Sanders Campaign Manager Rips Corporatist Media: Debates Make ‘American People Stupider’

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) campaign manager on Sunday ripped the corporatist media for making “the American people stupider” with game-like debates that focus on “gotcha” moments instead of issues that impact the lives of regular Americans.

Faiz Shakir, the campaign manager, criticized media outlets like CNN, which will host this week’s debates, for putting a premium on segments and conversations that favor the status quo that do not upset their corporate advertisers.

“You rarely see pundits on TV talking about the value of Medicare for all. You see a lot of people criticizing Medicare for all,”  he said. “You don’t see the people talking about the value of canceling all student debt, you see people criticizing it.”

Shakir said the “debates tend to make the American people stupider” because “they’re performative theater and we don’t end up having the conversations” that “affect people’s lives.”

Sanders’s allies have argued that the media are biased against his left-wing and socialist policy proposals, and Shakir told CNN’s Brian Stelter that corporate ads are basically paying the bills of the “entire media enterprise and what that ends up doing is incentivizing you and others to make sure that you’re asking the questions and driving the conversations in certain areas and not in certain areas.”

On a day when Sanders went to Canada with an “insulin caravan” of Americans to buy cheaper insulin, Shakir pointed out that establishment media outlets often do not discuss why drug prices in American are through the roof.

“Do you know why you pay so much more, ten times more in America on prescription drugs than any other country? Does anyone know that or understand what?” he asked. “Do you know what the Trump administration is doing about that? Do you even know who the head of the Health and Human Services Secretary is? Do you know his background that he worked in the pharmaceutical industry?”

He added that President Donald Trump uses his incendiary tweets to distract the media so “there isn’t a basic conversation around the fact that he’s betraying the working class by having selected a group… of people to run his government who come from industry, who benefit industry, and that story is not told.”

Though the media have tried to pit Sanders against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) heading into Tuesday’s debate, both campaigns have signaled that they will not get caught up in a food fight. Warren has repeatedly said she is good friends with Sanders while Shakir reportedly said on Tuesday that Sanders will not be going after Warren in the Detroit debate.

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