Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today dialed back his suggestion that there’s a connection between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post and what Sanders views as negative coverage of his presidential campaign.
“Do I think Jeff Bezos is on the phone, telling the editor of The Washington Post what to do? Absolutely not. It doesn’t work that way,” Sanders told CNN.
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The comments mark a reversal from earlier this week. Speaking in New Hampshire on Monday, Sanders questioned why the newspaper “doesn’t write particularly good articles about me,” noting it is owned by Bezos, whose handling of labor practices at Amazon Sanders has consistently criticized. “I guess maybe there’s a connection,” he added.
The remarks drew a rebuke from the paper’s top editor, Marty Baron, who chided Sanders for spreading a “conspiracy theory.”
“Sen. Sanders is a member of a large club of politicians — of every ideology — who complain about their coverage,” Baron said in a statement. “Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor, Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.”
Sanders’ comments drew comparisons to the rhetoric of President Donald Trump, who has linked what he sees as the Post’s unfair coverage of his administration to Bezos, calling the newspaper a tax scam and a lobbying tool for the Amazon CEO and labeling it the “Amazon Washington Post.”
Still, Sanders today continued to express frustration over news coverage of his candidacy by mainstream media outlets, which he said do not pay enough attention to issues like wealth and income inequality.