Bernie Sanders should know a thing or two about conspiracies – after all, the 2016 email leak showed that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) effectively conspired to prevent him from becoming the party’s presidential nominee.
And on Monday, the US senator has accused The Washington Post, owned by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, of biased and negative coverage of his currently ongoing bid to secure the Democratic nomination.
Sanders explained the newspaper’s behavior with his criticism of Amazon and his calls for the tech giant to pay fair taxes.
The Washington Post was quick to respond, accusing Sanders of promoting conspiracy theories himself, CNN reports.
It would seem perfectly plausible that a private company like The Washington Post might be unhappy with the way a politician was speaking about its owner’s other properties – either prompted by that owner, or by showing initiative and punishing the politician of its own accord.
However, Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron dismissed the accusation and slapped the label of “conspiracy theorist” on Sanders. According to Baron, Bezos allows the newspaper full editorial independence and never intervenes. Baron also defended both the Washington Post and Bezos in statements made earlier in the year, claiming that the newspaper was free to report about Amazon any way it chooses.
Speaking in New Hampshire on Monday, Sanders repeated that Amazon had raked in $10 billion in profit last year, at the same time paying no taxes. He also claimed that insisting on this point was the reason why the Washington Post’s coverage of his campaign was biased against him.
And while Sanders sought to distance himself from President Donald Trump – a frequent and strong critic of the media scene – he told his supporters that “a small number of very, very large corporate interests control a lot of what the people in this country see, hear and read.”
“They have their agenda,” he said.
CNN is not the only media outlet to mention the senator’s criticism of media giants and their biases in the context of Donald Trump and his dissatisfaction with the mainstream media. For example, NPR reported about the senator’s accusations under the headline, “Bernie Sanders, sounding like Trump, goes after Amazon.”
Conspiracy theorist or not, it’s clear that Sanders is by no means the most influential media outlets’ favorite in the race to win the Democratic nomination.