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Common Dreams - January 15, 2020

"CNN's treatment of Sanders raises a major problem that he's going to have to confront going forward: Some major players in the mainstream media are clearly unafraid to cover him in a biased and one-sided manner," Heer concluded. "But this problem also has an upside: Sanders thrives under adversity, and he can use these examples of bias to fundraise and to mobilize his base. The Sanders campaign is a gamble, and one major uncertainty is whether his base is strong enough to overcome consistently negative media coverage."

Critics of the corporate media as well as supporters and staffers of Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign blasted the moderators of the CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night for employing centrist talking points and demonstrating a bias against Sanders in how they framed questions.

The debate, which ran over two hours, was moderated by the Register's Brianne Pfannenstiel and CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip. It featured six of the 12 remaining Democratic candidates: Sanders (I-Vt.), former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

As Common Dreamsreported, the financial burden of deploying American forces was notably absent during first part of the debate—a lengthy discussion on foreign policy and war—but the moderators did ask candidates about the costs of implementing Medicare for All healthcare, as Sanders has proposed. That contrast, and the presentation of the healthcare questions, sparked swift condemnation from progressives.

Overall, a team of Rolling Stone writers called the debate moderators' questions "mystifyingly inane." In a piece titled "CNN Completely Botched the Democratic Presidential Debate," HuffPost's Zach Carter called them "awful." According to him, the debate on the whole was "tedious, interminable, frivolous... a fiasco of irrelevance held three weeks before the Iowa caucuses."

"Again and again, CNN anchors substituted centrist talking points for questions―and then followed up predictable responses with further centrist talking points, rarely illuminating any substantive disagreements between the candidates or problems with their policy positions," he wrote.

Carter pointed to examples such as when Phillip noted that Des Moines is an "insurance town" and asked Sanders what will happen to employees of private insurance companies if the country implements Medicare for All. She also asked Sanders, "How would you keep your plans from bankrupting the country?" ...
Read full report at Common Dreams