Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders took a good amount of flack – and rightly so – for suggesting that because he had been openly critical of Amazon not paying taxes, he was getting less-than-favorable coverage from The Washington Post.
(Note to recent arrivals on planet Earth: Jeff Bezos owns both Amazon and The Washington Post.)
Seeking to quell the outrage caused by those comments, Sanders addressed the issue on Tuesday in New Hampshire:
“So this is not into conspiracy theory. 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.”
This was painted in some circles as a walk-back of his previous comments by Sanders. It was not. And just in case you had any doubt that Sanders, basically, meant what he had said about the media, he sent an email solicitation to his donors on Wednesday that drove that point home. Here’s a sample:
“It is no shock to me that the big networks and news organizations, which are owned and controlled by a handful of large corporations, either barely discuss our campaign or write us off when they do.
“When we trail in a poll, it gets endless coverage.
“When a poll is great for us, it barely gets a mention.
“When someone out-raises us in fundraising, it’s non-stop news.
“When we have the most donations by far, of any other candidate, here comes the coverage about who has the most ‘crossover donors,’ whatever that means.
“We’ve said from the start that we will have to take on virtually the entire media establishment in this campaign, and so far that has proven to be true.”
So, no, Sanders isn’t sorry. Not at all. In fact, he seems to believe deeply in the notion that the “corporate media” is purposely biased against him because of his long-standing skepticism of corporations and the world of big business. Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir took all of it even a step further in a recent interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, when he suggested that the television ads run by pharmaceutical companies on cable TV influenced coverage.
The fact that Sanders – and Shakir – have zero evidence to back up these big claims is beside the point for many supporters of the independent senator from Vermont. They believe deeply in Sanders and see anyone who disagrees with them as a corporate shill or part of the Big Bad Establishment.
Which is their right. But it doesn’t make these claims true.
The Point: Sanders wasn’t sorry about his comments on Amazon and the Post. He was sorry – maybe – that they brought negative coverage to him. But he didn’t apologize. And he won’t. Because he believes every word.