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Ash writes: "So CNN's Anderson Cooper and The New York Times's Sydney Ember and Katie Benner are on the case of gender-based dysfunction within the 2016 Sanders campaign. Apparently they have discovered that progressive women take gender issues seriously. Who knew?"

Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, with supporters. (photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)
Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, with supporters. (photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Why Are the NYT and CNN Stoking Gender Warfare on the Left?

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

03 January 19


o CNN’s Anderson Cooper and The New York Times’s Sydney Ember and Katie Benner are on the case of gender-based dysfunction within the 2016 Sanders campaign. Apparently they have discovered that progressive women take gender issues seriously. Who knew?

The NYT report references Anderson Cooper’s segment on the issue, but struggles to establish inappropriate conduct on Sanders’s part, although Ember and Benner seem to want pretty badly to get there. In totality, it’s remarkably thin in terms of documentation for a feature piece about a leading presidential contender.

It appears that Sanders and other 2016 campaign officials including Jeff Weaver did respond and seemed to acknowledge the need for greater attention to the matter. Ember and Benner nonetheless found it necessary to define many Sanders supporters as “Bernie Bros,” a politically based smear label intended to polarize, which draws attention to the ad hominem and away from the very important issues on which Sanders’s movement is focused. For some reason, the piece did not quote any of the high-ranking women officials in the Sanders organization. The piece makes a cursory case that some women in the campaign felt salaries were skewed but does little to establish a pattern factually.

In a broader sense, however, gender-based divisiveness presents a number of unique perils for the entire progressive movement and is not any place progressives want to go if meaningful progress is the objective.

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s interview with Rachel Maddow aired at almost the same moment the NYT piece on Sanders went live. Warren was strong and showed once again that she has depth, substance, and mettle on progressive issues and that she is a viable option for President. Clearly, Warren and Sanders are at the head of the progressive class.

For the progressive base, that’s good news. It’s a luxury and a benefit to have two well-established, well-respected progressive leaders as legitimate contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Both will need broad-based, energetic, and sustained support from women and men if they are going to focus the Democratic campaign season on a progressive agenda. 

Buying into gender-based divisivenesses at this stage of the process is highly counterproductive for the progressive movement. Neither Sanders nor Warren is new to the American political scene. Both have long track records and resumés. Redefining them at this stage is a tactic for defeating them. They are who progressives have known them to be all along. They will be challenged for suggesting that the system be changed fundamentally.

Be prepared.

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+21 # Arte Possible 2019-01-03 14:24
I was really impressed with the Warren interview on Rachel's show. I am one of those who worries about her demeanor. The press seems to enjoy catching her when she is fighting to defend herself.(Rememb er the "Howard Dean moment"? She does "mad" very well. She will have to lower that aspect of her demeanor if she wants to have a chance. She did lower it on Rachel's show, and that gave me renewed hope.
+39 # RWPrice 2019-01-03 14:29
These features on Sanders, which were also echoed in the Guardian, are early salvos in the coming effort to sabotage the Sanders campaign by innuendo and less subtle means. Whatever is there, the purpose is propaganda and undercutting this campaign. Perhaps the same can be said (more from Republicans in this case rather than Democrats in Sander's) of the exaggerated response to her genetic testing. If you cannot attack their records and integrity, do after something that resonates with the corporate wings and their stooges!
+54 # Carol R 2019-01-03 14:29
"Clearly, Warren and Sanders are at the head of the progressive class."

Bernie is a strong progressive and the attacks against him by the NYT have begun. Corporations do not want to be challenged by someone who recognizes that the system is not functioning to help average or poor people. More media need to speak out about this regressive tactic. Thank you, Marc Ash.

"They will be challenged for suggesting that the system be changed fundamentally."
+27 # Steve B 2019-01-03 15:12
Democracy has three main adversaries. Visitors to this site would likely cite Trump, Trumpism and the Republican Party as public enemy number one. However, Trump would not be in power were it not for public enemies #2 and #3, the corporate press and the Democratic Party. Instead of seeking to unite Americans around the identical issues we all face -- clean air, clean water, clean food, clean government -- they seek to divide (and conquer) us through identity issues that keep the culture wars alive and prevent Americans from seeing the meta-narrative that has kept us divided, disempowered and for all intents and purposes, enslaved. All the more reason for a truly independent political movement to emerge that will "impeach" our dysfunctional, corrupt, obsolete and "obsolethal" system of exploitation, domination, and ultimately extinction. Time for we the people to declare our independence from both parties.
+15 # wrknight 2019-01-03 16:23
And all the more reason for a truly independent media. Thanks RSN - keep up the good work.
+41 # Street Level 2019-01-03 15:38
The powers are TERRIFIED of Bernie. He's become the most influential person in the country with the ability to be President so they have to rig the game and attack him as often as possible.
0 # Glen 2019-01-04 06:51
Street, "the powers" are NOT terrified of Bernie. They are not terrified of anything. They control it all right down to elections and the population. They destroy or maim at will.
+8 # Rational Voice 2019-01-03 15:39
Mr. Ash: Not all of your readers are following the issues you are trying to address/discuss so it would be nice it you could be a little clearer as to just what you are talking about. Give examples, it is a great communications tool.
+28 # HenryS1 2019-01-03 15:39
Agreed. The corporate proven strategy is to attack hard and constantly through proxies, fueled by money, and to invent issues if there are none. Remember Benghazi, and the endless witch hunt (for real, that time) that came up with absolutely nothing, but served to drag Hillary downward? Or the Birther "controversy". The damage the lies do lasts, even when the lies are discredited.

