May 10, 2016
By: Jo Tavener
March 30th was a great day for the anti-Trump forces. Brought to you by an unexpected ally, Chris Mathews of MSNBC and his bullying interview style, Trump made the mistake of voicing the obvious conclusion of Right-to-Lifers that women should be jailed along with their abortionists. Hillary Clinton joined the party, tweeting “Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. Horrific and telling.”
The Trump campaign tried to rescind the remark but by April 1, even yelling “April fools” from a mountaintop wouldn’t have helped. As noted by Jason Easley, writing for Politicus USA, “Trump demonstrated zero knowledge of the abortion issue and the temperament of a child. Under the slightest bit of pressure, Trump blurted out a vague answer that when he was forced to refine it displayed all his weaknesses as a candidate.” There it was. Not only was Trump a misogynist and sexist, he was also uninformed: a childish blow-hard who said whatever came to mind, making him a national security risk as well. The media echo chamber put Trump on trial and convicted him, justifying the Republican cabal’s ardent hope that cooking up a Convention stew would poison the Donald without getting their hands dirty.
On April 6th, Bernie Sanders had ultimately had enough with the innuendos, the willful distortions of his policy positions by the Clintons and their surrogates, and the inexplicable paucity of mainstream coverage and obvious bias. In response to a Washington Post headline in which Clinton questioned Sanders’ qualifications for president, Bernie struck back and questioned Clinton’s presidential credentials, given her hawkishness, her close ties to Wall Street, and her use of super PACs. In response, the entire Clinton machine, aided and abetted by a delighted Press, created a maelstrom calculated to bring Bernie down. Obviously, his decisive defeat of Clinton in the Wisconsin primary was beginning to cut into the mythos of Clinton as the inevitable candidate. And the New York primary loomed large on the horizon. Something had to be done. Sanders walked into the trap and a new news cycle was born. Though the pundits all acknowledged the implied Clintonian insult, the actual crime, they said in unison, was committed by Sanders for not playing the game according to Hoyle.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, it all started with Sanders’ interview with the Daily News editorial board. No surprises there. A recent Daily News editorial entitled “Scary Bernie” criticized his views on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Embracing American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) line that Palestinians were terrorists and Israel had a right to defend itself in any manner necessary, the editorial board found Sanders’ views dangerous. In the interview, Bernie was grilled in a manner befitting a Congressional hearing but without the benefit of notes or fore-knowledge of the issues to be addressed. As I read the transcript, it began to feel like a set up. That was only Act One. Act Two had other media agreeing with Hillary’s remark that Sanders “hadn’t done his homework…he’s been talking more than a year about things he obviously hadn’t studied or understood.” Sanders fought back by shining a light on Clinton’s past actions, wondering aloud if such behavior made her qualified to be president.
On April 7th, Charlie Rose interviewed Sanders and brought up all the criticisms of the Sanders’ campaign as if they continued to have currency. Having brought up the questions, he waved off Sanders’ responses to return each time to the notion that Sanders had crossed the line and needed to apologize to Clinton. But for what? Playing the game of dirty politics with finesse?
Nothing about this supposed scandal makes any sense unless you read between the lines. Just as the Republicans are frightened that Trump will unseat the Party insiders, so too the Democratic corporate establishment have begun to feel the Bern and realize that he too is remaking the Democratic party. In both parties, the base has defied its masters and refused to drink the Kool Aid. Frank Rich of New York Magazine cited the words of Jacob Helbrunn. editor of the National Interest, “In debunking the GOP’s hollow men and bringing the Bush-Cheney era to a close, Trump is essentially kicking in a rotten door.”
As for Sanders, he has caused the Clinton presidency and Hillary’s part in it to be reexamined and found wanting. His candidacy became the occasion to shine a light on how Clinton moved the Party to the right and how his wife is now reaping the rewards of its super delegates and the Democratic donor class. If Trump is kicking in the door, Bernie is turning on the lights.
Suddenly, today, the feud is over…at least for now. The press continues on, turning the campaign season into spectator sport. Don’t let the media bias affect your voting decision. The moral of the tale for the ‘well informed’: DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID.
Jo Tavener is a member of the Editorial Collective, writing a blog on our media saturated society.