MSNBC Attempts to Take Down Sanders With a ‘Body Language Expert’

The corporate media has been waiting a year for what happened between Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren at last Tuesday’s Democratic debate.

In addition to all the ways commercial news outlets avoid substantive dialog about the real issues, this presidential campaign has presented them a unique opportunity to attempt to drive an ideological wedge between Warren and Sanders, the most progressive candidates in the rapidly shrinking primary field.

Although Warren may not be its obvious favorite, the media has a demonstrable antipathy toward Bernie.

The worst offender may be the “liberal” MSNBC.

In its desperate desire to portray Bernie a mendacious misogynist/Communist/utopian crackpot, it enlisted testimony from “international communications expert” and owner and president of the Body Language Institute, Janine Driver, to explain how Bernie was undoubtedly lying to Sen. Warren when he denied ever suggesting a woman is unable to be elected president.

On anchor Joy Ann Reid’s AM Joy, Driver cited Sanders’ “eye level” and the “turtling” of his shoulders as evidence.

Writer and activist Malaika Jabali tweeted:

“So now the slant is that he’s physically intimidating too, oh and sexist. Totally cool, normal interpretation of someone being spontaneously confronted on national TV. It’s getting outrageous.”

Jacobin magazine staff writer Meagan Day tweeted:

She added:

“I know there’s a big push to move on but if the mainstream media is gonna broadcast this fraudulent garbage, then I don’t feel particularly compelled to drop it.”

They weren’t alone.

Investigative reporter for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, tweeted:

This prompted journalists to probe into Janine Driver’s credentials.

It turns out, she once accused Barack Obama and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of training the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

As former Vice President Joe Biden is the corporate media’s favorite, it should come as no surprise Janine Driver’s family has personal ties to him:

Media critic Adam Johnson–who has previously documented the corporate media’s anti-Sanders biastweeted:

Sanders’ national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, insists MSNBC apologize, commenting:

“What are they going to do next, phrenology? This is why no one trusts the media.”

In These Times published a piece in November titled “MSNBC Is the Most Influential Network Among Liberals—And It’s Ignoring Bernie Sanders” in which it chronicled how the network began its center-right shift in 2015 after Andrew Lack became chairman and began packing its punditry with Republicans.

The piece then breaks down the analysis it conducted regarding August and September 2019 coverage of the Democratic leading presidential contenders.

Using three criteria–positive, negative, and neutral–researchers tallied for two months how often Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren were mentioned on MSNBC‘s most popular prime-time shows, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, All In with Chris Hayes, The Beat with Ari Melber, Hardball with Chris Matthews, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, and The Rachel Maddow Show.

Poll results, favorable or unfavorable, were counted as neutral; statements about a candidate “surging” were positive; a candidate “stagnant” was negative.

Six of the aforementioned programs focused almost exclusively on Biden as if he had no competition.

Bernie received the least coverage–and the most “negative“.

In July, MSNBC legal analyst Mimi Rocah proclaimed Sanders “[Makes my] skin crawl . . . [though I] can’t even identify . . . what exactly it is.”

Quoting the Jacobin piece “The Corporate Media’s War Against Bernie Sanders Is Very Real“:

“Though there are simply too many cases to list, examples abound of selective reporting of polls, cartoonish torquing of infographics, erasure of facts or figures favorable to Sanders, and outright lying — at the supposedly liberal-leaning MSNBC in particular.”

But MSNBC is certainly not the only offender.

New York Times reporter assigned to Sanders’ campaign, Sydney Ember, as Jacobin writer Katie Halper wrote, “consistently paints a negative picture of Sanders’s temperament, history, policies, and political prospects.”

In 16 hours, the Washington Post published 16 negative stories about Sanders.

Let’s not forget CNN and its relentless pursuit to turn civilized Democrats–particularly Sanders and Warren–into elementary school students squabbling on the playground.

The “rift” between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is a distraction.

Let’s not fall for it.

Stick to the issues.

It’s how we win.

Yet Warren’s ad hominem attack on Bernie may unfortunately backfire on her.

Image credit:

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.