Journalists from the most prestigious outlets in the legacy media responded to congressional Democrats’ criticism, telling Democrats that “it’s not our job” to promote the president’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” spending bill.
Criticism of the media intensified over the weekend, as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) joined Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in blaming the legacy media for public ignorance of the bill’s contents, which have yet to be finalized.
“The mainstream media has [sic] done an exceptionally poor job in covering what actually is in the legislation,” Sanders said in a statement released Friday night. “Despite President Biden having introduced this proposal five months ago, a majority of Americans have very little knowledge as to what is in this bill — one of the most consequential pieces of legislation for working people in the modern history of our country.”
“It is absurd that so many of them don’t know what is in the bill,” he continued. “Why is that? There are a number of reasons but, at the top of the list, is the reality that the mainstream media has done an exceptionally poor job in covering what actually is in the legislation.”
Sanders warned ominously that the media’s subdued coverage of the president’s imperiled social spending bill could destroy the very pillars of American civic life.
“The foundations of American democracy are threatened not only by extremism but by ignorance and lack of knowledge,” he said. “The American people have a right to know what’s in [the bill]. My hope is that mainstream media will fulfill their responsibilities and make that happen.”
Sanders’ remarks echoed comments made by Pelosi last Tuesday that the media “could do a better job of selling” the president’s plan to the American people.
The unfamiliar criticism and calls for journalists to engage in blanket advocacy of legislation did not sit well with journalists, who protested that they do not act as cheerleaders for a political party or a partisan agenda.
“With all due respect to the Democratic senator, it’s not our job to sell your agenda,” said Ayman Mohyeldin on his new weekend show “Ayman,” on MSNBC. “You and your colleagues have to do a better job of selling the bill to the American public.”
After Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) criticized the media for not covering the provisions in the Build Back Better Act, @AymanM responds: “it’s not our job to sell your agenda, you and your colleagues have to do a better job of selling the bill to the American public.” pic.twitter.com/PFUke7ZTV3
— AYMAN (@AymanMSNBC) October 18, 2021
The New York Times’ Washington correspondent and CNN analyst Maggie Haberman retweeted Sanders’ statement, saying, “It’s always the press’s fault and never the fault of the people communicating something. That’s just 101.”
It’s always the press’s fault and never the fault of the people communicating something. That’s just 101 https://t.co/XagEDc0fti
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 16, 2021
Michael Scherer of The Washington Post noted that, despite complaining that much of the media’s coverage has focused on the multi-trillion-dollar cost of the proposal, “Sanders has led the way in framing the debate over the price tag.” Sanders, a democratic socialist, previously proposed $6 trillion in spending, saying his bill was “probably too little.” After Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he could not support the $3.5 trillion bill’s exorbitant price tag, Sanders told reporters on a conference call that “at the very least this bill should contain $3.5 trillion.”
Sanders has led the way in framing the debate over the price tag. https://t.co/4YIrXMOudF
— michaelscherer (@michaelscherer) October 16, 2021
Mohyeldin added that he had, in fact, talked about many of the provisions on MSNBC. “Here, on this show alone, we have done multiple segments with polls highlighting many of those provisions, with polls actually showing the popularity they enjoy,” he said.
The Democrats’ criticism of a usually friendly media comes as Senators Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have refused to support provisions within the bill, threatening a bill that contains a wish list of spending programs that are “going to transform America.”
Pelosi also said that the bill is simultaneously obscure and wildly popular with American voters. “Whether they know it or not, they overwhelmingly support it,” Pelosi said.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.