Smearing Sanders: From the NYT to MSDNC

On the morning of June 14, a tragic shooting during a congressional baseball practice injured four people including Republican House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). The shooter was identified as James Hodgkinson, an Illinois native, and what became the most sensationalized and manipulated part of the story, he was a Bernie Sanders supporter. For political expediency, both Trump and Clinton supporters tried to drive this narrative that the motive for the shooting somehow stemmed from Bernie Sanders and progressivism. In a senseless, insane act of violence, people are trying to create their own rational narrative of an irrational action to further their own political ideology.

“I hope we have the maturity as a country to confront facts like this at the same time we’re thinking of the victims and keeping level heads,” MSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted in response to a random Twitter use falsely claiming Bernie Sanders owes his political career to the NRA, who heavily funded his first congressional opponent. InfoWars’ Paul Joseph Watson tweeted, “here’s me on video a year ago warning that violent anti-Trump Bernie supporters were being radicalised by the media.”


The New York Times’ Yamiche Alcidor, who infamously asked Bernie Sanders if it was sexist for continuing to campaign toward the end of the Democratic primaries, wrote a hit piece linking the shooting to Bernie Sanders’ movement.”Not far from Mr. Sanders’ own message,” Alcidor wrote trying to weave a narrative that linked the shooter’s disdain for corporate influence in politics to Bernie Sanders‘. The article claimed the attack was a test for Sanders’ movement, in a desperate attempt to punch left by shamelessly trying to tie the shooter’s motives as a symptom of being progressive.

“But long before the shooting on Wednesday, some of Mr. Sanders’s supporters had earned a belligerent reputation for their criticisms of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, and others who believed they disagreed with their ideas,” Alcidor added, overtly ignoring the toxic attacks that came from Clinton supporters, as evident throughout this article and the previously cited tweeted from MSNBC’s Joy Reid. She also noted these “Bernie Bros” or “Bernie Bots,” attacked reporters as though only Sanders Supporters did this. At this point, Alcidor is referring to herself and failing to provide the context in which the mainstream media, including the New York Times itself, formally endorsed Clinton, employed solely pro-Clinton columnists, and skewed reporting to delegitimize Sanders’ campaign and perpetuate false narratives like the Bernie Bros myth. The article also tries to equate internet trolls with violence, while purporting the false myth that online trolling is a phenomenon that Sanders Supporters exclusively participate in.

Throughout the New York Times’ hit piece, none of Sanders or progressive politics are actually discussed. The inequalities and injustices progressive policies like single payer healthcare and free college tuition aren’t cited. Rather, Alcidor claims critical rhetoric toward institutions like Wall Street, that have helped create an environment of desperation and destitution in the United States, is inherently violent. To top off the hit piece, the only actual person named in the article is Trump supporter Harlan Hill.

There were two other gun shooting massacres that occurred on June 14. These incidents should be politicized based on policies and solutions that can potentially prevent these violent tragedies to occur. What the New York Times, MSNBC’s Joy Reid, many other Clinton supporters, and far-right Trump supporters that include InfoWars journalist who traditionally claim mass shootings like Sandy Hook are false flags, is avoid conversations on gun violence in exchange to punch left at Sanders progressives based on a loose connection with a shooter’s politics. Even Fox News’ Sean Hannity lent the voice of reason citing “it’s just one guy,” and that Sanders and his supporters aren’t like that. But many Clinton loyalists, even the high profile ones, are so blinded by political disdain for progressives, they’re jumping at the opportunity to gain political points against them by exploiting a tragedy.

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Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1

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