivals without political consequences, that is an abuse of anonymous sourcing.

Sanders is clearly alarming powerful elements of America's ruling elite: corporate executives who fear what is now being considered a possible Sanders presidency, and Democratic Party leaders who fear a Sanders presidential nomination will cut the party off from the river of cash it and its favored candidates have been collecting for decades from major industrial sectors, from Wall Street to Hollywood to the arms industry and the healthcare industrial complex. Not to mention the corporate media that are backed by ads from all these sectors.

This hit piece has the feel of the kind of attack that Sanders supporter Norman Solomon (Common Dreams, 12/27/19) warned of once Sanders' polling began taking off and he could no longer be simply ignored.

UPDATE: While CNN, which ran the above cited hit piece a day before it is hosting the pre-caucus debate (in what has to be a great ratings boost for the network) doubled down today with a very slanted opinion piece trashing Sanders by Jill Fillipovic, The Washington Post is now reporting:

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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7 people are discussing this page, with 10 comments  Post Comment


Walt Gelles

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How low will Elizabeth Warren stoop? Her lame attempt to smear Bernie Sanders with sexism charges is pathetic. She played the sexism card when she repeatedly lied about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant. She repeatedly lied about her phoney Native American ancestry. She repeatedly lied about her children attending public schools only.

Warren's last-minute backstabbing of Sanders just before a debate shows she is power-mad and dishonest. It would be sad to see her become the next pathological Liar-In-Chief, replacing the current one.


More power to Sanders!

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 at 8:28:50 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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The Media propagandists continue their smear job on Bernie, Gabbard, and Yang as the Chameleon Warren is finding out her constant waffling and changing colors to suit the group she is addressing is doing her in so now she must enter the smearing of others as she cannot seem to find any positives of her own and the people are catching onto her shallowness.

She discovered that parroting Sanders wasn't sufficient because she didn't really grasp the details of his agenda and found herself looking foolish when attempting to explain them. Her game did work initially as she rode high in the polls, but the people are beginning to see through her and those numbers are beginning to dip so her new tactic appears to be slamming opponents.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 at 8:38:49 PM

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Carol Jackson

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This seems to be a pretty clever hit piece because it appears to harm both of them. Some women will believe that Bernie said it and will think less of him, others will say it was a hit job by Warren and hence think less of her. If it came from Warrens team she needs to do some house cleaning. The MSM is always willing to smear and sometimes fudge the truth, but they are serving some agenda, be that who it may, but me thinks it is not the Democrat agenda.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 5:16:56 AM

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Dennis Kaiser

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I don't think the Democrats, the "Establishment", have an agenda other than keeping the bribes from corporate interests and the wealthy coming in and bidding to their wants.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 11:14:10 AM

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Steve Schneider

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Context is missing from this otherwise interesting article. The writer fails to mention that the hit on Bernie got floated after it was revealed that Bernie Sanders volunteers were telling Iowa voters that Liz Warren was a candidate of the elite -- the educated and financial elite. I call BS on Bernie's crew for playing that game. And I call BS on Liz Warren for her apparent response. I also call BS on the moralistic outrage coming from Bernie supporters. What did Bernie say when asked about the elite charge coming from his campaign? Hey, Bernie said, we've got lots of people working for us. We can't control everything that comes out of their mouths. Sounds like BS to me. Why don't the Bernie backers apply their high moral standards to BS that comes from their guy? As background, I support Liz Warren. My second choice is Bernie Sanders. I hope both of them stop the BS and discuss the issues tonight.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 at 10:05:11 PM

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Dave Lindorff

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Even if they wanted to they won't be able to. Warren chose to leak her story to CNN which is the sponsor of tonight's debate, and which jumped at the chance, anonymous sources only and all, to help Warren take down Sanders in the debate Do you think the CNN moderator of this debate will let them duck this issue even if they wanted to? Of course not! That's why Warren chose to leak an alleged 13-month-old grievance the day before the debate to the news orgnization running the debate. Cheap, cheap shot. Now she says she doesn't want to talk about it. Sure!


Pretty sad if you ask me.


Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening!

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 12:32:51 AM

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Steve Schneider

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Hello Dave,

I know my two top candidates are politicians. I know the people who work for them are involved with political campaigns. I have lived long enough -- almost 62 years -- to know pols and political operatives sometimes play games. Linking Liz Warren to elite, wealthy, well-educated people is a political game. Liz, I'm guessing, got pissed, and hit back. This is something we want our Democratic nominee to do when going up against Trump, the president who will do and say anything.

So context matters. Bernie's campaign hit Warren; Liz Warren's campaign hit back. I call BS on both of them. They are my two favorite candidates because of their progressive bent. I like Liz Warren more, though, because I agree with her argument that we need to reach out to all kinds of folk -- not just progressive guys like me. She made this point in the debate last night.

BTW, I never made much money in my work life. And I only earned a high school diploma. I will vote for Liz Warren in March in Florida. I will proudly vote for Liz or Bernie Sanders in the fall.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 12:15:09 PM

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Alexander Kershaw

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Oh for the days when The League of Women Voters ran the debates. Open and relatively unbiased debates are no longer allowed. The fright that Ross Perot gave the 1% was sufficient to eject the League of Women Voters.

The current format where the Repugs and Dims determine who is allowed in the debates works well for the 1%. No Nader or Stein or McKinney or Ron P

aul to disrupt the "debates" with reason or topics afield of those allowed by the 1%.

I do not waste my time listening to or writing about the debates and I see no reason anyone else should. Nuff said

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 6:55:15 PM

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Totally agree. A rigged charade is a total waste of time. If nobody tuned in, they would get the message that no one is fooled by the theatrical performance designed to confuse and distract the masses from paying attention to what the thieves in high places are really up to.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 9:25:14 PM

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Dave Lindorff

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Reply to Lois Gagnon:   New Content

You're right of course. All the questions put to the candidates Wednesday night were cribbed straight from a Republican playbook -- questions about "how do you pay for Medicaid for All, when it's obvious that every country with such a system pays less than half what the US pays for healthcare, and unlike the US, covers everyone, and no questions about the cost of endless Imperial wars and stratuspheric military budget, for example. Sadly though, many Americans DO watch these fake "debates" and decide how to vote based upon them.


Dave Lindorff

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Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 9:46:46 PM

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