Following Thursday's criticism of his campaign by the Washington Post editorial board, Bernie Sanders quietly took off his gloves and then let loose on the prominent newspaper.
"Check out where all the geniuses on the [Washington Post] editorial page were with regard to the invasion of Iraq." —Sen. Bernie Sanders
Asked specifically to respond to the editorial at a breakfast event in Iowa hosted by Bloomberg Politics, Sanders said: "That's not a new argument. We've been hearing that months and months, and that's in a sense what this campaign is about. People are telling us, whether it's the Washington Post editorial board or anybody else, our ideas are too ambitious — can't happen. Too bold — really? Well, here's something which is really bold. In the last 30 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and working families of this country. The middle class has become poorer and trillions of dollars have been transferred to the top one-tenth of 1 percent."
"That's pretty radical, isn't it?" Sanders said. "Where was The Washington Post to express concern that the middle class was shrinking? Where was The Washington Post talking about this radical transformation of America?"
Later in the event, Sanders took the opportunity to further criticize the paper by when the conversation turned to the Middle East and foreign policy.
"Getting back to The Washington Post — check out where all the geniuses on the editorial page were with regard to the invasion of Iraq."
In the midst of what author Norman Solomon describes as an escalating corporate media assault on Bernie Sanders, the Washington Post has taken aim at the Vermont senator in an editorial that discounts public support of much of his agenda and describes the Vermont senator as a "fiction" seller who makes "fantastical claims."
Sanders has said that Wall Street reform is far from finished, and has called for an end of the era of "too big to fail" banking and the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act. But the Post's editorial board on Wednesday criticizes Sanders' framing of Wall Street as "the bad guys," writing that it "has already undergone a round of reform significantly reducing the risks big banks pose to the financial system."
On his Medicare-for-all healthcare plan, the editorial states that he makes "fantastical claims" as "he does not adequately explain where those massive savings [for ordinary people] would come from," adding that the savings would in part "come from slashing payments to doctors and hospitals and denying benefits that people want."
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The editorial acknowledges the campaign's success, but says "[i]t merely proves that many progressives like being told everything they want to hear."
Mr. Sanders tops off his narrative with a deus ex machina: He assures Democrats concerned about the political obstacles in the way of his agenda that he will lead a “political revolution” that will help him clear the capital of corruption and influence-peddling. This self-regarding analysis implies a national consensus favoring his agenda when there is none and ignores the many legitimate checks and balances in the political system that he cannot wish away.
Fact all of Bernie's proposals poll well over 50 percent isn't a "consensus" to WaPo. The public is irrelevant? pic.twitter.com/H1T3EyKwA1— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) January 28, 2016
In addition, as media analyst Jim Naureckas writes, such ideas are "also the sort of proposals that make Sanders unacceptable to the nation's wealthy elite—and to establishment media outlets."
Others see the editorial as only helping the Sanders campaign:
Tbh, the fact that the WaPo editorial board hates Bernie so much really only makes me like him more.— Jonathan Cohn (@JonathanCohn) January 28, 2016
Isn't getting a stern talking to by the WAPO edit board kind of a gift to Bernie Sanders? https://t.co/A4KifOmn7M— Tim Dickinson (@7im) January 28, 2016
WaPo editorial board concludes that Bernie Sanders is Not a Very Serious Person https://t.co/Tln3peNBHw Better than an endorsement!— Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) January 28, 2016
The editorial comes as a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Sanders with a 12-point lead over rival Hillary Clinton in being viewed as more honest and trustworthy.