Sen. Bernie Sanders kinda has a point. That’s what the head of the Center for American Progress is now saying after Sanders criticized the liberal think tank over the weekend for what he called unfair coverage of his personal wealth and 2016 presidential campaign.
On Saturday, Sanders accused ThinkProgress, a news site affiliated with the Center for American Progress (CAP), of “bad-faith smears” in a letter to the organization’s board. With strong ties to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment, CAP took an aggressive stance toward Sanders in the hotly contested 2016 primary.
Those intra-party tensions are still simmering.
Yet Neera Tanden, CEO of CAP and former Clinton aide, sided with Sanders on Monday. ThinkProgress went too far, she said, in suggesting that Sanders has toned down his rhetoric around income inequality as his personal wealth has grown.
“The orientation of CAP is to positively engage with all political leaders about the country’s future,” Tanden said in a statement, noting that ThinkProgress is editorially independent from its parent organization. “We believe the content of the ThinkProgress video critiquing Sen. Sanders is overly harsh and does not reflect our approach to a constructive debate of the issues.”
Sanders criticized ThinkProgress after the site said in a blog post that Sanders’ millionaire status is “very off-brand and embarrassing.” His letter similarly cited negative articles about Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker as “hardly the way to build unity, or to win the general election.”
Expect such arguments over “constructive debate” to continue playing out as the Democratic primary field moves forward. ThinkProgress, for its part, is standing by its critique of Sanders.
“Political leaders should not be able to muzzle or stop critical coverage,” ThinkProgress Editor Jodi Enda tweeted on Sunday. “We have reported stories that could be viewed as critical about other Democratic candidates as well. No one else has complained or tried to pressure us to change our journalism.”
Cover: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks while introducing health care legislation titled the 'Medicare for All Act of 2019' during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on April 9, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)