I am much more excited about the possibility of either Warren or Bernie that I could ever feel for Hillary. And the reasons I am excited are the reasons that those in power will do everything they can to damage them. Either would attempt real change.

So did Trump, but the reality of his change is vast corruption in his appointed officials, tweets of hate to foment violence and divisiveness, and an attempt to create a cult of personality out of the demagogue authoritarian handbook. Only Trump is strong, everyone else is weak and a loser, and the only hope is reflected glory through him, and the praise he ladles out to those who do his bidding. That change is like cancer eating itself into the core of this country and its people. I don't know if this was part of a Putin master plan or just a lucky (for him) accident, but enemies of America and its ideals have an ally in Trump. Or at the very least a U.S. President available for sale to the highest bidder. If Trump goes down, he will happily take this country or the world down with him if he can. His ego demands it. It will be rough.
+26 # Wally Jasper 2019-01-03 15:55
The once estimable NY Times has fallen to the level of a tabloid in this new onslaught of smears against Bernie. While Warren has a genuine vision for addressing some of the economic issues with our country, she has already declared herself a capitalist through and through. So she will be accepted by the corporatocracy and would probably be more of an Obama type president who kept the status quo pretty functional while all the hope and change evaporated away. So the Democratic elites and the corporate media will have it all out for Bernie who represents true fundamental change. And now we see it starting before he's even announced his plans for running. It's amazing and predictable at the same time. Bernie is sincerely a feminist and if there were any gender based dysfunction in his organization—wh ich up until now there has been no indication of—it would be of the sort ubiquitous in our culture: the ongoing ways men have of dismissing their female colleagues, the sexualized glances and remarks, the rush to take charge and dominate conversations and running things. Bernie abhors all of that and is fighting to change that behavior at all levels. So this smear, timed almost immediately after Warren announced her plans to run, is just the start of trying to find anything to bring a Bernie campaign down. Sick politics as usual. We must be prepared for it and see it for what it is.
+14 # Anne Frank 2019-01-03 16:20
The deep state fears Sanders may not be sufficiently obsequious, and therefore its corporate media have launched propaganda against him.
-2 # mblockhart 2019-01-03 19:02
Talk about politically-bas ed smear labels! Apparently anyone who hasn't fallen for Sanders hook line and sinker is "deep state" and propagandized by "corporate media." Is it not possible to admire Bernie's position on issues of importance and his fighting spirit in the Senate, yet also recognize that he and his campaign were at least a bit tinged with sexism? Is it not possible to like Bernie but not see him as the best President?
+7 # isafakir 2019-01-04 10:58
exactly what sexism?
what has the senator done that is sexist? what does "tinged" withe sexism mean?

"Bernie Bro" is sexist. there never were any "Bernie Bros" the worst anybody seems to be able to against him other than he's socialist is his age and gender.

why are those not issues with the Blue Dog Bidens and Steny Hoyers and Rahm Emmanuels - they are not young males by any stretch and not women.
-10 # mblockhart 2019-01-03 18:45
The Sanders and Green Party campaigns sure threw plenty of "politically based smear labels"at Hillary Clinton. Just enough of them worked to give us Trump by suppressing Clinton votes in a few key states.
+6 # isafakir 2019-01-04 10:48
Quoting mblockhart:
The Sanders of "politically based smear labels"at Hillary Clinton. Just enough of them worked to give us Trump by suppressing Clinton votes in a few key states.

Quoting mblockhart:
The Sanders and Green Party campaigns sure threw plenty of "politically based smear labels"at Hillary Clinton.

Quoting mblockhart:
The Sanders ... campaign... sure threw plenty of "politically based smear labels"at Hillary Clinton.

what smear labels ? the accusations that HRC was funded by banks and campaigned for banks and has a long successful record of supporting and enriching banks...

