Why Are the Media Afraid to Ask Bernie Sanders the Uncomfortable Questions?
The media is relentless in its pursuit to paint Hillary Clinton as the candidate voters find “untrustworthy.” They deluge the former U.S. senator and secretary of state with the same accusatory — and, frankly, downright offensive — questions ad nauseam: Are you a liar? Why don’t people like you? Why don’t people trust you? Ninety-percent of Millennials believe if I left my puppy with you for a week, you wouldn’t have the heart to feed it. Why do you think that is?
It’s a narrative that serves them well; not because they are journalists trying to uncover the truth of any sort — the fruitless 11-hour Benghazi hearing and admission of Republicans that their investigations are witch hunts intended to hurt the credibility of Secretary Clinton have already revealed there is no merit to the ongoing GOP-led attacks or any so-called doubts about her trustworthiness — but because they are business-minded folks crafting a storyline that entertains their audiences. Two candidates with similar priorities, albeit vastly different styles, does not exactly yield a compelling story. Big yawn, right? That’s why the media is casting the Democratic candidates in its very own action movie of sorts: big, bad Goliath (Clinton) versus sweet, little David (Sanders). Everyone loves an action flick where the little guy takes on the “establishment.” The fact that Secretary Clinton started as an underdog, working her way up from humble beginnings to root out racism in schools, become a trailblazer in the quest for universal healthcare, earn a seat in the U.S. senate and President Obama’s Cabinet, and be voted the most admired woman in the world a record-breaking 20 times, is an inconvenient departure from the David vs. Goliath story they’re trying to sell us.
Inconvenient, perhaps, but true — and worthy of acknowledgment.
Also inconvenient: Senator Sanders is saddled with plenty of likability and trustworthiness issues, himself. It speaks volumes that there have been six Democratic debates and multiple town halls, with endless assaults about Secretary Clinton’s “likability” (the loathsome visual of the Millennial smugly asking her why nobody from his generation likes her will forever be scorched in the recesses of my brain) and her husband’s personal issues, yet nobody has bothered to ask Senator Sanders these similarly uncomfortable questions:
· Secretary Clinton continues to lead with voters age 45 and up by a two-to-one margin. Why don’t Generation X and Baby Boomers like you?
· Secretary Clinton also holds a commanding lead with black Millennials. Why do you think they don’t like you either?
· You have not received a single endorsement from your Senate colleagues, and just three House endorsements. Even your former liberal colleague, Barney Frank, went on record saying that you “alienate your natural allies” and have a “holier-than-thou attitude — saying in a very loud voice [you are] smarter than everyone else and purer than everyone else,” which “really undercuts [your] effectiveness.” Why don’t your colleagues seem to like you? How do expect to lead a party that’s not currently behind you?
· How do you expect to pass any of your policies with a Republican-controlled Congress that’s still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Unlike Secretary Clinton, you haven’t raised any money for the Democratic Party to help down-ticket Democrats — so what are you doing to ensure there are more Democrats in Congress to support your proposals?
· A Gallup poll revealed Americans are more likely to vote for an Atheist or a Muslim than a Socialist. In fact, fewer than 50% said they would consider voting for a Socialist. What makes you think you can overcome that overwhelming bias to beat the Republicans and become President of the United States?
· In 2005 you voted to give immunity to gun makers from lawsuits. However, the next day you voted against giving immunity to companies in the fast food industry, such as McDonald’s. What do you say to the Sandy Hook parents currently trying to sue gun manufacturer Remington Arms, who wonder why you voted to exempt guns but not McNuggets?
· You’ve continually questioned Secretary Clinton’s judgment in the Iraq War, yet when asked about the battle against ISIS, you’ve suggested Saudi Arabia and Iran should work together to fight Islamic extremism — seemingly oblivious to the schisms in the region. Why should we trust your judgment as commander in chief when you don’t even seem to understand the deep political and religious differences between those two countries?
· You’ve claimed you’ve “always” been in support of marriage equality; however, when you were mayor of Burlington, you signed a resolution to celebrate marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. So would it be fair to say you’ve actually “evolved” on the issue, as well?
And if Senator Sanders would truly like to walk in Secretary Clinton’s shoes for just one moment:
Do you think it’s strange that reporters ask you to comment on the personal life of Secretary Clinton’s husband, while not one brings up the fact that you’ve been married twice and had a child with a third woman out of wedlock?
Uncomfortable shoes, indeed.
We’ll see if any of these questions are raised at tonight’s CNN town hall or the next Democratic debate in Flint on March 6. But, given how hard the media has worked to craft the current narrative, don’t be surprised if these not-such-a-nice-guy-after-all “story lines” are left on the cutting room floor.