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Dem Campaigns Accuse CNN of 'Journalistic Malpractice' and Protecting Warren After Debate

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Several candidates low on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary totem poll are lashing out this week, alleging unfair coverage of the race on the part of the establishment media.

As the Washington Examiner reported, tensions came to a head in light of Tuesday’s debate, as the campaigns of both Obama-era Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard leveled separate accusations of favoritism and bias against CNN and The New York Times, who hosted the debate together.

Both candidates have been fighting to stay afloat, averaging roughly 1 percent support each, according to RealClearPolitics.

They seemed to suggest their inability to gain traction might be in part due to the media focusing on other candidates and ignoring the topics near and dear to their political platforms and experience.

Gabbard kicked off the anti-media firestorm, using a question on the ongoing Syria controversy to hammer CNN and The Times for their “despicable” attempts to “smear” her as a Russian asset.

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“The New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime change war,” Gabbard said.

“Just two days ago, The New York Times put out an article saying that I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears.”

“This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable,” Gabbard added.

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The rebuke did not stop there, however.

The combat veteran’s Twitter account attacked CNN once again Wednesday morning, accusing the outlet of protecting Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren from criticism during the debate.

“Surprise. CNN cuts off Tulsi to protect Warren,” the account posted in a statement attributed to Gabbard’s sister, Vrindavan, who often speaks for the campaign.

Gabbard had posed a question to Warren on Tuesday demanding to know how the Massachusetts Democrat — who has gained tremendous ground in recent polls — was in any way fit to be commander in chief of America’s armed forces.

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However, Gabbard’s allotted time to answer the original question was up and she was cut off before receiving an answer from Warren.

Surprise. CNN cuts off Tulsi to protect Warren.

Castro also got his licks in against CNN after the debate.

Following up with MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes, Castro seemed to take a dig at the media’s tendency ignore a number of issues important to American voters.

“I challenge CNN and The New York Times to ask — finally ask — about homelessness and housing,” Castro said. “I tried to insert a little bit about that in some of my answers.”

“But we talked about Ellen [DeGeneres] at the end. And I know what the point of the question was,” he continued, “but we keep leaving some of these huge issues that impact families off of the question agenda at these debates.”

“And really, it’s journalistic malpractice to do that,” he added.

Hayes promptly rebuffed the claim, asking Castro if he thought health care, which was a major topic during the debate, was a primary issue in the minds of the electorate.

“I think they’re focused on health care, sure,” Castro said. “I think every family is focused on whether they have good health care or how they can get it.”

“I also think that they’re focused on the fact that a lot of people can’t pay the rent, right?” he added. “And so there are these sort of issues that are never touched on that intimately affect families every single day, that we just never get to.”

CORRECTION, Oct. 17, 2019: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Rep. Gabbard was cut off the moment Sen. Warren was mentioned. Gabbard’s allotted time to answer the question was up before she mentioned Warren, at which point she was told “Thank you congresswoman” to indicate she had run out of time. Gabbard posed her question to Warren through additional signals that her time was up.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.