The days leading up to the latest CNN Democratic debate were undoubtedly stressful for Bernie Sanders as two new bombshell allegations concerning his presidential campaign arose. The first story claimed Sanders once made sexist remarks to Elizabeth Warren in a private meeting, while the latest story reveals footage of a salaried Bernie 2020 organizer advocating for political violence and terroristic acts. For strange reasons, one story is getting much more attention than the other.
The shocking footage came from Project Veritas, an undercover journalism group that’s exposed corruption and bias at CNN on numerous occasions. Sanders was already in the network’s crosshairs after Warren’s claim, and pressing this would’ve perhaps changed the flow of the entire debate. But an ongoing grudge seems to be preventing CNN from entertaining PV’s story, even if it can be used to help them sabotage Sanders’ campaign.
On Monday, the CNN piece made its way to the top of the headlines when Warren alleged Sanders once made sexist remarks to her at a private meeting in 2018. According to Warren’s claim verified only by herself, Sanders said that he didn’t believe a woman could win the presidency. So on Tuesday, the moderators came loaded with several items for Sanders on the sexism allegations, but any concerns of his radical field organizer managed to elude the debate.
Earlier that day, the footage was published, which shows Kyle Jurek, an organizer for Sanders’ 2020 election campaign advocating for assaulting police officers, burning down cities, murdering ideological opponents, and supporting gulags, among other things. Jurek’s claims involve the Sanders campaign directly and predict responses that will follow would he lose the election.
“If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination or it goes to a second round at the DNC Convention, f*cking Milwaukee will burn,” he stated.
Jurek continues: “The cops are gonna be the ones that are getting f*cking beaten in Milwaukee.”
He goes on to explain how the United States, like Nazi Germany, will have to spend billions of dollars re-educating Trump supporters, or “Nazis” as he calls them. According to Jurek, that’s what Bernie’s free-tuition proposal is all about — re-education of “Nazis.”
“Germany had to spend billions of dollars re-educating their f*cking people to not be nazis. Like, we’re probably going to have to do the same f*cking thing here.” Jurek tells the journalist.
He continues: “That’s kind of what Bernie’s whole f*cking like “hey, free education for everybody!” because we’re going to have to teach you to not be a f*cking nazi.”
The Sanders campaign has yet to comment on any of the claims made by the salaried staff member.
But none of that was of interest to CNN or any of the moderators that night. In fact, over a week later, the story has not been mentioned or covered once by the network. You’d think a network still repeatedly claiming to be unbiased would entertain stories from all walks of journalism, not just the sources they like personally. Instead, they’ve doubled down on the sexism allegations that they grilled Sanders with on stage.
“Why did you say that?” Sanders was asked about the comment.
He responded: “Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it.” followed by many reasons as to why the claims are invalid.
The moderator persisted: “Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here. You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?”
“That’s correct,” he said.
Moderator Abby Phillips then redirected the question at Warren as if everything Sanders had just said vanished into thin air. She asked: “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” to which she replied, “I disagreed.” The pivot was so strikingly unfair and one-sided that it sparked a wave of laughter in the room and a sense of disbelief as to what just happened. Many anticipated Sanders to be then grilled about the footage, but it never happened.
So what happens whenever an attempt to smear a politician is backed by claims so absurd and unfair? For one, the sexism allegations haven’t hurt Sanders at all. In fact, they seem to have helped him substantially. Shortly after, Sanders announced that in the two days following the debate, he’d received more than 200,000 contributions totalling nearly $4 million. CNN’s smear backfired—badly.
They could’ve easily used Project Veritas’s story to their advantage on top of the sexism allegations to erode at Sanders’ campaign as a whole, but pride got in the way, and it ricocheted back at the network. After all, giving a few extra sympathy points to Sanders by accident will always be more virtuous in their eyes than taking conservative newsgroups seriously—especially ones that have unearthed dirt amongst them. To them, it’s not about truth; it’s about constituents.
By acknowledging the Sanders story, they now legitimize every CNN story from Veritas after chalking the group off as an anti-media organization. That can’t happen. Acting like Veritas doesn’t exist is the only path forward for the network despite other mainstream networks running the story. It sure does make you wonder how massive a story from Project Veritas would have to be for CNN to run it and take the group seriously, if any.