when of course we all know how HRC always really voted against neoliberalism, right?
+8 # NAVYVET 2019-01-04 12:24
Utter nonsense! Bernie speaks to the issues, and if he'd wanted to stomp on Hillary he'd have done it at the televised debate where she was being attacked for nothing SHE had done. He strongly advised his campaigners (like me) to vote for Hillary. I guess you were asleep.
+7 # John Cosmo 2019-01-03 19:18
"Divide and Conquer" has worked well for the G.O.P. and for the corporate wing the Democratic Party. I imagine that the gender war issues will be followed up with a large dose of claims of racism and homophobia.
+15 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-01-03 19:29
The recent piece trashing Bernie was unsubstantiated piece of shit. Right down there with the NYT support for the Iraq War and Bill Hellers trashing of Julian Assange for having dirty socks. The New York Times has turned into a Corporate mouth piece. "All the News That's Fit To Print" includes Donald Trump on the front page every day to keep circulation up. What a disgrace of the "media".
+14 # lfeuille 2019-01-03 21:11
It appears to be an attempt to boost Warren over Sanders. Why, I don't really know unless they think she is more controllable than he is. That is a possibility. But they are probably hoping to knock them both out before the convention.
+11 # 2019-01-03 22:26
The Times attacked Bernie twicw in one week with front page articles. The first was abouthow some of his 2016 supporters (it quoted 3) aren't sure this time. The second was about disfunction in his campaign (which he doesn't deny and attributes to the explosive growth of his campaign and the need to build structure too fast). Expect the Times and the Washington Post to keep attacking him. He is just too scary for them.
+5 # DongiC 2019-01-04 02:22
The stakes are rising. Sanders looks more and more like the hero needed to lead America to a place of reform and progress in this perilous time. Especially, if the Trump ship of state flounders on the shoals of impeachment and conviction. So everyone get ready for the Deep State and the Billionaire class to fire heavy salvos in Bernie's direction. They and their minions (NYTimes, Washington Post, CNN) will play for keeps. We have seen this class behavior before. We will see it again. This time we shall expose it and send the plutocrats packing. Amen!
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-04 07:33
"Why Are the NYT and CNN Stoking Gender Warfare on the Left?"

Hmmm. Wasn't it the NYT and CNN who were accusing Russian Trolls of stoking or sowing all manner of discord among Americans. Maybe the NYT and CNN just got outed. They are the real origin of discord and division in the US.

We are about 2 years away from the 2020 elections and already the forces of the US oligarchs are conditioning the American people with propaganda. They really do intend to control the election this time. Could it be that they actually prefer Trump to Sanders?
0 # isafakir 2019-01-04 10:40
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
"Why Are the NYT and CNN Stoking Gender Warfare on the Left?"

Hmmm. Wasn't it the NYT and CNN who were accusing Russian Trolls of stoking or sowing all manner of discord among Americans. Maybe ...
the real russian trolls really trolling are really sowing discord and division since they really have a really huge really successful troll army sabotaging elections in all NATO countries not only the USA
+8 # isafakir 2019-01-04 10:36
senator warren in progressive articles attacked for insulting "American Indians" and senator sanders for sexual "abusiveness" in the campaign

those are some pretty creative tactics against those two real threats to the usa oligarcal bankracy
+1 # kyzipster 2019-01-04 15:48
I think Sanders tactic is to speak beyond left-wing identity politics, to move the Democrats back to challenging the establishment. To stop defining the establishment as 'the white patriarchy', or white men and sometimes women. We can't even discuss it without getting called a racist imo. I brought this up in another thread.

In order to do this, there is a need to reject the dialog and mindset of the social justice warriors who have control of the debate on the left. Defining every issue through a racist, sexist or homophobic lens. Bringing attention to the fact that there are millions of white working rural poor who can benefit as much as impoverished minority groups with his economic agenda.

He will meet resistance in every conceivable way. I've already seen him called a white supremacist, racist, for daring to humanize Trump voters a bit.

This is exactly what the left should try to do but we may be too much of a cult to have much clarity. Too addicted to our divisive, partisan mindset.

I don't believe Sanders wants to abandon social justice at all, but if these movements haven't developed a legislative agenda for a politician to endorse, they shouldn't suggest that person is failing them by not focusing on their issues imo. That's what they're doing with Sanders from what I've seen.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-05 07:31
kyz -- "Sanders tactic is to speak beyond left-wing identity politics"

Yes, yes. This is very good. No one is saying this but it is very true. It is one powerful reason why establishment democrats are so against Sanders, and their mouthpieces in the mainstream media.

Sanders is an old-style "leftist." The Demo party used to be he home of many of these but this old style leftism was replaced by identity politics. Gender, race, and all manner of other cultural issues replaced economics and labor relations.

One really big irony is that there is a left-wing and a right-wing identity politics. The Christian identity movement, white supremacy, and male rights movements are the same but opposite of the LBGTQ movement, race consciousness, and social justice warriors.

Sanders just has a different agenda -- one that really does concern government.

You have great observations.
0 # kyzipster 2019-01-05 13:22
I agree, there is a right-wing identity politics, we call it the Culture War. Gays, guns, abortion and now rabid hatred of Muslims and darker skinned immigrants and those perceived to be in those groups. Left and right-wing identity politics are two sides of the same coin.

I think Sanders is also speaking beyond this nonsense. We don't have to cater to any of the hate to reach voters on the other side, we should continue to oppose it strongly. We just need an agenda that makes sense and a willingness to not dehumanize GOP voters at every opportunity. We need a willingness to not attack our own for offering an olive branch.

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