The chief of staff of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) presidential campaign said the "millionaires paid by billionaires" in the media are biased against his candidate.
Ari Rabin-Havt said there is an "institutional bias" in the press for something new, suggesting the media viewed Sanders's second presidential campaign as old news.
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"The elite media, the media that’s at the top, the cable nets, the lead editors, the reporters, they tend to live in Washington, D.C., or New York," Rabin-Havt said in a video posted on YouTube, according to The Hill. "They tend to be upper-middle class or wealthy. They work for companies worth billions of dollars. So on TV you have millionaires paid by billionaires to present information."
Sanders is a millionaire himself, and he's pushed back against criticism of his wealth given his invective against "millionaires and billionaires" on the campaign trail.
"I didn't know that it was a crime to write a good book which turns out to be a bestseller," Sanders said in April.
Sanders's far-left candidacy was a novelty in 2016 when he was the only serious challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, but he's seen many of his proposals co-opted by his 2020 rivals.
While Sanders is firmly in the top tier of 2020 candidates, he has failed to generate the positive media buzz of first-time presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), even though he has frequently polled ahead of or near them in early-state and national surveys.
The cantankerous Sanders often complains about media coverage being too sensationalistic or focused on the horse race, rather than on policies. He told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos last week the press often goes "overboard" in caring about the personal lives of politicians, for instance.
He's also criticized the "media establishment" for writing off his ideas as too "radical" four years ago in his run against Clinton.
His team has taken a defiant attitude about the shoulder shrug his candidacy is getting the second time around. He made little impact at the first Democratic debate, in spite of being next to frontrunner Joe Biden, with whom he's repeatedly tried to contrast himself.
"Every time there is a story about how Bernie can’t win, it fans the flame of our base and we get more donations and more volunteers," a Sanders campaign aide said to The Hill.
"We’ll never be the favorites in the media. I get it. But when was the last time one of these pundits visited a field office or talked to a state director? The bottom line is we have 2 million [donors] who have bought stock in what we’re trying to do. That’s powerful. If the media doesn’t want to tell that story, that’s fine. It just means we have to out-hustle these other campaigns."