The New York Times’ Fear of a Bernie Nomination

The New York Times is one of the most prominent mediums for the Democratic Party establishment’s talking points. On Sunday, after Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory in the Nevada caucus, here is what two front page articles on the subject are saying. It amounts to a case study of the paper’s and the Democratic establishment’s fear of Bernie winning the party nomination.

Once again, the Russians are coming. This time, like the last, we are reminded, they want Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic Party nomination.

With Bernie Sanders’ powerful Nevada victory, the moderates are in danger of losing. The next caucus in South Carolina is key. If Joe Biden can win there, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar should drop out so the centrists can coalesce around the former vice president.

When not overtly advocating for a moderate’s rise, implicit language is used to describe how Sanders communicates. Bernie’s comment comparing his campaign’s grass-roots movement with other campaigns is a “boast.” Besides the latter comment, Sanders “otherwise ignored his Democratic opponents.” On the contrary, there are no accusatory descriptors reporting on how his opponents communicate. Ms. Warren “declared,” Mr. Buttigieg “said” and Mr. Biden “told.” If readers aren’t put off by the New York Times’ front page articles against Bernie, the more implicit language may sway them.

Perhaps the most disturbing of Times’ front page anti-Bernie articles is the allegation that Russia supports his candidacy. As a reference to the omniscient fear of Russian influence, diplomat Victoria Nuland says, “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.”

Indeed, US intelligence officials have stated that Vladimir Putin would like Bernie to become the Democratic nominee; but as a side note in the article, these officials warn that such analysis is “as much of art as science.” Yet despite even the US intelligence’s misgivings and the fact that, if correct, it is nothing more that Putin’s wish, the Times thought it was worth the space of a front page Sunday article the day after Bernie Sanders won Nevada – a state that, unlike New Hampshire and Iowa, represents the country’s racial diversity.

It highlights the Times’ fear that Bernie Sanders will become the party nominee. The Russia story is a desperate Hail Mary.

More worrying than simply trying to undercut Sanders is the way that the mention of a foreign adversary is used to stifle the ‘threat’ of change.

It also highlights the Times’ dim view of their readers. If a foreign power wants x, then we should choose y. It begs the question if the New York Times thinks their readership so puerile that it will choose y because Russia wants the opposite. It also raises the question: if Americans are voting based on what Russia wants, even if  it’s the antithesis, isn’t Russia still influencing the electoral process?

To be fair to the New York Times, there are instances that highlight the Bernie Sanders campaign’s strength. They mention that Bernie won the majority of Nevada’s moderate and conservative voters, as well as many rank-and-file members of the Culinary Union, despite their leadership’s criticism of Sanders. Yet the Times did not consider the motivations of moderates’ and conservatives’ votes for Sanders. Perhaps the paper may have explored why such a ‘radical’ candidate would attain these votes – a fact which illuminates Sanders as the least bought candidate, with a career of not bending to corporate power or special interests.

The majority of “The Clear Front-Runner of the Primary Pack” article is devoted to various candidates’ warnings of Bernie as the Democratic nominee. They cite the campaign manager of Michael Bloomberg, Kevin Sheekey, where he calls a potential Sanders nomination a “fatal error.” Buttigieg is mentioned saying that Bernie “did not give ‘a damn’ about the swing-state Democrats in Congress.” This may strike the reader odd, since Sanders just won a landslide victory in a swing state. And then there’s Joe Biden labelling Sanders a “socialist,” rather than a “democratic socialist.” The difference here matters: The Soviet Union was socialist, and Denmark is democratic socialist. Of course, primary candidates are prone to jabbing at the front runner. But the Times giving the majority of article space to these warnings is clear bias.

The New York Times, like the Washington Post, MSNBC and CNN, represents the Democratic establishment’s mouthpiece. Feigning as objective journalism in covering the primaries, the Sunday Times’ front page is just one example of the Democratic Party establishment stricken with trepidation of a Bernie nomination.

To prevent this, who knows what they will stop at.

They have already pulled the Russia card.

Let’s be ready for what comes next.

As a prolific author from the Boston area, Peter F. Crowley writes in various forms, including short fiction, op-eds, poetry and academic essays. In 2020, his poetry book Those Who Hold Up the Earth was published by Kelsay Books and received impressive reviews by Kirkus Review, the New Age and two local Boston-area newspapers. His writing can be found in Middle East Monitor, Znet, 34th Parallel, Pif Magazine, Galway Review, Digging the Fat, Adelaide’s Short Story and Poetry Award anthologies (finalist in both) and The Opiate. His books That Night and Other Stories (CAAB Publishing) and Empire’s End (Alien Buddha Press) were released during the week of Friday the 13th in October 2023. Read other articles by Peter F..