Sen. Bernie Sanders has never been shy about criticizing MSNBC, but the senator’s 2020 Democratic presidential campaign is becoming increasingly vocal in calling out the self-styled liberal cable news network in response to a spate of attacks and misleading coverage from the outlet’s hosts and contributors.
“There’s no effort to push for fact-based analysis,” an anonymous Sanders campaign official said of MSNBC in an interview with The Daily Beast, which reported Wednesday that tensions between Sanders and the Comcast-owned network have “reached a new peak.”
The latest incident that sparked outrage from the campaign was MSNBC legal analyst Mimi Rocah’s anti-Sanders diatribe during a segment over the weekend.
“Bernie Sanders makes my skin crawl,” said Rocah. “I can’t even identify for you what exactly it is. But I see him as sort of a not pro-woman candidate.”
As Rocah suggested, without evidence, that Sanders is not a good candidate for women, MSNBC analyst Zerlina Maxwell—who herself came under fire in March for launching patently false attacks on Sanders—appeared to nod along and offered no pushback.
More solid fact based analysis on MSNBC. pic.twitter.com/hc9xfO11JE— citizen uprising (@cit_uprising) July 21, 2019
Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for the Sanders campaign, quickly pushed back against what she described as Rocah’s “smears.”
“It takes a certain kind of woman to ignore that education, healthcare, and the economy are women’s issues too. #PrivilegedMuch?” Gray tweeted. “This is not what intersectional feminism looks like. It’s corporate feminism at its finest. Full stop.”
The Sanders campaign told The Daily Beast that, far from being an isolated incident, Rocah’s tirade was part of a pattern of fact-free attacks that MSNBC has allowed to air completely unchallenged and without any alternative perspective.
“More often than not these commentators are injecting their opinion without any policy discussions,” Nina Turner, national co-chair of the Sanders campaign, told The Daily Beast. “It doesn’t even have to be ‘rah rah rah, Bernie Sanders!’ Just someone who would push back.”
The Daily Beast cited frequent MSNBC guest Donny Deutsch’s recent declaration that he would vote for President Donald Trump if Sanders wins the Democratic nomination as another example of the network’s recent attacks on the Vermont senator.
“A socialist candidate,” said Deutsch, “is more dangerous to this country as far as the strength and wellbeing of our country than Donald Trump.”
A few months ago Donny Deutsch – himself a “wealthy white guy” – said he’d rather vote for Trump than Sanders.pic.twitter.com/YGzETyULpd— Oliver Darko (@oliver_drk) July 17, 2019
According to The Daily Beast, Sanders has privately contacted MSNBC over its misleading coverage of his campaign and key policy proposals, such as Medicare for All.
An anonymous Sanders campaign official told The Daily Beast that attempting to correct the network’s factual errors has become “a full-time job.”
Sanders supporters on social media have also taken issue with perceived biased treatment of the senator’s presidential campaign by MSNBC.
On Twitter, one Sanders backer posted a compilation of MSNBC segments that purports to provide an illustrative sample of the network’s hostile coverage:
REPOST: MSNBC has had a real problem with hiding their bias against Bernie Sanders candidacy this election cycle.— Winkle the Cited BernieBro Squad Member 🌹 (@the_bernie_bro) July 23, 2019
Here’s a fun yet blood boiling montage I put together from just the last few months!
Thanks to @GeoffMiami for the bulk of the clips. pic.twitter.com/7Vqsun6UU3
“Cable news allows that sort of spin to exist in the world in a way that doesn’t get checked,” a Sanders campaign official told The Daily Beast.