ShareThis Page
Featured Commentary

John Stossel: Is Bernie Sanders building a digital media empire?

| Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, 8:03 p.m.
FILE - In this April 4, 2018, file photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., responds to a question during a town hall meeting in Jackson, Miss. Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to a study by a university-based libertarian policy center. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
FILE - In this April 4, 2018, file photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., responds to a question during a town hall meeting in Jackson, Miss. Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to a study by a university-based libertarian policy center. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Sen. Bernie Sanders is all over the internet!

New York Magazine says he is “quietly building a digital media empire.”

Mic.com calls it “one of the most powerful progressive media outfits in America.”

This matters because bettors rank Sanders one of the top four Democratic presidential contenders.

I resent Sanders’ “empire” because it pushes bad ideas, yet his videos have been seen almost a billion times.

Some are just recordings of him making noisy speeches, ranting about how Republican policies hurt Americans. For example, “Tens of thousands of them will die” if Obamacare is repealed. (He ignores the fact that more will live if the economy is allowed to grow.)

Others are edited, produced pieces. One powerful one begins with a President Trump speech where the president recites the song “The Snake,” in which a woman nurses a snake back to health — only to have it bite her. “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in!” shouts the president. He was arguing against loose immigration controls.

But the video cuts to Trump calling criminals “animals,” and an “expert” says Trump is using “the same kind of language that the Nazis used.” The video never mentions that when Trump said “animals,” he was talking about MS-13.

A recurring Sanders video theme is that Trump supporters are “faces of greed” who scheme to get even richer by doing things like abolishing the estate tax. Sanders never mentions that the estate tax taxes money that had already been taxed; it’s double taxation. He could still argue against repealing it, but he ought to be fair.

Many Sanders videos demand that government make college free. His staff interview themselves.

Winn Decker, research intern for the Senate Budget Committee, whines, “Student loans kept me from doing things like purchase a home.”

Sanders staff assistant Terrel Champion tells viewers, “Somebody has to foot the bill. The government should assume that responsibility!”

There’s no mention of how existing government subsidies already raised the price of tuition, enabling it to grow faster than the rate of inflation. There’s also not a peep about how Sanders’ own wife bankrupted a college in Vermont.

It’s just: Government must pay more!

Government should take responsibility for your health care, too, says a Sanders video that describes MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi as a “Canadian capitalist” who says, “Nowhere on Earth is there a free health insurance market that works.” The video looks like a debate between Velshi and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, but it’s edited so that Jordon doesn’t get to say much. It’s easy to win an argument if you barely let the other guy speak.

Maybe the biggest theme of Sanders’ videos is the wealth gap, which Bernie says “is not only immoral (but) causes suffering for the working families (because) the poor are getting poorer.”

But that’s just wrong. The poor are not getting poorer. The wealth gap doesn’t cause suffering. Yes, rich people got richer, but the poor and middle class got richer, too. Sanders never acknowledges that.

Sanders posts a new economically ignorant video most every day. He says it would be “easy” to have free health care, free college, a living wage. How will it all be paid for? Simple. Raise taxes.

One Sanders video shows rich people shouting, “Tax me!” and “I should be paying more!” So pay more! No one’s stopping you. Just don’t demand that everyone else pay more.

Socialists think government is the solution to every problem. They also pretend that what government provides is free.

Sanders’ videos would be just a joke if millions didn’t watch.

John Stossel is author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me