An Analysis of the Media Spin About Bernie Since the CNN Town Hall

By | January 26, 2016

Since the CNN Town Hall on Monday night, the media have been busy framing the message against Bernie Sanders toward Hillary Clinton. I figured it would be a good idea to take a look at what is happening in medialand.

First, and as I previously discussed yesterday, the CNN Town Hall was a clearly slanted platform to promote Hillary. The biggest difference was the approach that Cuomo had between Hillary and Bernie.  For anyone that watched the town hall, it was apparent that Cuomo wished to get a “gotcha” with Sanders, asking him to say he was going to raise taxes, despite Sanders already explaining what he was going to do, asking Sanders if his presidency would usher back in the era of big business and basically just badgering him on almost every question. When Hillary came out he immediately lavished praises on her, even saying Obama had practically endorsed her.

The clips made to advertise it afterward also tried to paint another picture. here’s an example from the Situation Room’s Facebook page, which takes a clip of Bernie answering the question of whether Hillary Clinton is better prepared than him. It has him standing up, praising Hillary and then it cuts off. Amazing. CNN’s Facebook page had the same video.

Away from CNN, other media outlets have also took shots. Time Magazine posted an article with the title “Bernie Sanders Struggles to ‘Champion Women’ like Hillary Clinton” despite, as they bury down the page, Bernie’s stellar record on women’s issues:

This is all complicated by the fact that Sanders’s voting record is solidly pro-choice. In 1993 he was one of 142 co-sponsors of the Freedom of Choice Act, which did not pass. He’s repeatedly voted to allow women to travel interstate to get abortions, to provide federal funding for organizations that provide abortions, and to increase access to family planning. He has a 100% voting rating from NARAL, and a 0% voting record from National Right to Life. “We are not returning to the days of back-room abortions, when countless women died or were maimed,” Sanders wrote in a 2012 article on the Huffington Post. “The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman, her family and physician to make, not the government.”

Time instead tried to paint Bernie’s discussion on Planned Parenthood and their endorsement of Hillary as him targeting them:

Bernie Sanders supports abortion rights. He just doesn’t support them quite enough for reproductive rights groups.

The Vermont Senator was on the defensive at the CNN Town Hall Monday night when an audience member asked him about his assertion last week that Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign are part the “establishment” he plans to bring down.

The View aired the Sanders comment on raising taxes, with Whoopi Goldberg saying Bernie “fessed up” about it. Despite the panelists clearing up some of the particulars about Sanders saying his plan would save people money, they used the title “Bernie Sanders Says He Will Raise Taxes.”

Sadly, this is something the media will harp on and could potentially hurt Sanders. Political minded individuals will remember the Mondale line that he will raise taxes. To quote him,”By the end of my first term, I will reduce the Reagan budget deficit by two‑thirds. Let’s tell the truth. It must be done, it must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

Sure, this was honesty, and many are unfamiliar with this from a candidate, but it was seen by many as his sinking his own campaign. The media were also quick to latch onto this. The Washington Post, in an article titled Read his lips: Bernie Sanders is going to raise your taxes, echoing Bush Sr.’s famous “Read my lips, no new taxes” line:

Sanders isn’t the first presidential candidate to propose higher taxes for at least some Americans. President Obama likes to say wealthy Americans should “pay their fare share,” while Hillary Clinton recently came out in favor of the “Buffett rule,” which says the wealthy should pay the same tax rate as middle-income Americans. The big difference with Sanders: His plan would likely raise taxes for Americans across the board.

What Sanders may be forgetting, though, is the last Democratic nominee to suggest raising taxes, Walter Mondale. In his acceptance speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Mondale was very blunt about his plan, saying, “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes. So will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” Mondale went on to win just 13 electoral votes – from the District of Columbia and his home state of Minnesota — while Reagan swept up every other state. It was the worst loss by a Democrat in the history of presidential elections.

Raising taxes isn’t popular with voters and isn’t popular with Congress, either. Just about every congressional Republicans signs Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” promising to oppose any tax hikes on businesses or individuals.

And CNN Money did also jumped on the Mondale train, stating:

It had been more than 30 years since a Democratic presidential candidate said he’d raise taxes on all Americans.

Walter Mondale had been the last. In 1984, accepting his party’s nomination he said: “Taxes will go up …  It must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

It didn’t work out so well for Mondale, who was trounced in that election by President Ronald Reagan.

Ever since then, Democratic candidates have been scared to broach the topic, said Joseph Thorndike, a historian with Tax Analysts, which publishes tax information.

Until Monday night, when Bernie Sanders told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he would raise taxes to pay for his universal health care plan.

“We will raise taxes. Yes we will,” Sanders said at the Democratic Town Hall, explaining that Americans would ultimately save money because they’d no longer pay private insurance premiums.

All of this is to say that Bernie will not get a fair shake from the media. His supporters must carry the torch and his true message to the people. Sanders has clearly laid out how he will pay for his policies. For those reading this, and unsure of his policies, please go here and inform yourself.

Also, take a look at this analysis of the proposed tax brackets for income, with thanks to the SanderForPresident subreddit:

Related Post