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Even Praising His Political Skills, Washington Post Still Side-Eyes Sanders

Bernie Sanders supporters attend a campaign event in Chicago last year. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters)

Despite some by-now familiar imagery—Bernie Sanders is a “self-described democratic socialist” who has been “traveling the country venting his outrage”—the Washington Post’s post-Iowa rundown (2/2/16) is in some ways an uncomplicated report on a Sanders showing that was “surprising” to a press corps intent on dismissing him into invisibility.

But even in a piece that seems to straightforwardly chart Sanders’ success in galvanizing new voters and laud his “political skills”—turning what looked like a sleepwalk into “a real race”—political reporter Karen Tumulty still manages to side-eye the candidate with the thumbnail description that his Iowa showing indicates that “Republicans are not the only voters looking for qualities beyond experience and electability.”

It isn’t just that—once more with feeling—Sanders has experience, and it should be voters, not media, who decide who’s electable. The Post is displaying a double standard that allows them to sometimes celebrate political “outsiders”—when they rail against earmarks and the like—while reserving the right to dismiss them when they pose substantive challenge to neoliberal orthodoxy.

(As for the idea that “Sanders’s vow to blow up the big banks effectively painted Clinton as an ally of Wall Street”—well, it was likely her taking millions from them that did that.)

Janine Jackson

Janine Jackson

Janine Jackson is FAIR's program director and and producer/co-host of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. She contributes frequently to FAIR's magazine, Extra! and co-edited The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s (Westview Press).

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