The neoliberal attacks on Bernie Sanders begin

Bernie Sanders made his formal announcement for the Democratic nomination on Sunday at a speech in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, although his political career has been largely in Vermont. In it he spoke of his vision for the country and also his own story, something he rarely does because he clearly prefers talking about issues and disdains personality-driven politics, even though his personal story reveals a lifelong commitment to the causes that he is currently fighting for. He is no Johnny-come-lately, seizing the popular positions of the moment but has been instrumental in pushing the discourse in that direction. This is of course why he is so hated by both conservatives and Republicans but also by neoliberals and the Democratic party establishment and their supporters in the media. They see in him a genuine threat to the status quo and someone who cannot be bought off.

Glenn Greenwald writes about how MSNBC has become the mouthpiece for the Democratic party establishment and the way they smeared what Sanders said in his speech is a perfect example of that. (Greenwald provides links in his article to many of the claims he makes.)

MSNBC IS A DISHONEST POLITICAL OPERATION, not a news outlet. It systematically and deliberately refuses to adopt a defining attribute of a news outlet: a willingness to acknowledge factual errors, correct them, and apologize. That they not only allow their lies to stand uncorrected but reward their employees who do it most frequently – especially when those lies are directed at adversaries of the Democratic Party – proves that they are, first and foremost, a political arm of the Democratic establishment.

The most recent example is as glaring as it is malicious. On Saturday in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders delivered his first speech for his 2020 presidential campaign in front of thousands of people. MSNBC broadcast the speech live, and anyone can watch the full 2-hour event, or just Sanders’ full 35-minute speech, on YouTube.

As a result, there’s no confusion possible about what was said. Everyone can see it with their own eyes.

Before Sanders spoke, he was introduced by a series of speakers including three African-Americans: South Carolina State Rep. Terry Alexander (who spoke of Sanders’ life-long commitment to equal justice and opportunity), former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner (who heralded Sanders’ long-time commitment to racial justice and his status as “only one of two white elected officials” who supported Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign run in 1984), and racial justice activist (and Intercept columnist) Shaun King (who described in detail Sanders’ history as an anti-racist and civil rights activist in the 1960s and his decades-long devotion to issues of racial equality).

After Sanders’ speech, MSNBC immediately asked its panel for its reaction. The first person they turned to was Zerlina Maxwell, who the host identified only as an “MSNBC analyst.” What the host omitted, but which Maxwell herself acknowledged, was that she was a paid official for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign against Sanders: that, revealingly, is the first person MSNBC had opine on Sanders’ speech.

After the host noted that Maxwell was making gestures of disapproval throughout Sanders’ speech and asked her what the cause was, Maxwell proceeded to state demonstrable lies about that speech. She said:

To be very serious about it, I clocked it. He did not mention race or gender until 23 minutes into the speech. And just for point of comparison, I went back and looked at Elizabeth Warren’s opening speech, for example. She mentions race and discrimination in the first paragraph. So that’s a big difference.

So is that true? Greenwald goes on.

That is a big difference. It’s also a total lie. Sanders mentioned race, gender and discrimination multiple times at the beginning of his speech and long before the 23-minute mark, as anyone who actually watched it – which presumably includes all the MSNBC personalities on that panel who sat silently as this lie was broadcast – obviously knew was a lie.

Before Sanders even began the substance of his speech, he thanked those who introduced him, saying of Shaun King’s anti-racist activism: “All over this country – and I’m going to say a few words about it today and more tomorrow – people understand that we have a broken criminal justice system, and there are few people in America fighting more than Shaun to change that system.”

In the very first sentence Sanders spoke to define his 2020 campaign – which came, at the latest, at the 5-minute mark even if one counts all the cheering, chanting and obligatory acknowledgments that preceded the substance of the speech – Sanders proclaimed that the core message of his campaign is that “the underlying principles of our government” will “not be racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious bigotry.” He then vowed: “this campaign is going to end all of that.”

MSNBC gave just a taste of what we can expect from the mainstream ‘liberal’ (i.e., neoliberal) media including the New York Times and the Washington Post. If the Sanders campaign gains steam, we will see more of the same in even more extreme forms and the biggest attackers may not be Republicans but the Democratic party establishment and their media allies.

Here is Sanders’ speech.(He gives his moving personal story at the 22-minute mark.)

There is nothing in his speech that I would disagree with. He is fighting for all the things that I want to see happen. I also like that he is going to run a 50-state campaign, not using the tired, old ‘swing state’ strategy so favored by the Democratic establishment that avoids reaching out to the 100 million alienated voters.


  1. Holms says

    It has also been alleged, and frequently left unchallenged by others present, that Bernie polls poorly amongst non-white voters. Naturally, a total fabrication.

  2. Jackson says

    The panel member was talking nonsense, but it is interesting to frame Clinton’s campaign for the democratic nomination for president as “Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign against Sanders.”

    I could be mis-remembering, but I don’t remember either campaign going negative in the primaries.

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