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Bernie Sanders Campaign Slams CNN for 'Patently Unfair' Treatment During Debate

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign put CNN on blast Wednesday for exhibiting what it said was pro-Elizabeth Warren bias during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sanders and Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, have been at odds this week after CNN reported Monday that Sanders told Warren in a private December 2018 meeting he did not believe a woman could win the presidential election.

Sanders, for his part, has vehemently denied the report’s claims.

CNN moderator Abby Phillip brought up the issue Tuesday night, and to the Sanders campaign’s chagrin, she seemed to treat the allegation as fact.

“Senator Sanders, CNN reported yesterday, and Senator Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018, you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election,” she said. “Why did you say that?”

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“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” he answered.

Phillip then repeated the question to 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 is correct,” he answered.

Do you think CNN's behavior during the debate was "cringe-worthy"?

But Phillip doubled down, continuing to treat the allegation as a fact.

“Senator Warren,” she said, “what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”

According to Sanders campaign spokesman Jeff Weaver, it was “cringe-worthy” behavior on the part of CNN.

And Weaver said there are CNN employees who agree with him.

“Oh no, no, no, no. Clearly not,” Weaver told the Washington Examiner when asked if Sanders was treated fairly by CNN in the exchange.

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“Basically, what we would say in a courtroom, assumed facts, not evidence. And so yes, we’ve talked to some folks at CNN, who said it was a ‘cringe-worthy’ moment as well,” he added.

Nina Turner, a former Democratic Ohio state senator who now serves as Sanders’ campaign co-chairwoman, expressed similar sentiments, calling CNN’s treatment of Sanders “patently unfair.”

“No, it was not fair the way they asked the question. It was not fair. Everybody heard the way they asked that question,” she told the Examiner, referring to it as a “glaring example” of how the media treats the Sanders campaign poorly.

“It was patently unfair, and if it happened to Senator Sanders, then it can happen to anybody,” she said.

“Journalists are supposed to be fair, that’s all we’re asking for,” Turner said. “We’re not asking to make friends; we’re just asking for fair. And that question was unfair. Period.”

Warren and Sanders had several testy exchanges Tuesday night.

At one point during the debate, Warren claimed she was “only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican anytime in the past 30 years.”

Sanders tried to correct her, saying: “I defeated an incumbent Republican running for Congress.”

But Sanders’ win over Vermont GOP Rep. Peter Smith, as Warren pointed out, came three decades ago, in 1990.

And moments after the debate ended, there was a minor altercation between the two senators in which Warren appeared to refuse to shake Sanders’ hand.

The Western Journal reached out to the Warren campaign for comment on the Sanders campaign’s allegations of unfair media treatment, but did not receive a response in time for publication. We will update this article if and when we do.

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Joe Setyon is a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who has spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon is deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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