Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – 1/14/2020. Screen grab via CNN.
Under the “leadership” of media firefighter Brian Stelter, CNN is notorious for obnoxiously
obsessing over haranguing Fox News over the way they report news, what they decide is a priority to cover, and what some of their reporters and talk show hosts say in their tweets.
But when it comes to actual journalism, Fox beats CNN by a country mile, and that was exemplified by none other than “Special Report” host Bret Baier on Tuesday night after an exchange that happened during last night’s Democratic debate.
As my RedState colleague Bonchie wrote after the debate, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) clashed during and after the debate over reports that surfaced this week alleging Sanders told Warren during a December 2018 non-aggression pact meeting that a woman couldn’t win the presidency.
Debate moderator Abby Phillip was the CNN journalist who got to ask the two Senators questions about these reports, which Warren has confirmed but which Sanders has denied.
But Phillip has come under intense criticism from conservatives and Bernie supporters alike over how she uncrtically took Warren’s side both in how she initially asked Sanders the question, and how she followed up with Warren to get her response. Here’s how the exchange went (bolded emphasis added):
“CNN reported yesterday that- and Senator Warren confirmed in a statement– that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman can win the election. Why did you say that?” Phillip asked.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders sharply replied. “Anybody who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States. Go to YouTube today. There’s some video of me 30 years ago talking about how a woman could become president of the United States.”
“Senator 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,” Phillip followed.
“That is correct,” Sanders answered.
“Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win an election?” Phillip then asked the progressive rival, which sparked audible laughs in the auditorium and a shake of the head from Sanders.
Watch the exchange below:
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 15, 2020
Phillip clearly treated Warren’s account as factual as shown from how she asked Bernie the first question and how she didn’t accept his denial, which was confirmed once she asked Warren for her take.
Baier, who is a respected journalist across the spectrum – including among those who aren’t fans of Fox News, took notice of Phillip’s line of questioning and countered with how he believes she should have approached the issue:
This is one way to ask it I suppose. Another way could be “Senator Warren- is Senator Sanders telling the truth?” Or “Is that how you recall the conversation?” https://t.co/N5PKRrwMJ9
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) January 15, 2020
This is not rocket science. This is just good old-fashioned Journalism 101, folks.
I can only imagine the outcry if this had happened on Fox News during a Republican debate. Stelter would be apoplectic and we’d be hearing for days on end about how it was just another example of Fox News’ slanted coverage. But because it was CNN, we’ll just move right along and pretend it didn’t happen because #Journalism and #BelieveAllWomen, yada yada.
Frustrating, but then again, it’s CNN so your expectations should never be too high when it comes to that bunch.