2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sounded a lot like Donald Trump in Iowa this week as the socialist went after media coverage of the campaign, singling out the Washington Post.
“See, I talk about that all of the time,” Sanders said at an Iowa town hall, of Amazon not paying taxes. “And then I wonder why the Washington Post – which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon – doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why.”
The line of attack is popular among Sanders’ top rival next fall were Sanders to win the Democratic nomination. Trump has tweeted criticism of the Post more than 20 times since becoming president, often tying the newspaper to Amazon when complaining that paper’s coverage is biased.
Now the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign is launching a newsletter it says will feature “scoops, insights and news nuggets” on the 2020 election. The newsletter draws similarities to a move made by Trump in 2016 when the Republican presidential candidate launched his own broadcast during the end phase of the general election and flirting with the idea of creating new television network after the election if he lost.
The “Bern Notice” put out by the Sanders campaign is slated to “have all sorts of goodies” for its readers, “whether you are a journalist, activist or a news junkie.”
While Sanders’ criticism of the press is not a new line of messaging for the senator, the attacks have not been as sharp with parallels to Trump’s until now. The Sanders campaign and its supporters are seeing what senior adviser Jeff Weaver told reporters, according to Vox, as a “Bernie write-off” similar to what the campaign suffered in 2016.
“The undiscriminating coverage of polls that fit existing narratives is certainly an issue that all of us need to be aware of,” Weaver said, according to Vox. “Headline after headline declaring that the Sanders campaign is over.”
A Harvard University study released in June 2016 found that Hillary Clinton received three times more coverage than Sanders in the early months of the primary campaigns of that cycle, but noted that Sanders’ coverage was “overwhelmingly positive in tone” once it began to pick up. In contrast, the authors of the study reported that Clinton “had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate,” whether Republican or Democrat.
Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, responded to Sanders’ criticisms Monday, labeling Sanders’ statements regarding Bezos’ editorial control of the Post a “conspiracy theory.”
“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,” Baron said in a statement to CNN.
Sanders began to walk back his comments Tuesday, telling CNN that he did not think Bezos was calling into the Washington Post and directing coverage of the campaigns, but that the mainstream media was still being unfair in its election reporting.
“We are taking on corporate America. Large corporations own the media in America, by and large, and I think there is a framework about how the corporate media focuses on politics. That is my concern. It’s not that Jeff Bezos is on the phone every day; he’s not,” Sanders said.