Media Notices Bernie’s Nonsense Conspiracies When They’re About Media

On Monday, because it was a day ending in “y,” presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) made a conspiratorial insinuation about a billionaire. Reiterating his standard stump-speech complaint that Amazon does not pay federal corporate income taxes (which is both true and incomplete—the company paid more than $1 billion in non-federal income taxes in 2018, and got to its federal zero by making the kinds of domestic investments that Congress deliberately incentivizes), the Democratic socialist then appended a just-asking-questions brain-teaser.

“I talk about that all of the time,” Sanders noted. “And then I wonder why the Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why.”

Because this sophomoric shade was thrown at a prestigious media outfit rather than a politically reviled industrialist, America’s journalistic outrage-machine cranked up into high gear.

“Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor,” Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said in a statement Monday night, “Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.” Outlets from NPR to the Poynter Institute to GeekWire noted that the senator’s crack sounded “like Trump.” The lead item in today’s CNN Reliable Sources newsletter was “Dems take aim at media.”

That clamour was in sharp contrast to the media crickets two months ago when Sanders tweeted out this equally conspiratorial garbage:

A Nexis search of this equally fantastical claim brings up exactly one passing reference.

Bernie’s half-century political career, consistent with the progressive economic tradition he now personifies, has been one long warning against a star chamber-like cabal that seemingly controls everything except political representation in the Green Mountain State. “There is a handful of people sitting at

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